5 ways to teach kids to program with Raspberry Pi

5 ways to teach kids to program with Raspberry Pi

The fifth article in our guide to getting started with the Raspberry Pi explores resources for helping kids learn to program.

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As countless schools, libraries, and families have proven, the Raspberry Pi is a great way to expose kids to programming. In the first four articles in this series, you've learned about purchasing, installing, and configuring a Raspberry Pi. In this fifth article, I'll share some helpful resources to get kids started programming with the Raspberry Pi.

Scratch

Scratch is a great way to introduce kids to basic programming concepts like variables, boolean logic, loops, and more. It's included in Raspbian, and you can find numerous articles and tutorials about Scratch on the internet, including Is Scratch today like the Logo of the '80s for teaching kids to code? on Opensource.com.

Code.org

Code.org is another great online resource for kids learning to program. The organization's mission is to expose more people to coding through courses, tutorials, and the popular Hour of Code event. Many schools—including my fifth-grade son's—use it to expose more kids to programming and computer science concepts.

Reading

Reading books is another great way to learn how to program. You don't necessarily need to speak English to learn how to program, but the more you know, the easier it will be, as most programming languages use English keywords to describe the commands. If your English is good enough to follow this Raspberry Pi series, you are most likely well-equipped to read books, forums, and other publications about programming. One book I recommend is Python for Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming by Jason Biggs.

Raspberry Jam

Another way to get your kids into programming is by helping them interact with others at meetups. The Raspberry Pi Foundation sponsors events called Raspberry Jams around the world where kids and adults can join forces and learn together on the Raspberry Pi. If there isn't a Raspberry Jam in your area, the foundation has a guidebook and other resources to help you start one.

Gaming

Last, but not least, there's a version of Minecraft for the Raspberry Pi. Minecraft has grown from a multi-player "digital Lego"-like game into a programming platform where anyone can use Python and other languages to build on Minecraft's virtual world. Check out Getting Started with Minecraft Pi and Minecraft Hour of Code Tutorials


What are your favorite resources for teaching kids to program with Raspberry Pi? Please share them in the comments.

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About the author

Anderson Silva - He grew up in Brazil, and wrote his first program at the age of 10 using Logo. He moved on to programming in BASIC shortly thereafter, and by the time he was in High School he was coding in Pascal. When he started college in the US, he learned C, C++, Java and had several developer jobs programming with server-side languages for web development like: Coldfusion, Perl, Php, etc. He was introduced to...