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.
Of course, when my kids will be prepared for something more complicated, I will use JSFiddle as a great tool for learning.
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:
“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.
It really is not hard to spend some quality time with kids. And we both have a lot to learn from each other.