About a couple of days ago I came across Microsoft’s SmallBasic (on Scott Hanselman’s blog). It looked like a great way to introduce my 10-year-old to the world of programming. She’s been bugging me for a while to teach her how to code and I’ve always struggled how I would do that using the languages I normally use (i.e. C#, Ruby, JS, etc.) Those languages aren’t really good for a 10-year-old.
SmallBasic’s simplicity and the speed with which a kid can get something up and running is impressive. I sat down with her today to play with it for the first time and the results were nothing short of awesome :-) She had never written a line of code in her life and in less than 2 hours she (with my help, but she did all the typing) built a command line calculator. We then spent another hour in which she designed (purely in code) a calculator UI.
She’s really excited to keep going and is already thinking of a slew of features she wants to add to her calculator. Once we’re done with that, I think we’ll move on to building a simple game :-)
I was so proud of how quickly she picked this stuff up!
If programming is your passion and you have a kid between 10 and 16 years of age that want to learn to program… I would definitely recommend that you take SmallBasic for a test drive. You can also “graduate” your program to Visual Studio (only support VB upgrade) so that you can help them take their coding to the next level :-)