Teach Your Kids to Code
no starch press, 2015
Teach Your Kids to Code by Dr. Bryson Payne is more than just a book about teaching your kids to code. It's also a book about getting them excited about coding and helping them to develop skills that are likely to be invaluable as they move through school and eventually into their careers -- skills that are in heavy demand today and likely to become
more so by the time those kids reach adulthood.
Unlike most books about learning to program, however, this book is designed for interaction. Parents, whether they know how to code in Python or not when they start the book, will both acquire a good base of knowledge about the language and will be following good teaching/learning trajectory as they go from basics to graphics and numbers to loops and conditions. And from there, they'll move to functions and games.
One of the most appealing things about this book is how approachable each of the chapters and, in fact, each of the example graphics and programs are. Once a kid gets to the discovery "Hey, I can do this!", the next step is wanting to do more. And the graphics are impressive, the games are fun, and the explanations are clear and encouraging.
Reading through this book, I remembered how excited I was when I first discovered the Unix command line and started experimenting with commands and pipes. I could hardly get enough if it. I could get so much done with what seemed like very little effort. And I was excited about going to work every day. It's one thing to learn something and something altogether better to get excited about learning something. And Python's a good language for fueling that kind of excitement and demonstrating how quickly and easily impressive things can be done.
Like some of the other no starch press books that are aimed at young readers, the layout of this book with its slightly larger text and playful graphics makes it inviting and appealing to potential coders of all ages.
The author, too, is also quite impressive. A tenured professor of Computer Science at the University of North Georgia, he started programming at age 12 and is now a strong advocate of technology education in grades K-12 -- something I believe would be extremely beneficial to the next generation of our work force and that would likely make school a lot more fun.
It may be a while before my grandson (shown in the photo trying to guess my password) is ready to learn Python or to build games. He's not quite 13 months old. But the author taught his 2 and 4 year old sons to code, so maybe it won't be all that long before he's ready. If only "Teach Your Kids to Clean Their Rooms" could be as much fun!
Table of Contents
Introduction: What Is Coding and Why Is It Good for Your Kids?
Chapter 1: Python Basics: Get to Know Your Environment
Chapter 2: Turtle Graphics: Drawing with Python
Chapter 3: Numbers and Variables: Python Does the Math
Chapter 4: Loops Are Fun (You Can Say That Again)
Chapter 5: Conditions (What If?)
Chapter 6: Random Fun and Games: Go Ahead, Take a Chance!
Chapter 7: Functions: There’s a Name for That
Chapter 8: Timers and Animation: What Would Disney Do?
Chapter 9: User Interaction: Get into the Game
Chapter 10: Game Programming: Coding for Fun
Appendix A: Python Setup for Windows, Mac, and Linux
Appendix B: Pygame Setup for Windows, Mac, and Linux
Appendix C: Building Your Own Modules
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