How to Teach Kids to Program Computers



Tips, tricks and a curriculum for teaching children to program computers in your spare time.


I’ve developed a 6 week, after-school course for teaching children how to program computers, and I’d like to share these lessons so that others can do the same. These classes are focused at elementary school, and can be as light or as complicated as the needs of the students; however, the fundamentals are the same.

My lesson plans includes the initial projects and presentations and covers the concepts for each of the following lessons. I also discuss tips on focusing the student’s attention as well as discipline problems.

  1. Getting Started introduces the students to the Scratch Learning Environment as they build an online puppet show.
  2. Animation and Graphics begins with the concept of a pixel and describes how to make good animation as they take an elephant out for a walk.
  3. Event Processing describes message passing and receiving as they build a couple of projects including a Mr. Potato Head game.
  4. Making Music teaches the students how to record and playback their voice as well as play simple tunes. This lesson builds upon previous lessons in order to orchestrate a choir of snails.
  5. Variables and Lists teaches the students how use variables and lists to make a fun testing program.
  6. Game Design puts all the lessons together to show the students how to build different types of games including a racing and an adventure game.

Speaking experience