Python swallows kids in Minecraft

Just wanted to share a bit about my experience in trying to teach my kids programming. Hope it’s helpful to some of you out there!

In order to teach kids programming I found that 3 things were needed.

  1. A device
  2. Teaching resources
  3. Interest from the kids

The last thing is probably the most important. 😉

1. A device

The kids will need a device on which to program. I feel that if they had a dedicated machine for themselves this will make them more motivated because a) they will be doing it on THEIR machine (having a device they would want to make use of it) and b) they don’t have to wait for people to stop using it before they could make use of it and therefore can use it whenever they feel like it (with a shared device, they would only be able to make use of it when it wasn’t being used by others).

Now I know that most people can’t afford another computer for the exclusive use of their kids. So the solution that I found that worked for me was a Raspberry Pi. Currently, the latest version is the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B.

This coupled with a second hand monitor and keyboard / mouse would probably be the cheapest way to provide a computing device to your kids.

You can install various operating systems (OSes) onto the Raspberry Pi. I’d suggest installing the Kano operating system (but not to purchase the Raspberry Pi from Kano as their kits are expensive).

Further information can be found at the links below

2. Teaching resources

Now I don’t know about you but I don’t have the time nor desire to come up with a computing course for my kid(s). But there’s another solution! There’s plenty of videos on YouTube and books at your local library that you can watch/borrow to use as a base to teach your kids.

I watch/read at the same time as my kid so I learn at the same time and if they have any questions, I can help out.

We decided to purchase an on-line video course from StackSocial called The Complete Python Course.

Two books we found useful were Computer Coding for Kids and Python in easy steps.

3. Interest from the kids

This as I mentioned above is the most important ingredient. I can’t help you inculcate the interest in your kids. What I can share is how I tried to do that with mine.

One way was through the use of Minecraft. You can use Python to code/build stuff in Minecraft. So that’s one way that I tried.

The other way was to participate in their learning. So learning Python became something my kid would do with their parent instead of something they had to do alone. It became (hopefully) a fun shared activity!

Hope that helps! Do let me know if you have any questions and I’ll try to help answer them.