I did a guest post on The Genius Experiment when I was introducing my 4 year old daughter to programming and computing via various tools, programs and apps. Some favourite tools that I shared are:
Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-sized single-board computer developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools. There are loads of resources for projects and articles for beginners.
MIT’s Scratch is used to create games, animations and stories and share it online. Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century. Code Clubs across the country use Scratch to gets kids to learn coding in after school clubs in primary schools. It is a very visual language and kids love playing with it as it is like putting Lego blocks together on the screen.
Lego Mindstorms EV3 is a great way to introduce kids to robotics and programming. Mindstorms can teach kids new skills like teamwork, effective communication and problem solving. It is also lot of fun to build 3D models and then get them to perform based on the commands that you give.
Some iPad apps that I have used to get her interested in programming and introduce the basic concepts in a fun and interactive manner are:
Move the Turtle A friendly Turtle introduces my daughter step by step to the basic concepts of programming in a colourful graphic environment. This is a fun game for both adults and kids.
Unblock Me Free is a simple and addictive puzzle game with the goal to get the red block out of the board by sliding the other blocks out of the way. Helps kids build logical thinking skills.
Fix the Factory (Lego) is a new puzzle game that uses EV3RSTORM and a Robot factory. It is an addictive puzzle game full of unexpected obstacles that are guaranteed to challenge your logic thinking, your spatial intelligence and your robot commanding skills.
What tools and resources have you used to introduce kids to programming? What are some challenges and successes in inspiring the next generation of young developers? Please share your thoughts and feedback.
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