Programming resources for kids 101

Scratch, Lego Mindstorm and Microsoft's Kodu are efforts that may help stoke the programming fires in your little ones.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

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 w

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

Turtle Logois 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.

Markerbotencourages 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 Frameworkisaneffort 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.

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