Best book or free program to teach kids to code?
November 27, 2014 2:34 PM   Subscribe

Looking for an easy introduction to coding for a 12 year old. It has to be something he can do on his own, without much adult input. He loves art, drawing, and creating his own cartoon characters, so visual references are a must.
posted by bartlett to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:39 PM on November 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

Looking Glass, an offshoot of Alice.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 2:57 PM on November 27, 2014

Processing! In particular, the Hello Processing video tutorials are great.
posted by aparrish at 3:48 PM on November 27, 2014

Response by poster: I knew about Scratch, but not Alice, Looking Glass, or Process. Gave each a look, and have to say find them all intimidatingly interesting. Visiting him tomorrow, will see which strikes a chord.
posted by bartlett at 4:47 PM on November 27, 2014

Seconding Scratch. Also, Jeroo (for learning object oriented programming using a subset of Java).
posted by rakaidan at 7:19 PM on November 27, 2014

Nth-ing Scratch. He may also enjoy Tynker.
posted by araisingirl at 7:43 PM on November 27, 2014

Why's Poignant Guide To Ruby
posted by benzenedream at 1:18 AM on November 28, 2014 has some fun intro stuff to try. December 8-14 is National Hour of Code Week; my students did it last year and quite a few of them continued with Khan Academy, Lightbot, Grok Learning, Hopscotch, Scratch and a ton more. I'd start with
posted by kinetic at 4:57 AM on November 28, 2014

My 12-year-old loves Kahn Academy.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:00 AM on November 28, 2014

My then-8 year old loved Tynker last year-- highly recommended over Scratch. Scratch and Tynker I think use the same engine underneath, but Tynker was much more user-friendly on the educational side, and has a better physics engine. But I'm not sure it would hold the attention of a 12 year old. My daughter worked through it in a few weeks, and then reached the point where her programs were too complex to run at speed on my laptop. Tynker was great for "I want to use my own art to make a video game or animate a movie" though, which might appeal. My kid was obsessed with creating a Rube Goldberg game, which meant the physics engine was key, but she also enjoyed using her own art.
posted by instamatic at 6:12 PM on November 28, 2014

I've heard for concepts, Lauren Ipsum is great.
posted by jermspeaks at 10:38 PM on December 1, 2014

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