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Finding the right product or motivation for your kid is the key. Some kids love making games. Others enjoy writing stories. One little boy I taught got very excited about "hacking" existing websites with Chrome Inspect Element tool. Another girl wanted to learn Java to make Minecraft mods. 

You don't need to be a professional developer to get kids started in programming. Many of the products include lightweight curriculums and roadmaps to help the kid learn more. One of the most important qualities of a programmer is the ability to figure out problems. Googling is allowed!

This is not a conclusive list - I'd love to hear more recommendations from you in the comments.

For the smallest ones (5-8)
For the elementary schoolers (7-12)
For the teenagers and beyond (13 -> )
  • Codecademy. Interactive exercises in the browser for Python, Ruby, JavaScript, HTML (full disclosure, I used to work here!).
  • Codeschool. Dive deeper into different programming languages. 
  • Dash. Learn to make websites with an interactive tutorial. 
  • Coursera. I liked the Startup Engineering course. 
Ruby for children (just because of Ruby)

Books and stories

Curriculum and community

  • Code.org has a very large resource list to try out.
  • Mozilla Webmaker includes tons of tools and guides for building the web.
  • CoderDojo is a global non-profit for starting a coding club for kids. 
  • DIY.org is a community for kids to learn to make things. 
  • CS Unplugged has activities you can do without a computer to teach programming fundamentals. 
This entry was originally posted at http://mundens.dreamwidth.org/469710.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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tatjna
Jan. 31st, 2014 01:34 am (UTC)
Maybe. The thing is, I can see how learning to think in that way is ultimately very useful once you get the hang of it. To me, it seems that once I get my head into that frame, solving the type of problems that come with the work I'm trying to do gets easier. And what I'm learning through doing it with Dr Wheel in this way is making a lot of my (admittedly Dick and Jane level) code simple to change and scale. Even if it does make me tear my hair out at the time.

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