April 30, 2015

Python for Kids: Best Resources to Learn Python Programming

python for kids and teens

Why Should Kids Learn to Code?

Steve Jobs, Apple founder, once said, “Everyone should learn to code because it teaches you how to think.”

One Facebook executive even predicted, back in 2013, that within the next 20 years most jobs will involve some kind of programming.

But coding isn’t just a job skill. Programmers can build games, create animations, and solve interesting problems. In addition, learning to code is fun and can improve problem-solving skills.

Why Should Kids Learn Python?
What’s the Best Way for Kids to Learn Python?
What Are the Best Online Python Classes for Kids?
What Are the Best Online Python Tutorials for Kids?
What Are the Best Python Games for Kids?
What Are the Best Python Books for Kids?
What Are the Best Python Projects for Kids?
Are There Any Other Helpful Python Activities for Kids?

Prepare your child for success: If you are looking for your child to learn to code, explore our live, instructor-led coding classes. Thousands of satisfied students. Highly rated. [Find Out More]


Why Should Kids Learn Python?

Python is Beginner Friendly.

There are dozens of programming languages, and many of them are good for a wide variety of projects. Python is unique in that it’s easy to understand, even for kids with no programming experience. We recommend Python for kids because some languages use a perplexing combination of symbols and abbreviations. Python doesn’t.

Kids Won’t Outgrow Python.

A few programming languages designed for beginners are purely graphical. These are called “block” languages. Scratch is an example of a block programming language. Although Scratch is good for elementary school children, it’s easy to outgrow.

That’s not the case with Python, which powers the world’s second-largest search engine: YouTube. Scientists use Python to work with large data sets. Software engineers build neural networks and other forms of artificial intelligence with this versatile language.


What’s the Best Way for Kids to Learn Python?

There are many different ways for kids to learn programming with Python or any other language. With such an array of tools available, it can be difficult to choose those that are most effective.

Thankfully, scientists have been studying the ways people learn for decades and have found some interesting clues about what works and what doesn’t.

Python for kids, student coding on a laptop

Gamification Encourages Kids to Learn Python.

Motivation is a key component of successful learning. Without the proper incentives, students can get bored and abandon a subject before they’ve become proficient. This is why gamification is now so popular in online and live classrooms.

Score-keeping, competition and rewards are great ideas for holding kids’ attention and teaching them everything from algebra to programming in Python. When searching for online Python courses, boot camps, and live workshops for your child, look for those that incorporate gamification.

Python is an Easy Introduction That Prevents Kids from Feeling Overwhelmed.

Some kids might feel like they just don’t have what it takes to learn Python. The strange combinations of words and punctuation can seem impossible to decipher. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but learning the basics of Python isn’t nearly as difficult as it may appear.

The key is to ease kids into learning Python by working with small chunks of information at a time. If the information is organized into a highly visual format, that’s even better.

The best coding books for kids are divided into short segments with plenty of pictures and small bits of text. Some coding classes offer short lessons that kids can complete in just a few minutes. These are perfect ways to introduce the Python programming language to kids.

Project-Based Learning Gets Kids Engaged in Python.

Many of the biggest names in technology started coding to build simple programs for themselves, friends, or family.

Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs are just a few examples. They got excited about coding by building small, but fun, personal projects. Dreaming up a game or website, then figuring out how to build it might be the most effective way to master a programming language like Python.

It’s often necessary to learn the basics before beginning, but it’s possible to be proficient enough to build impressive programs in just a few weeks.

Practice is a Must.

Python programming is just like any other skill, it requires frequent practice. Kids who regularly use their Python skills to build projects and solve problems will retain their knowledge. Those who don’t are likely to forget most of what they’ve learned in a very short time. Practice is crucial, so make sure your child has regular opportunities to use Python.


What Are the Best Online Python Classes for Kids?

Online classes might be the most popular way for kids to learn Python these days, and for good reason. Kids can learn from the comfort of home and parents can avoid the long drive back and forth. Most python classes for kids employ some elements of gamification to make learning fun. They also present content in short segments and many guide students through the process of building interesting and useful projects.

Code Wizards HQ: Python for Kids

Blue CodeWizardsHQ Logo

CodeWizardsHQ’s online coding classes for kids combines elements that promote student engagement with strategies that help kids build solid programming skills. A live instructor guides students through a project-based curriculum. The Python for Kids classes and projects are based on topics kids enjoy like superheroes, videos, and apps. 

The class includes an in-browser code editor for kids to experiment with code and submit work for the instructor to review. Students in Python for Kids spend most of their time coding, so they get valuable practice time. Parents also receive weekly progress updates.


