Programming resources for kids 101

Programming resources for kids 101

Summary: Scratch, Lego Mindstorm and Microsoft's Kodu are efforts that may help stoke the programming fires in your little ones.


What do you do when your 8 and 5 year olds want to build Web sites and you have little knowledge to impart beyond some basic HTML?

If you're me you instantly query the techies you know. I pinged our ZDNet blog list as well as the Enterprise Irregular group to figure out how to introduce kids to programming.

Here's a look at some of the programming resources for children that came back. They are in order of popularity among the folks I queried. These sites looked interesting to children as well as a few parents.

Scratch. This effort from the MIT media lab is intuitive, animated and can land a kid into programming.

Lego Mindstorm was also touted as a fun place to get started on robotics.

Microsoft's Kodu is a game programming language for kids. Kodu also received good word of mouth on an O'Reilly thread.

Turtle Logo is another robotics friendly programming site for kids. Also there's Logo on Sourceforge too.

Shoes. Shoes is an effort built on top of Ruby and was built with kids and students in mind. Hackety Hack is another Ruby site.

Lisa Explains features HTML explanations in a colorful format.

Markerbot encourages kids to tinker.

For older kids...

SQL Zoo is an effort to teach high schoolers how to query databases. The overall aim is to teach kids how databases are structured.

Play Framework is an effort as simple as Rails, but built on Java. It's a good introduction before jumping directly into something like Python and Ruby.

If I missed anything feel free to add suggestions into talkback.

Topic: Software Development

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Why kids should learn o program

    Teaching kids to program in middle and high school can be a huge boost. It not only teaches logic and science, but it can be a fantastic career. Here's a blog post on 5 reasons kids should learn to program. There are also lots of resources and books that can help jump start kids.
    Joe Dwyer
  • Karel the Robot


    there is also another interesting Application for kids: Karel the Robot, platform iOS (iPAD). Karel is an educational programming language for beginners. It is developed for children in the age of 5 - 10 years. The main idea is to show that programming could be easy and fun. For more info do not hesitate to visit Let’s try...and have lot of fun!
    Eva S.