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Coding for Kids

Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:13 am UTC
by bradjenkins
Hi All, I have a 6 year old daughter. I hate to sound like a pushy parent, but I've heard that coding in the new skill for kids' future.
Is 6 too young to get started? What's the best way to learn at that age?

Appreciate any guidance!

Re: Coding for Kids

Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:02 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
If you aren't being pushy (keep it fun and something the kid wants to try, not a chore-to-be-done because "you must learn how to code!") then six isn't too young.

I'd avoid anything that needs loads of typing (at least until/unless typing is mature enough to be not frustrating when needing to be accurate and free of typos, and then there's still "thinkos" like missing vital punctuation/brackets) but you might look into Scratch on (or off?) the Raspberry Pi which is quite powerful, with the ability to read/write data inputs/outputs and even (however you see it) process forking or OO:
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There are other such building-block languages (literally?) and platforms (I've yet to get my hands on a BBC Micro:bit but if you can then it's maybe worth a look), but the other opportunities in a Pi seem to make it versatile enough that what little you spend on it won't go to waste if you daughter can't/won't code yet/ever, and 'forces' you to turn it into a media-server or something else for which there's various pre-prepared builds for.

Re: Coding for Kids

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:48 pm UTC
by Yakk
There are also a few board games that are pre-coding, like Robot Turtles. We don't know if they work.

Re: Coding for Kids

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 6:27 pm UTC
by frenchdev
Hi, I also have a six year old child.
He liked the coding Google Doodle https://www.google.com/doodles/celebrating-50-years-of-kids-coding
There are several websites that offer similar things to learn the basics of coding

Re: Coding for Kids

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:21 pm UTC
by badaza
I'm not such a fan of Scratch: it's too free-form for me. I prefer something like Tynker where I have clear objectives that get progressively more complex.

Re: Coding for Kids

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:46 pm UTC
by elasto
badaza wrote:I'm not such a fan of Scratch: it's too free-form for me. I prefer something like Tynker where I have clear objectives that get progressively more complex.

That site looks great!

Thanks for pointing it out :)

Re: Coding for Kids

Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:09 pm UTC
by badaza
No problem! For older kids (or adults), Code Combat can be fun too. It requires typing the commands out, though.

Tynker has tablet apps and the iOS one works just fine on my iPad 2 (the 7-year old model, not a newer one).

Re: Coding for Kids

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:56 am UTC
by Jplus
There also exist wonderful programming games. For six year olds, I might recommend Cargo-Bot.

Re: Coding for Kids

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 3:50 am UTC
by Soupspoon
Not sure if that's available outside the iPad world, but I spent not a little time with Gladiabots (gateway timing out for me, but it's a link that might work when you check it), myself, a bit unstable on my Android (ironically?) and maybe a bit combat-focussed but boy does it get you thinking about how to design multithreadedly! "If I'm a sniper and I'm not within medium range of any enemy or resource and there is no Heavy member (left?) on my team and there's no Sniper (left?) on the opposing team then maybe it's my duty to Group Tag the enemy bot that is closest to a Resource but not retreating so that it becomes a current priority for (any surviving) team-mates…", or whatever the tangled web you care to weave.

I'd hesitate to suggest it for a 6yo (though not sure they wouldn't pick up some interesting ideas in it, beyond anything you'd imagine) but I thought it worth a mention.

Re: Coding for Kids

Posted: Thu Feb 28, 2019 7:50 am UTC
by charlierichkid
there are some robotic toys like roborobo where you need to assemble a robot and you will create a program from its own supplied software. its just a matter of drag and drop of codes. it can be a venue for you and your kids to have fun and learn at the same time.

Re: Coding for Kids

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:03 pm UTC
by Meticulac
Lightbot is a nice coding game that gradually introduced symbols like arrows and springs for directing the robot around. In addition to the old flash version, I found that it's also on iPad, Android, and Amazon tablets. When my nephew came over recently, I showed loaded it up on his, and he did pretty well once I navigated to the first level for him and skipped past the text. I'll have to see if he's played it any more when I see him again.

Another thing that might be interesting is IBNIZ, which isn't really made for education, but is easy enough to play around with: The command are mostly just single characters which acts on the virtual machine's stack, which gets output as audio/video as the whole program gets ran each time step. Getting specific results out if it isn't simple, but if you/your child happens to think that making mostly weird electronic noises and glitchy flashing images by trail and error is their idea of a good time, it's a very simple and responsive medium for that!

Regular bytebeat can also be fun, but is more prone to throwing syntax errors instead of just rolling with whatever you throw at it best it can. Glitch Machine for iOS (not to be confused with any apps made by the company Glitch Machines) is something I haven't tried myself, but looks like it's also pretty simple with an assigned button for each command.

Re: Coding for Kids

Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 2:46 pm UTC
by jeaneallenn
My nephew want to a web programmer. He is learning the C+
I dont know much about coding. But he seems very serious about his programming studies.

Re: Coding for Kids

Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:50 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
Not that it's incompatible, but web-programming often doesn't revolve around C++. (Which is not where I'd start for anything.)

Obviously (or so I hope) your nephew will know more about the range and focus of his studies than you do, and likely have led themselves up to the point of C++ via other more starting-friendly languages. And will probably find use for both ends of that particular spectrum of knowledge, anyway.

Re: Coding for Kids

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:20 pm UTC
by Xanthir
As someone who started their programming career learning C++, I must earnestly, in the strongest terms possible, encourage anyone to not learn C++. As a starter language, or as any language if you can help it. For the things that C++ is good at, Rust can these days do nearly all of it but vastly safer (and for the very few things that you can't do well in Rust, they're not beginner concepts).

The set of things you need C++/Rust/etc for is pretty small; for all the rest of stuff, use JS/Node or Python or Go or something. They'll all do you better. For WebDev, definitely learn JS, it's the most important thing.