Kids Can Code! How Can I Teach My Children to Program?

We had a very special night at Philly.NET tonight, and while Philly.NET doesn’t have an official blog, we here at Philly GameWorks think of ourselves as an offshoot meetup.  So I wanted to recap what went on tonight.

Philly.Net – Kids Can Code Night with Mara Grigore

At Philly.Net, we had a special night to invite younger kids to learn to create software and games.  We were lucky enough to have Mara Grigore, an eleven year old software developer, teach an audience of over one hundred (including at least forty kids) about learning to code.

Mara demonstrated games and visual animations she created with MIT’s Scratch language.  She also showed off controlling the robot Dash (from Wonder Workshop) with Blockly and her iPad.

Mara was a superstar among her peers.  Even during the dessert break, the kids couldn’t get enough of her wizardry as they crowded around her and Dash to see her control the robot.
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She discussed a lot of different tools and languages you can use.  To make it easy for you, they are listed below:

Scratch – Official Scratch Site

Blockly – Blockly Information Site

Book: Help your kids with Computer Coding
Mara, and her dad Georgian, said this book was ideal for learning Scratch and as she advances the book later moves into learning Python.

Wonder Workshop – Dot and Dash robots that can be controlled by app, Blockly, or modern programming platforms like Java.

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TechGirlz – Empowering middle school girls to excel in technology

Coded By Kids – Teaching inner city youth development skills and training teachers to do the same

Project Spark – with Samantha Gomez

Chris Gomez and his five year old daughter Samantha told the audience about Project Spark, a “game creation platform” available now on Xbox One and Windows.  You can get the app in the Windows store or the Xbox One Store and create game worlds that save online.  Samantha used the Kinect to record animations that were then used in the game!  Then Chris was able to show them off on his laptop at the meetup automatically… everything just saves for you in the cloud.

You can learn a lot about using Project Spark at their very own YouTube channel:

Project Spark YouTube Channel – Tutorials for using Project Spark, the game creator for Windows 8 (from the Store) and Xbox One.

More great learning for kids coming up at Philly GameWorks

Philly GameWorks is open to people of all ages who want to make their first game. However, to help kids learn to program and enjoy making games, we have two special meetings coming this year.

Join our Meetup here to be notified of more events for kids of ALL ages and game development experience.

Making games with Construct2 – July 28th. We’ll learn to use an awesome game development tool to make 2D games with no programming required that you can publish to app stores.

Making Minecraft Mods – September 22.  We’ll learn how to make mods for the #1 selling PC game of all time.

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