Kid-Friendly Programming Languages

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Eric David Smith
Software Engineer / Musician / Entrepreneur
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Kid-Friendly Programming Languages by Eric David Smith

Kid-Friendly Programming Languages for Young Coders

Parents today are increasingly interested in teaching their kids coding from an early age. But which programming languages are suitable for children, and at what age should they start?

My son, Calder, started learning to code when he was 3 years old. He's now 9 and has learned several fundamentals of programming languages, including Scratch, Blockly, JavaScript, Python, and HTML. He's also learning how to build games and mods. He really loves 3D Modeling Programs like Blender and Roblox games that use this style. I've been amazed at how quickly he's picked up these skills and how much he enjoys computers. I've also been impressed by the number of resources available to help kids learn to code. Here are some of the best kid-friendly programming languages and platforms available today.

Scratch (Ages 7 and up)

Scratch is a block-based visual programming language developed by the MIT Media Lab. By dragging and dropping blocks of code, kids can create interactive stories, games, and animations. Scratch also has a vibrant online community where children can share and collaborate on projects.

when green flag clicked
move 10 steps

Scratch is best suited for kids aged 7 and up. It's a perfect starting point for children new to programming, offering a balance of creative freedom and structured logic.

Blockly (Ages 7 and up)

Blockly is a JavaScript library developed by Google. It allows the creation of visual block programming languages and editors. Like Scratch, Blockly users build applications by stacking blocks together. Blockly can be customized and integrated into other applications, offering a more flexible approach to visual programming.

var count = 0;
while (count < 10) {

Blockly is appropriate for children aged 7 and up. It's a good next step for kids who've outgrown Scratch and are looking to apply their block coding skills in a more customizable environment.

Alice (Ages 10 and up)

Alice is a free 3D programming tool designed to teach the concepts of object-oriented programming languages like C++. Alice uses a drag-and-drop environment to create computer animations using 3D models.

Do in order
Bunny move up 1 meter duration 2 seconds
Bunny move down 1 meter duration 2 seconds

Alice is suitable for children aged 10 and up. It's a bit more complex than Scratch or Blockly, making it a good next step for kids who are ready for a bit more of a challenge.

Tynker (Ages 5 and up)

Tynker offers a block-based visual programming language for kids and also text coding courses for older kids that cover JavaScript and Python. Tynker is designed to teach children computational thinking and programming skills in a fun, intuitive way.

when I receive [Message1 v]
go to x: (0) y: (0)

Tynker is ideal for kids as young as 5 and provides a progression pathway to text-based coding as they grow older.

Kodu (Ages 8 and up)

Kodu, developed by Microsoft, is a visual programming language made specifically for creating games. With its simple visual interface and a library of pre-built objects and supported behaviors, Kodu is an excellent choice for budding game developers.

WHEN see [apple] DO move toward it

Kodu is best suited for children aged 8 and up. Kids who love playing video games may particularly enjoy creating their own with Kodu.

Hopscotch (Ages 7-13)

Hopscotch is an iOS app that allows kids to create their own games and animations with a simple, block-based interface.

When iPad is tapped
Change costume

Hopscotch is generally best for kids aged 7 to 13.

Roblox (Ages 10 and up)

Roblox is a game creation platform that allows users to design their own games and play games created by other users. Roblox uses a block-based visual programming language called Lua, which is similar to JavaScript.

function onTouched(hit)
local player = game.Players:GetPlayerFromCharacter(hit.Parent)
if player then

Roblox is best suited for kids aged 10 and up. It's a great choice for kids who love gaming and want to take their interest to the next level.

Minecraft (Ages 8 and up)

Minecraft is a sandbox video game that allows players to build with a variety of different blocks in a 3D procedurally generated world. Minecraft has a built-in command line interface that allows players to create their own custom commands.

/give @p diamond_sword 1 0 {ench:[{id:16,lvl:1000}]}

Minecraft is appropriate for kids aged 8 and up. It's a great choice for kids who love gaming and want to take their interest to the next level.

Happy Coding

It's important to keep in mind that these age groups are rough guidelines and that the right programming language also depends on the child's interest and prior experience with coding. For a child who enjoys gaming and has experience with Minecraft, Scratch, and Roblox, platforms like Tynker and Kodu might be the next logical step. Encourage your child to explore different options and find the platform that excites them the most. Happy coding!

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Eric David Smith
Software Engineer / Musician / Entrepreneur

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