How to teach a boy programming skills?
January 13, 2006 10:21 AM   Subscribe

SW-Developer was asked by 8-yrs old boy how to write a computer program...

My little friend wants to do a little maze game. Which is the right environment?
posted by germanguy to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There are great tools like DARKBasic which are suited for this task. I've also seen this tool recommended by a few people. There are several similar tools floating around.
posted by wackybrit at 10:33 AM on January 13, 2006

Response by poster: ... i am interested in your experience, too. The youngster is coming tomorrow afternoon, i have 24 hours left to become acquainted with it ... and i am a bit anxious... please help!
posted by germanguy at 11:28 AM on January 13, 2006

i always thought toontalk looked pretty cool, but perhaps in an ironic retro way that wouldn't appeal to 8 year old boys, and anyway i have no idea how you'd get it to make mazes.
posted by andrew cooke at 11:58 AM on January 13, 2006

Best answer: There's also Squeak. I don't know enough about it, but 24 hrs seems like very little time for anything.
posted by tremendo at 11:58 AM on January 13, 2006


Apparently there's a German version of MSWLogo, check here.
posted by GuyZero at 11:58 AM on January 13, 2006

I've tutored a kid on programming. I did HTML first to give him a sense for what it means to describe things to a computer, then Logo. It's going to be a long process to get to a maze game.
posted by abcde at 12:49 PM on January 13, 2006

Another vote for Squeak. Didn't Disney make it?
posted by PenDevil at 1:44 PM on January 13, 2006

Logo Logo Logo Logo
posted by devilsbrigade at 3:10 PM on January 13, 2006

Do you already have any games with good level editors? I've never tried to use one of those, but I have to think that would be easier for a young child to get their head around than variables and loops and whatever else they need to know.
posted by willnot at 4:57 PM on January 13, 2006

We did Logo in primary school (elementary). Once they've got the hang of that, there are lots of different BASIC interpreters out there that he could probably pick up, plus any number of other languages.

Do not underestimate the learning capability of 8 year olds; just because programming is something usually done by "older" people doesn't mean they can't pick it up.
posted by polyglot at 10:00 PM on January 13, 2006

Squeak looks very good indeed, to initiate someone to programming. However, I don't think it will enable him to write his own games very easily.
Another option is rur-ple. It is an introduction to programming with Python. With some knowledge of Python, one can write games using Pygame.
posted by aroberge at 11:24 AM on January 14, 2006

Response by poster: Thx everybody,
the day is over and i think it was a success.

We didn't start programming (i definively will have a look at LOGO, looks very promising...).

Instead i found gamemaker. Really nice!!!
posted by germanguy at 1:01 PM on January 14, 2006

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