Help with gathering resources for how to learn programming for children book

Michael McMahon michael at
Tue Oct 26 16:38:20 UTC 2021

Hi, Matthias!

I have several years of experience teaching introductory programming 
concepts to children aged 6-18 in an after school setting using free 

The 5-6 age range (at least with my students) was limited to drag and 
drop concepts such as Music Blocks [1], Blockly [2], Scratch 1.4 [3], 
and  Music Blocks, Blockly, and the old offline Scratch 
version 1.4 are the only popular drag and drop options that are 100% 
free software that I am aware of.

Around the age of 10, I would switch them away from drag and drop 
languages to Python or Lua if they were inclined through modifying 
simple games and modifying Minetest mods.

I would primarily recommend Music Blocks as it can even be used offline 
through a browser on old hardware.  The surrounding Sugar project [4] is 
also appropriate for this age group and can be found bundled with 
Trisquel [5].

Blockly is more of a framework than an easy to point to resource.  
Scratch is more focused on vendor lock-in rather than generally teaching 
programming in my opinion as there are not resources for moving on from 
Scratch within their platform.

I would also recommend the book Lauren Ipsum: A Story About Computer 
Science and Other Improbable Things by Carlos Bueno from No Starch Press 
[6] which targets ages 10 and up.







Michael McMahon | Web Developer, Free Software Foundation
GPG Key: 4337 2794 C8AD D5CA 8FCF  FA6C D037 59DA B600 E3C0  |

On 10/26/21 1:28 AM, Matthias Kirschner wrote:
> Hello Cryptie,
> * Cryptie [2021-10-12 09:43 +0200]:
>> What do you think about adding scratch ?
>> It is a great way for young kids to learn algorithmic and having something fun fast.
>> We use it in my association with 5y.o. so they can start fast...
>> BUT
>> 1) They don't provide scratch 3.0 on GNU/Linux (it is installable but it requires a parent able to find and follow a command-line tutorial to install it or you can use one of the website providing it and play in a browser...).
>> 2)  it is a modified BSD licence (+/-) to limit the use of the name Scratch.
> I am not 100% sure about the best approach. What do you and others here
> think about it?
> Best regards,
> Matthias

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