Tynker.com: Introduction to Python

Python for Kids, TynkerIntroduction to Python is geared toward kids 12 and older. Kids start by learning about coding fundamentals such as variables, loops, and if/then statements. From there, they progress to working with graphics and eventually to building games.

This is a self-paced course where kids work through a series of 13 lessons at their own pace.


Codecademy

Python for Kids, CodecademyLearn Python is a comprehensive Python fundamentals course from Codecademy, a pioneer in online coding education with a very popular platform. Students complete a series of interactive lessons in an online coding environment that provides instant feedback.

This course isn’t specifically designed for kids, but the lessons should be suitable for most high school and some middle school students.


Udemy

Coding classes for kids, UdemyUdemy is an online-course platform that any subject-matter expert can use to create and publish educational content. Potential instructors submit their course ideas, which are evaluated and must be approved by Udemy.

Check out Teach Your Kids to Code, an excellent course from the author of the book by the same name. You might also want to pick up the book, which is published by No Starch Press.


What Are the Best Online Python Tutorials for Kids?

Trinket

Python for Kids, Trinket Trinket’s Hour of Python is a collection of Python tutorials, challenges, and exercises for complete beginners as well as more experienced kids. Many of the challenges are modeled after simple real-world problems that professional coders have to solve.


TechRocket

Python for Kids, Techrocket TechRocket offers several themed tutorials for kids in a variety of programming languages, including Python. Bad Luck In Space is a series of progressive lessons developed around a space-themed game. To win, kids have to program their way out of dangerous situations like a malfunctioning spaceship and attacking aliens.


Practice Python

Python for Kids, Practice Python

This website contains dozens of Python practice exercises with sample code that kids can use as models for their own programs. Some of the challenges involve common programming tasks like working with files. Others challenge kids to write simple games like Tic-Tac-Toe and Hangman.


What Are the Best Python Games for Kids?

CodeCombat

Python for Kids, Code Combat In CodeCombat, kids learn to code in Python by playing a game. There’s no need for prior coding knowledge, but players start programming right away. The game provides easy instructions for writing code that moves a character around on screen. The graphics are as good as anything kids might be used to from other video games.


CheckIO

Python for Kids, CheckIOIn this browser-based game, kids get a look at Python examples before attempting to complete “missions” with their own code. Most of the game is more text based than CodeCombat, but the problems in each mission can be quite fun to solve.


Scary Spot the Difference

Python for Kids, Raspberry Pi

Aspiring coders get to actually build a game in this collection of easy programming lessons. All of the code is provided for kids to follow step-by-step. Inquisitive kids may want to tweak parts of it and see what happens.

Scary Spot the Difference introduces learners to PyGame. PyGame is a library of Python files created just for game development, a subject for kids who are interested in building games.


What Are the Best Python Books for Kids?

Online classes, games and tutorial videos are useful tools for kids learning Python. These interactive resources help kids stay motivated and can be a lot of fun, but research suggests that the physical book still has a place in education.

Reading skills are critical to academic and career success. In the United States, statistics show that most kids who fall behind in reading by the third grade never catch up. On the other hand, a recent study suggests that children who grow up in homes with plenty of books can be as many as three years ahead of their less bookish classmates.

Books also have advantages over digital media for kids learning Python. It’s easy to see progress by the decreasing number of unread pages remaining. Kids can flip to any page of a book, skip around, skim and read at their own pace.

Most kids can read much faster than someone in a video can talk. This means they can digest more content by reading than by watching videos for the same amount of time.

It’s also good to have a shelf full of reference books when learning to code, like our best coding books for kids.

Python for Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming

Python for Kids Book, A Playful Introduction To Programming Target Age: Elementary and middle school kids

If you can only buy your child just one book about Python, it should be Python for Kids. This single volume covers the basics of Python with fun, easy-to-understand example code and exercises. Readers learn how to download, install, and get started with Python in the first few pages.

Each chapter ends with a helpful summary of the material just learned. Kids discover how to work with graphics, build desktop applications and develop games. Python for Kids is packed with information and should be on every young coder’s bookshelf.


Computer Coding

Python for Kids Book, Computer Coding

Target Age: Elementary school kids

Elementary school readers can learn the basics of computer programming with this easy introduction from DK Publishers. It’s highly visual and well-organized into easily digestible chunks of information.

Computer Coding explains the key ideas behind programming such as variables, loops, and if/then statements. Each chapter features a practice exercise to help kids solidify their understanding of the material. The solutions in the back of the book allows kids to check their work and serves as an excellent reference.


Coding Projects in Python

Python for Kids Book, Coding Projects in Python

Target Age: Elementary and middle school children

Coding Projects in Python is organized much like Computer Coding. It begins with a similar, although much more thorough, discussion of essential programming concepts. Kids work through projects like drawing graphics, creating animations, building a desktop application, and solving simple math problems.


