Programming Advice for Kids

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by appleii.c, Aug 15, 2016.

  1. appleii.c macrumors 6502


    Mar 18, 2013
    So my son if going into 4th grade and I would like to introduce him to a programming language. Being a developer myself, I can help guide him but I don’t want to unrealistically expect too much too soon. I was looking for some advice as to which direction would be good to start on. He’s done a few activities on both at home and in school, so he is familiar with the concepts of programming, but I would like him to get his feet wet with a language, something more OO. Should I go with some basics in a big language like Java or C#? Something newer/trendier like Swift or Angular? Or should I start with something more mainstream like Javascript?
  2. cqexbesd macrumors regular

    Jun 4, 2009
    What does he want to be able to create? If he likes building things then maybe even Arduino and a robot/car kit.

    When I was a kid I spent a lot of time in HyperCard because it allowed me to create mac apps and I didn't know about/couldn't afford MPW. Then it was MacPerl 4 something as it had different limitations to HyperCard and about that time I discovered UNIX.

    The point is that the language is less important than it being a useful tool to learn and to make things that will keep him interested.

    I hard (probably on here) that Apple have released some "learn to program" stuff using Swift for iOS devices. I know nothing about it but maybe worth having a look.
  3. appleii.c thread starter macrumors 6502


    Mar 18, 2013

    Thanks for the reply. He does like to build things so one of the things I thought about was the Lego Mindstorms. Arduino does look very interesting, I will definitely look into that.

    My goal is to start introducing him to objects, and something a little more mainstream. Schools are really pushing programming so ideally I would love to give him a head start so whatever direction the schools go, it’ll hopefully be easier to understand.

    As far as Apple, yes there is the Swift Playgrounds that looks very interesting. I don’t believe its out yet as it was due out in the fall, but I’m looking forward to that.

    Again, thanks for the reply!
  4. 960design, Aug 15, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016

    960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    4th grade?
    I'd recommend Swift Playgrounds and Greenfoot ( )
    Sure wish educational software like that was around when I started.

    Greenfoot has an amazing way of introducing objects visually. It takes a complex subject and very clearly 'displays' it.
  5. DrMotownMac macrumors 6502


    Jul 11, 2008
    My daughter is going into 4th grade this fall as well, but I'm NOT a developer...well, I'm a "wanna-be" developer, so I'd kind of like to learn it with her. Personally, I love the concept of "Swift Playgrounds", but I'm not a beta tester, so I haven't really had a chance to play with it or even see it, beyond Apple's PR materials. But it sure looks cool and if it's a way to gently introduce computer science to children using XCode and Swift as the primary tools, I LOVE the idea! Not only will it help inspire my daughter to learn to make iOS apps, but it will help me learn as well!

    Good luck and please keep us informed re: what you intend to do and how your son is doing with it. My daughter LOVES math and science, but she's not highly motivated to learn computer programming during her free time right now. I've tried doing "Hour of Code" activities with her, along with some Scratch programming, some basic Python and even a little Swift and XCode just using some and Udemy classes as our foundation. But, if Apple is making the learning materials, I think the quality just went up a few notches. :D:cool:

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