A dear friend popped up earlier and asked me for recommendations about tools to help kids learn programming. I'm most passionate about getting capable adults into software development (more on that in another post), but this is for a youngster closer to 10.

Years ago, I got really excited about Squeak, the (then) latest iteration of Alan Kay's vision for kids and programming. The first one, Smalltalk, is why you have a graphical interface and programmers have Objects to play with. :)

Today I found a few worth sharing.

Tynker looks really cool. Graphical programming, gently introduced with game dynamics and fun. Even the logic of programming can be illustrated for the learner using tiles and drag and drop arrangement, perfect for experimentation. Then, as they're ready, the learner can "reveal" the underlying javascript code that their graphically arranged branches and conditionals was producing. Tynker is free to anyone.

Another is Scratch from MIT's lab. Seems a little more dated, but definitely worth the look.