[plug] Programming for kids

Brad Campbell brad at fnarfbargle.com
Sun Aug 7 11:36:40 AWST 2022

On 5/8/22 23:59, Kirk Turner wrote:
> Your question was the basis for a video on computerphile this week - https://youtu.be/h8LTEFNLZ6M <https://youtu.be/h8LTEFNLZ6M>
> asking Brian Kernighan (of C fame) that question. His response is probably the same as my own which is Python because it is easy to learn, and the wealth of libraries available to work with too - you can very quickly get something up and working. One thing against Python that he brought up is something I didn't consider - the easy redistribution of what you make. I know that is one of my son's favourite things with Scratch - exploring what others have made and then remixing them.
> I haven't succeeded at this point with my kids - but I think the key is probably to find something that your kid is interested in doing with some form of programming and then work it out from there. However, in any domain you find examples that are done with Python. Some of the ones I've used with my kids:
> - pygame for making simple games
> - mpyblockly for block based/python microcontroller (although my son was not happy that it wasn't coloured the same way as scratch and so ended up just following a tutorial and writing the python directly to get the LED flashing in Visual Studio code).
> I think some of the block based tools can be a good starting point if there is an incentive to jump into the code at some point to do more advanced things.
> I was tempted to do an educational experiment and see how well my kids learned the basics of programming if I started one off with Rust, another with Haskell, and the third with Python but they are all too different to make a fair comparison!

G'day Kirk,

Appreciate the input.
Fascinating video. Scratch looks very much like the LEGO system he's been using on the iPad.

Lots to play with.


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