Teaching children how to program (or code if you insist) has become a big deal lately. Everyone is jumping on this bandwagon, so we though we better hop on as well. Because of all the attention that this topic gets, there is lots of great material that kids can use to learn to code that is pretty fun and also educational at the same time. We have found some of the best websites, books and apps to help kids (ages 10+) to become the most awesome programmers in the history of the world.

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*If  you are looking to teach younger kids how to program check out our post on how to teach kids ages 5-9 to code.

The Best Websites for Kids to Learn Programming

  • Alice (ages 10+) is a 3D programming environment that makes it easy for kids to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web. Alice is a little trickier than Kodu or Scratch so might want to check out this Alice tutorial  if your kids aren’t familiar with this type of platform.
  • The Khan Academy Computer Science Platform for kids (ages 11+) Are computer science tutorials from the wonderful Khan Academy that show students how to explore, create  and share their own computer programs.
  • Code Academy is a series of courses to help you master a topic or language related to programming. It’s a pretty clever site and is lots of fun to use. It is super simple to us and users can earn badges for completed lessons . Oh and it is free.
  • Another option to check out is Tynker. Designed for kids in 4th to 8th grades, Tynker is an easy-to-learn, user friendly visual programming language. This introductory course covers basic programming concepts including creating scenes, playing sounds, moving characters, conditionals and repetition, animation, handling keyboard and mouse events, pen drawing, collision detection, keeping score and more.


Popular Programming Languages Made Easy for Kids


If you are looking for a specific language to teach your kids there are a few sites that cater to this. Here are a few that we found.

  • Pygame is a set of Python modules designed for writing games. Pygame allows you to create games and multimedia programs in the python language. Be sure to check out Pygame’s extensive list of tutorial resources. According to the Pygame site Pygame is” highly portable and runs on nearly every platform and operating system. Pygame itself has been downloaded millions of times, and has had millions of visits to its website.”
  • SmallBasic (ages 10-16) from Microsoft is a friendly development environment that is based on .NET and can be applied to other .NET programming languages like Visual Basic.
  • Kids Ruby is a fun and easy way to learn Ruby for kids. This software has very kids friendly graphics and is very easy to follow. You can download this software for Windows or Mac OS or they also have a complete KidsRuby OS based on Ubuntu that you can download.
  • Hackety Hack teaches the basics of the Ruby programming language from the ground up. No previous programming experience is needed.  Ruby is used for all kinds of programs, including desktop applications and websites. Hackety Hack uses the Shoes toolkit to make it really easy and fun to build graphical interfaces. Several lessons and example programs are provided, showing you how to make all kinds of fun things.
  • PHP For Kids has tutorials that will teach you kids  PHP, HTML, CSS  and MYSQL, that are all helpful for making websites. PHP is a free programming language that can add dynamic content to a webpage. PHP is a simple language that can be learned quickly, and can prepare you for other programming languages as well as provide you with useful problem-solving skills.
  • Java For Kids is a course for kids and beginner programmers using the very easy-to-use JUDO windows program instead of the dos command line interface. This course takes a hands-on approach using lots of exercises and a minimum of theory.


Books to help Kids Learn to Program


There are a decent amount of books available to learn to code that are specially aimed at kids. Some of the titles to look out for are Scratch 2.0 Programming for Teens by Jr. Jerry Lee Ford, Programming Video Games for the Evil Genius by Ian Cinnamon, Learn to Program by Chris Pine, and Super Scratch Programming Adventure! by The LEAD Project.

One book that is highly recommended is Hello World! Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners by Warren Sande and Carter Sande, this is a fantastic book to introduce kids to programming concepts. We mentioned this book in our post about teaching kids ages 5-9 to code but it is worth mentioning again because it really is a great introduction to programming (using python) for kids.

Apps to Help Teach Kids to Program


Hakitzu teaches kids “the JavaScript language through controlling mighty battle robots in a dangerous sport of the future. Use your new found coding ability to plan your moves, code your robot warriors and execute your path to victory. Learn to code or prepare to be hacked!”

 

Read More: How to Teach Kids to Make Apps (Sort of)

 

photo credit: wrumsby via photopin cc

 

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