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Teaching Young Children about Programming

Matthew D. Miller
I'm a DBA by day and a youth pastor by night. I love Perl.
・1 min read

I've been reading through Peter Shirley's excellent Ray Tracing in One Weekend and implementing the ray tracer in Scheme. It would be a great project for a teenager interested in programming. As the father of a daughter who turns one in a couple weeks, I have a long way to go before she's a teenager, and I'd love to introduce her to fundamental concepts of programming as she grows up.

My daughter just recently took her first steps, so it's probably going to be awhile before she writes her first lines of code. For you parents who are further along the parenting path, when did you start introducing your kids to programming? What activities such as certain games or toys did you find reinforced programming concepts without involving actual code? How do you teach young kids about programming?

Discussion (5)

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mattbee_25 profile image
Matt Bee

I've got my 4 year old the FisherPrice Code-a-pillar and it's brilliant fun! My daughter will get the same, but she's still a bit young - but does 'create bugs' when she gets involved in the Code-a-pillar time!

I've also got a friend to get him an 'ElectroDough Kit'. And can't wait to get a Kano kit when he's older.

I mean to be honest, these toys and kits are as much for me to have fun with him as they are for his learning!

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miriamtocino profile image
👩🏻‍💻✏️ Miriam Tocino • Edited

Thanks for sharing these, Matt. I'll check them out too!

It's been a while since you commented... Have you tried anything else with your kid since then?

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goober99 profile image
Matthew D. Miller Author

These all sound awesome. I'll have to check them out.

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steeeveee93 profile image
Steeeveee93

Hey, interesting question. I do not plan to show my child what coding is yet, but I wrote it down at the Singapore School of Math and after that if he likes math, we will develop his abilities in order to introduce him later to programming.

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miriamtocino profile image
👩🏻‍💻✏️ Miriam Tocino

Hey Matthew - I'm a bit further down the line (my kid is 3yo now) and I'm also looking for resources.

While I do think it's important to teach them about coding, I find it useful to be explaining them more things about computers, in general, to get them excited and willing to learn more! :D

Have you tried anything with her already? How did it go?