Kid’s Programming Language



October 20th, 2005

I’ve been meaning to give [tag]Kid's Programming Language[/tag] ([tag]KPL[/tag]) a mention for a while but things keep getting in the way!  Well, my kids have hassled me to make a post about it on my blog so here it is!

I’m going to begin by getting to the point – KPL is the BEST kids programming tool that I’ve come across (and I’ve seen a LOT of them).  I like KPL because it’s a serious attempt at getting kids of all ages (from 5 – 99!) programming (or at least interested in programming) in an integrated development environment that looks and feels like a mini-Visual Studio.

Kpl1

The second reason why I like it is that it’s based around fun games that kids will enjoy but that are simple enough for them to get to grips with quickly and begin experimenting and making changes to the code.  Take “SpaceShooter” as an example:

Kpl2

Finally, the price.  It’s free!  You can’t get much better than that!  I’m sure that donations to the project from schools making use of this software would be welcome by the developers (Morrison Schwartz, a software development and consulting company) though, who do have a PayPal donation button on the site.

I really like KPL but, more importantly, my kids enjoy it.  I’ve watched them start off by playing the games then they start to wonder as to how it works and then they begin making changes.  Some changes make the game work a little differently and some break the game but they still don’t lose interest in it – it then becomes a case of “wanting” to fix the game and then of “wanting” to make improvements to it.

Another aspect of KPL that I find unique is the detail paid to commenting code so it’s easy for kids to follow and make changes to.  This not only makes it easier for the child (and parent!) to work with the code but it also introduced kids to the importance of code commenting!

Kpl3

Notice too how the code is color-coded and line numbers used – nice touch!

All in all, I don’t think that a parent looking for software for their kids is going to do any better than KPL – there may be apps out there that look “prettier” but that’s not what programming is.  Get kids using this and the jump to VB is a much smaller one than if the main character teaching them to program is a rabbit or something!

Also, it’s not just for kids – I could see this being an excellent basis for introducing adults to [tag]programming[/tag]!

Go get a copy!

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 20th, 2005 at 13:43 and is filed under PC Doctor Programming. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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