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Thread: Best Language for a 7-Year-Old?

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    Best Language for a 7-Year-Old?

    I'm thinking that my 7-year-old nephew might find programming fun. I'm trying to find the best language to introduce him to. The only one that comes to mind is Logo, though I know next to nothing about it. Are there any other languages that I should consider? What's needed is a language in which it's easy to do something fun.

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    Re: Best Language for a 7-Year-Old?

    http://python.org, all the way, IMHO. Python has modules for almost everything built-in,but it'll easily extend beyond a seven-year-old's needs when the time comes: it has almost all language features available in some way.

    There's a choice between python 2 (which is older, has a slightly different syntax, and a few more libraries available) or python 3 (which is newer, has a slightly different syntax, and a few fewer libraries, although the gap is closing). My advice would be to go with python 3, as it's newer and will be 'future-proof'. There's a beginner's tutorial here: http://docs.python.org/3/tutorial/

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    Re: Best Language for a 7-Year-Old?

    Thank you. I am familiar with Python and quite like it, but it hadn't occurred to me for this purpose, because it's not clear to me that it's easy to code something that my nephew will enjoy. Is there a library that would make it really easy to draw things on the screen or do something similarly entertaining?

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    Re: Best Language for a 7-Year-Old?

    Alice is a alternative for object oriented programming. My oldest child tried, but maybe a bit too advanced for a 7 years-old child. Try it!

    http://www.alice.org/index.php

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    Re: Best Language for a 7-Year-Old?

    Probably the easiest language to learn and do something fun with IMO would by Python along with Pygame. Pygame is a collection of libraries for Python designed to make the writing of video games easier. Having said that, I think 7 years of age is a few years too young to start programming, unless you try something simple such as Logo as you mention.

    Personally, I'd recommend something like GameMaker if you have access to Windows, my nephew used to use it to create simple games, and he was around the same age as your nephew, or maybe slightly older.
    Last edited by Nytram; May 28th, 2013 at 12:36 PM.

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    Re: Best Language for a 7-Year-Old?

    I won't recommend a specific language, but will suggest placing priority on something that will allow your nephew to see results immediately. That means an interpreted language. Something that doesn't impose a steep learning curve before the user can do much of anything. That mean *not* Perl. (Regular expressions and a 7-year-old? Nah.)

    A teaching tool that shows immediate feedback, preferably by allowing manipulation of images, is probably what you're looking for.

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    Re: Best Language for a 7-Year-Old?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ubuntist View Post
    Thank you. I am familiar with Python and quite like it, but it hadn't occurred to me for this purpose, because it's not clear to me that it's easy to code something that my nephew will enjoy. Is there a library that would make it really easy to draw things on the screen or do something similarly entertaining?
    It really depends on what he enjoys and how long his attention will last. Pygame is probably your best bet if you want to do something like screen drawing.

    In the end, if it has to be 'entertaining' all the time, your nephew might not enjoy programming until he is older, as it is by nature frustrating until you complete the task you set yourself. But I'm sure you already knew that.

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    Re: Best Language for a 7-Year-Old?

    For a seven year old? I think Python in your best bet.

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    Re: Best Language for a 7-Year-Old?

    Take a look at Scratch. It's good for teaching the basic concepts without getting bogged down in syntax. Start simple and only add complexity a little bit at a time. A 7-year old might be able to get on with Python after a bit, but it's probably not the best place to start with most kids.

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    Re: Best Language for a 7-Year-Old?

    Is this an average 7 year old, or an incredible gifted one? If he is a normal boy, then perhaps he should focus on learning to read, write and addition/substraction? It wouldn't hurt to wait a couple of years when it comes to programming, no?

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