Recommended Programming Languages for Kids

Scratch 3.0

Primarily developed for children between the ages of 8 and 16, Scratch is a free educational programming language developed by Mitch Resnick and patented by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Scratch is one of the most visually appealing of all the kids programming languages on the list, but the real reason it really shines is in the freedom of expression that it allows its students. The whole idea behind it was to simplify the process of creating animations, designing games, and building interactive stories, so that literally anyone could do it from the ground up. Kids feel like real game designers using Scratch, and even complete novices can create simple, completely custom games in minutes.
This is an excellent starting point for programming for kids.
Scratch also has a big online community with over 15 million registered users from every corner of the world. Anyone can become a member, as long as they comply with the friendly and respectful rules that the MIT Scratch Team has set. The other great thing about the Scratch platform and its community is that you are required to store your projects and their code on the Scratch server, which allows young learners to study how more advanced users have created complex games.

Blockly

Blockly is a visual block programming language for kids that is widely viewed as Google’s response to Scratch. Metaphorically speaking, it uses the same building blocks to help children master code. The only real difference lies in the following: Blockly is actually a programming language made out of several pre-existing programming languages.
Blockly has a specific UI that resembles a child’s box of multi-shaped, multi-colored blocks. In addition to that, there is also a toolbox that holds the blocks, a bin, and space to actually write code.
It’s very simple to operate. Users take the blocks out of the toolbox (one at a time) and arrange them in sequences until they solve their problem. Once they finish, the program runs a check up, looks at what has been done, and if the solution isn’t correct – it goes back and analyzes the code again until it finds an error.

Python

Python is a programming language that reads like normal speech. One rarely has to add comments to the code because Python code that is written well enough reads as if the comments are already included in the code. If your kids or students are going to learn something like coding, then you would want them to get a basic grasp on how to think like a programmer. With Python, students will have very few obstacles with regards to learning how to program. They will be able to learn how to construct programming ideas within their heads and then focus on transferring these ideas into instructions that the machine can interpret.
Python is a powerful, text-based computer programming language that children as young as age 8 can easily use to express themselves. This specific type of code acts both as a jumping off point for mastering other languages, and a strong enough tool for serious game/web/app development and programming for kids.
As they start to play more and more with Python, your children will learn how to properly use fundamental data structures like lists, tuples, and maps. Mastering variables, loops and other functions in Python will give them a great foundation for tackling more advanced programming in the future. They’ll also overcome the complexity that comes with controlling different structures in Python. Drawing shapes and patterns with Python turtle module will help your kids overcome their first barriers with animation and game design. In no time, they’ll be able code their own apps for Mac, PC, or Linux.

JavaScript

JavaScript usually comes as a level-up skill for kids who already have some experience with coding in Scratch or Python. Usually, it’s recommended for kids older than 10, but we’ve seen kids as young as 8 take our Game Development with JavaScript tracks. It is a great choice for kids because almost everything now runs on this coding language. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer – all of these browsers use JavaScript. If your children master this particular language, they’ll learn how to transform simple web documents into amazing interactive apps and games.
JavaScript is a powerful language with a lot of elements. It’s extremely important to first teach your kids about the variables, arrays, objects, methods, loop tables, functions, and parameters, before fully exposing them to this coding language.
Java Script is essentially the language of the web, and it is an excellent kids coding language for students who are ready for text-based coding.

In Summary

Programming is a useful skill for virtually anyone. It teaches you to think about how a process works. It teaches you to think about the steps that are needed to make a process happen and how to solve problems.

As a teacher or mentor who is researching different options, it’s important to know that each language will have its benefits and drawbacks. The important thing is that your students learn the concepts behind the programming, such as the logic behind writing code, how to use constructs and tricks of the trade.