My daughter, like many children, loves video games. Moreover, she loves the idea of being able to create something on her own. At the ripe old age of 7 she decided she is tired of not having access to something in her online games because her dad is to cheap to pay. So she has very grandiose plans to create her own system that will be free to play.
I had previously played with Kodu Game Lab (http://fuse.microsoft.com/page/kodu) developed at Microsoft Fuse Labs. She had a lot of fun with it but eventually got bored. The biggest problem I had with it is that the tutorials went from simple to fairly complicated and she was having a hard time doing it on her own. In addition, it covertly taught programming concepts and unless someone stopped to point them out you wouldn’t catch on. Now maybe I didn’t give Kodu enough of a chance but after she lost interest I didn’t really continue playing with it.
Recently I received a recommendation for a different book to try. Hello World! Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners is a book designed for beginning programmers. It starts off with the traditional Hello World! program and goes from there. So far, my daughter is being a little impatient as she wants to start building her games but she finished the first chapter in one night.
The book uses Python 2.5 as the base for all of the code and the examples. I think this is a great choice even though Python 2.5 is a little outdated. My Python experience has been limited to data processing scripts so I am even excited to get to some of the GUI and Game examples in the book. After the first chapter I can say that she definitely needs some help along the way but she can do most of it on her own. I will make more posts as we get further into the book.