This summer, my two children have expressed an interest in learning about what daddy does. I’ve never taught kids to program before, but I wanted to share what we’ve been working on so far.
The first thing that we did was find good logic computer games to work on. The best I’ve found so far is lightbot. You give a little robot commands and even call functions to tell him how to move and light up tiles. The downside to this game is that it gets challenging very fast. First and second graders can’t really handle nested loops too well when starting out.
After some experience with lightbot, we were able to translate some of those concepts directly into the KTurtle environment on Edubuntu linux. KTurtle is a graphical drawing program that moves a pen (the turtle) around a canvas. You move the turtle by issuing text commands such as “forward 100″ and “turnright 90″. I’ve given the kids some challenges to work toward on our white-board. For anything that required a bit of trig and the Pythagorean theorem, I gave them the numbers.
How do you teach kids to program? What suggestions do you have for me?