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Programming for kids – my experience

I have two sons aged 6 and 9. They are really great kids and interested in lots of different topics, as probably every kid is. Computer is a very interesting toy to them and they will do anything to “earn” 10 minutes each.

I had an idea to start teaching them programming, so I asked them what they think of it. Like any other kid in the world, they started to shout “Yeah” (probably happy to spend some quality time with their dad and have some time on the computer).


As my wife is a teacher, I know that if you want to teach youngsters something, you have to be well prepared. So, I went on Google trying to find something appropriate, and whatever I found, I was not satisfied, as everything was too complicated.

After some thinking I decided to prepare a small introduction into programming using nothing but Chrome browser’s JavaScript console. It is ideal, you can write and execute code in it, get errors and other interesting stuff, it is just plain cool and more than enough for the first few lessons.

Of course, when my kids will be prepared for something more complicated, I will use JSFiddle as a great tool for learning.

I chose JavaScript as the dominant client side language on the web.

First lesson

I did not want to bother the kids with plenty of theory about programming. I think that the computer and that they will “tell” it to do something is motivational enough to get them going.

And I was right, they were very eager to do something, ASAP.

So, I asked them to enter their names inside double quotes. Then I told them about the difference between numbers and words. I did not tell them about Strings and stuff, as I didn’t want them to be confused.

Then, they tried some basic Math stuff, like 2 + 3. They cheered when the computer correctly answered the “questions” they were asking. The older one was eager to find out if computer will understand parenthesis. And it did! Wow.

After some playing with numbers, I entered this:

[code lang=”javascript”]
“Star” + “Bucks”

and asked them what will happen? Both said in the same time: “Computer will connect the words!”. I was surprised with their logic.

We were playing with alert function for a while and then I explained how to make computer “remember” their names, so they put them in variables. It was really fun for both me and my kids.


Kids are really eager to learn anything interesting and fun. If you want to teach them anything, do that through as much play as possible. They are really capable and never underestimate them.

As for programming, maybe this isn’t the way to teach this topic, but my kids loved it and asked : “When will be the next lesson?”. I think that this way my kids will learn some basic moves in JavaScript, and if they will be interested, they will not have problems expanding this base “knowledge” and learn how to write code.

It really is not hard to spend some quality time with kids. And we both have a lot to learn from each other.

What do you think? Is JavaScript the right choice for teaching kids? Please, share your thoughts below and don’t forget to share the article on Twitter, Facebook or whatever using the buttons below.