Python for kids?

Discussion in 'Python' started by Russ P., Dec 7, 2008.

  1. Russ P.

    Russ P. Guest

    I have a 12-year-old son who spends too much time playing Xbox live
    and watching silly YouTube videos. I would like to try to get him
    interested in programming. Is anyone aware of a good book or website
    that addresses this concern, preferably (but not necessarily) using
    Python? I could try to teach him Python myself, but I'm afraid I would
    just frustrate him and kill his interest in programming. I did a
    Google search and found a few things, but not a lot. Thanks.
     
    Russ P., Dec 7, 2008
    #1
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  2. Since your son seems to enjoy games, getting him interested in game
    programming seems the most appropriate thing to do.

    I'm not much of a Gamer myself, but I should think maybe modding a
    shooter or other kind of game should be within the grasp of a 12 year
    old (provided you let him play shooters).

    Also, there's AGS (and friends) for making Adventure games.

    Depending on his interests, smaller projects might work out as well,
    such as Sudoku, Mahjongh, Card Games and whatnot.

    Any of those could well become father and son projects as long as you
    let him have the lead.

    Has he ever expressed an interest in programming at all?


    /W
     
    Andreas Waldenburger, Dec 7, 2008
    #2
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  3. Russ P.

    Brian Blais Guest

    check out:

    http://www.briggs.net.nz/log/writing/snake-wrangling-for-kids/

    it's specifically for Python, and geared for the age of your son.


    bb
     
    Brian Blais, Dec 7, 2008
    #3
  4. Lot of people learn to program even before age of 12.
    But I think it's better for you to help him get interest in problem-
    solving and some of the other bases of the mathematic, scientific and
    computational mindset. Once those interests are in place, he will
    probably go looking by himself for things like programming languages,
    math and science (of course at that point a gentle guide toward good
    ideas, good problems to solve, good books to read and good programming
    languages, helps).

    Otherwise you risk pushing a person to learn using a tool (programming
    is interesting by itself, but it's mostly a tool still) before having
    any use for such tool or desire to learn it. And this may lead to
    someone with no passion to solve problems and learn.

    Bye,
    bearophile
     
    bearophileHUGS, Dec 7, 2008
    #4
  5. Russ P.

    André Guest

    http://rur-ple.sourceforge.net

    André
     
    André, Dec 7, 2008
    #5
  6. Russ P.

    Rhodri James Guest

    The LiveWires Python Course, http://www.livewires.org.uk/python/home
    is aimed at your son's age-group. There are several worksheets that
    involve building games using a simple veneer over pygame, if you
    need to entice him with something!
     
    Rhodri James, Dec 8, 2008
    #6
  7. Russ P.

    Russ P. Guest

     
    Russ P., Dec 8, 2008
    #7
  8. Russ P.

    Russ P. Guest

    Thanks to everyone who replied. The information was very helpful.

    Someone might want to consider putting a kids section on python.org
    (if it doesn't have one already -- I didn't see one).
     
    Russ P., Dec 8, 2008
    #8
  9. Russ P.

    MRAB Guest

    You have a kid. Why don't you? :)
     
    MRAB, Dec 8, 2008
    #9
  10. This is a very good advice.
    I learned from my own experience in college that trying to learn a
    solution to a problem I never had, is wasted time.
    The first step is confronting your student with an specific problem,
    then let him try to find a way to solve it by himself.
    After he tried hard many approaches to solving the problem with his
    limited knowledge, show him the right way.
    This way he will see the light.

    I believe that many teachers don't know this basic concept, and they
    simply teach in a mechanical way, without having their students
    interested in the subject or without having explained them what
    exactly these skills are good for.

    Luis
     
    Luis M. González, Dec 8, 2008
    #10
  11. Luis M. González:
    You may even be surprised to see he/her/hir find a solution without
    your help :) Or maybe you will see a different solution, this happens
    often in math and computer science, even basic ones.

    Sometimes if the problem is interesting there are more than one "right
    way". And showing the light is more a purpose for priests than
    teachers ;-)

    Note that such things are well known, you can find similar things in
    tons of (most) books about pedagogy. For example you can try a simple
    but delicious book, "Brainstorms" by Seymour Papert (who also was one
    of the inventors of Logo language and is currently learning to talk
    and walk again).
    You can even find similar ideas in books more far from pedagogy ones,
    like "Deschooling Society" by Ivan Illich.

    Bye,
    bearophile
     
    bearophileHUGS, Dec 8, 2008
    #11
  12. Russ P.

    Benjamin Guest

    Perhaps what he really needs is some time away from the screen.
     
    Benjamin, Dec 8, 2008
    #12
  13. Russ P.

    News123 Guest

    Hi,


    People are different.

    I for example learnt programming at 13 without having any initial use
    for it.
    My main motivation was, that my father brought the first computer, I
    ever saw (AIM-65) from work, but didn't want to spent time to explain me
    what it does and how it works.
    Instead he just gave me a book about BASIC and hoped I wouldn't bother
    him anymore.
    (For me as a slightly stubborn teenager this was challenge enough to
    show, that I could write a (whatever) basic program.

    If the book, that teaches programming has just a few 'fun examples' it
    could be enough to get him (Rus' son) started thinking about his own
    problems he could then solve with writing programs.

    Russ should best be able to know what could be 'fun-examples' for his son.

    Fun-examples could be things like:
    - high low number guessing program
    - drawing funny pictures with turtle graphics
    - printing out all possible combinations / permutations of som digits
    letters.
    - towers of hanoi
    - a very basic pong game
    - writing a mini data base for his 'whatever' - collection


    It might however be a little more complicated to motivate somebody to
    write some small rather simple programsm when it's so simple to google
    and download so much SW without knowing anythng about programming.
    20-30 years ago it was basically impossible to locate and download (even
    did'nt have a modem :) ) ready made SW

    Depending on his interests he might also be more interested in learning
    a spreadsheet SW / a drawing program and then attack the related macros
    / scripting language



    bye


    N
     
    News123, Dec 10, 2008
    #13
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