Code Self Study Forum

Coding Resources for Kids

Not sure if anyone else is keeping an eye out for resources for kids, but I thought I’d mention one I think is quite good:
https://www.amazon.com/Make-Interactive-Graphics-JavaScript-Processing/dp/1457186772

Since p5.js is just a JavaScript library, anyone learning from this book will be learning a very practical syntax. But what makes this book/library interesting is that the focus is much more on creating graphics, animations, games, etc. To me it seems like most intro programming books start off with math operations, variables, control-flow, etc. These can be a bit dry and tough to sell for kids who probably don’t see the usefulness of those right away. This book has all those, of course, but not until some fun things are drawn to screen. Actually it’s a fun book/library for those of us in the gray haired crowd as well. :slight_smile:

Does anyone know of other resources that would be good for kids? I’d love to hear about them if you do.

1 Like

I haven’t looked very closely, but the book on Small Basic looked good:
https://nostarch.com/smallbasic

I noticed that while browsing around the selection at a bookstore. Half the book describes syntax and data structures, and I can’t imagine most kids would last until the practical sections of the books.

This looked interesting, but I haven’t read it:
https://pragprog.com/book/csjava2/3d-game-programming-for-kids-second-edition

1 Like

The Scratch programming language by MIT. It’s available online, as well as for Linux, macOS, and Windows. I discovered Scratch as it came with the Raspbian OS for the Raspberry Pi.

2 Likes

Thanks for the suggestions!

I think 3D Game Programming for Kids might actually be good for me to browse, haha. I once skimmed through the book JavaScript for Kids to figure out how to create a quick animation using the HTML canvas element. And after that worked well what I really wanted was something similar for a 3D version of my animation. So, this book might do the trick!

Both of my kids have worked with Scratch some, and I agree that it’s a great one for kids to get started with. Initially I thought it was a bit inflexible when I was trying to help my son create some variations on exercises in a book, and so I wanted to move him on to a “real” language. But lately I’ve seen Scratch used several times by adults on YouTube videos and the like in a very general purpose way. So, I may just be like the bad carpenter who finds fault only in his tools and not in himself. :wink:

1 Like

I saw a used copy of that p5.js book at Half Price Books a couple of days ago and bought it. It’s now available in the book lending library for anyone who wants to borrow it.

1 Like

I can talk at length about this topic as I’m teaching kids coding almost full-time. One resource I’d like to highlight is woofjs, perfect for transitioning students from Scratch to text-based languages (JS in this case).

3 Likes

I’ve looked at the Small Basic book again but it’s Windows-only. (I use Linux.)

I found two more today though:

PuzzleScript is a browser-based game editor.

Twine is an interactive fiction tool.

I bought them and will test them out on a kid soon. :slight_smile:

2 Likes

I’ve been reading through the book for this course, and it seems quite good. For kids, and perhaps for beginners in general, it seems better than Getting Started with p5.js listed above. Maybe I will test it with one or more of my kids as guinea pigs. :slight_smile:

2 Likes