Adventures In Minecraft

Python for Kids Book, Adventures in Minecraft

Target Age: 11-15. According to the authors, kids as young as 8 can complete most of the book.

Minecraft is a video game in which kids roam through a virtual 3D world.

Adventures in Minecraft shows readers how to expand the game’s potential through a series of “adventures”. Each chapter describes the adventure, a Minecraft project kids complete with Python programming.

Projects include controlling the avatar with code and automating repetitive tasks the player must complete during the game.


What Are the Best Python Projects for Kids?

Python for Kids Projects, UdemyProject Based Python Programming for Kids and Beginners
In this Udemy course, kids build projects like user interfaces, desktop applications, games, and websites. They learn through video instruction, example code, downloadable project files and quizzes.

Python for Kids Projects, Code ClubCode Club

There are 14 fun and easy Python projects at CodeClubProjects.org. They range from a text program that answers simple questions to a password generator that actually creates secure passwords. Each project includes a PDF, file downloads, and any other necessary resources.


Python for Kids Projects, Raspberry Pi Raspberry Pi

Using a small programmable computer and Python, kids can build all kinds of interesting real-world gizmos. The Raspberry Pi enables young coders to make their own robots, interact with a variety of sensors, and more. You can pick up a Raspberry Pi for less than $50 and some models are as little as $10.


Are There Any Other Helpful Python Activities for Kids?

Fiddles Let Kids Explore Code Online

Trying to solve a problem after seeing someone else’s solution often leads to a deeper understanding of a concept. Fiddles are online development environments, or code editors, that allow kids to write code and see it work in the browser. There’s no software to install. A Python fiddle is a convenient tool for exploring solutions to coding problems.

PythonFiddle.com is one helpful example kids can use to write code and see it work. It has a simple interface and all of the basic functionality of the language. Variables, functions, math and if/then statements all work in Python Fiddle.

There are also several example scripts kids can use as models for their own programs. These include simple games, calculators, functions and algorithms.

Several other Python fiddles offer kids an opportunity to play around in the browser:

Sometimes Professional Programmers Write Code on Whiteboards. Kids Can Too.

Learning Python doesn’t have to mean staring at a computer screen. There are several tools to learn programming that allow for time away from the computer.

Whiteboards and chalkboards are perfect for practicing Python. It’s easy to write code on a board and often helpful to do so even before sitting down at the computer. In fact, many programming job interviews involve “whiteboard problems”. These interviews require the candidate to write code this way, often in front of an experienced programmer who can evaluate it in real time.

Teams of software engineers frequently use whiteboards when working on code together.

When kids try to work out problems before learning solutions from a textbook or teacher, they tend to learn the material more effectively. Let your child develop a simple computer program on the whiteboard before testing it with a computer and the results are likely to be positive.

To make whiteboard coding more fun, use a variety of colored chalk or markers to imitate the look of a Python code editor like Sublime Text, Notepad++ or PyCharm.

Kids Who Are Learning Python Should Teach Python.

Richard Feynman, one of the most brilliant physicists and teachers of the twentieth century, developed a powerful learning method now known as the Feynman Technique. The core idea in the Feynman Technique is “to learn something thoroughly, you should try to teach it to someone else.”

In doing so, concepts you don’t completely grasp become apparent, so you can easily identify areas you need to work on. Kids can build stronger coding skills by teaching, whether that means demonstrating ideas to their peers or trying to teach adults. The whiteboard is a handy teaching tool.

Flashcards Help Kids Remember.

Recall practice is an important step in the learning process. Kids need to access information they’ve learned frequently to keep it fresh and remember it when they need it. Flashcards are perfect for this kind of mental exercise, and the Coding is Good flashcard set from MathandCoding.org is designed specifically for Python learners.

Interacting with Real-World Objects in Python is Exciting.

The Internet of Things is growing rapidly. Robots, drones and a myriad of other devices can interact through Bluetooth or wireless networks. For aspiring engineers and mechanically apt kids, these devices offer unlimited opportunities for exploration.

One of the most popular Internet of Things gadgets is the Raspberry Pi, a small, Python-programmable computer. A Google search for “Raspberry Pi” shows the vast possibilities with this little gizmo, from automation to robotics and more.


Your Child Can Learn Python Programming

With dedication and practice, it’s possible for your child to learn python programming. It’s a unique skill that not only benefits him or her now, but also builds technical skills for the future. So, pick your favorite Python game, book, or app and start coding!

Prepare your child for success: If you are looking for your child to learn to code, explore our live, instructor-led coding classes. Thousands of satisfied students. Highly rated. [Find Out More]

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