5 Best Programming Languages for Kids

Programming is a great skill for any child to learn and develop. Programming basics are something that anyone who will one day work with computers should have a handle on. However, there are so many different programming languages, it can be hard to decide which one will be the best to pick for your students. Here is an overview of the five best programming languages for kids who are interested in learning to code:

programming languages for kids

Recommended Programming Languages for Kids

1. Python

Python is a programming language that reads like normal speech. One rarely has to add comments to the code because Python code that is written well enough reads as if the comments are already included in the code. If your kids or students are going to learn something like coding, then you would want them to get a basic grasp on how to think like a programmer. With Python, students will have very few obstacles with regards to learning how to program. They will be able to learn how to construct programming ideas within their heads and then focus on transferring these ideas into instructions that the machine can interpret. Python also has a “batteries included” philosophy, which refers to the tremendous amount that can be done just by simply researching and using the core Python libraries. Many of the common functionalities that programmers need are already built into the programming language, which makes this a great language for kids to learn.

2. Ruby

Ruby has the most readable syntax for beginner programmers. Instead of spending a lot of time explaining the code that students are typing into machines, a lot of it will be self-explanatory for them. This is a really important factor for children who are still learning the concepts of programming. At the end of the day, children will need to learn the concepts in order to write good scripts. Ruby is a very robust language and it was originally used to create Twitter, so you can immediately show students that the application is a tool that gets used in popular platforms.

3. Java

Java is arguably a bit harder to learn than either Ruby or Python, but choosing Java as a first-time programming language will make learning any subsequent language a bit easier for students. Many students have already thought about creating their own apps or websites but simply don’t know where to start. Java has been around for two decades and there are so many online resources, toolkits and tutorials that virtually anything can be created from the ground up using Java. There are a few initial hurdles to overcome, such as installing JDK and understanding how the syntaxes work, but the object oriented setup of the programming language makes it easy for students to progress. Java looks similar to C and C++, but offers more functionalities, thereby enables students to create more robust programs.

4. C++

Many computer science experts and developers have different opinions about whether a student should start with C++ or not. This programming language can look a bit like math and might put students off the idea of learning to code. Once the basic fundamentals of programming are understood, however, C++ can open many doors into the world of programming. Many of today’s most successful programmers started learning to code with C or C++.

5. Scratch

If you have a classroom of kids who are interested in creating animations, interactive stories, art or music, then Scratch is a coding language that can be learned online for free. While this language is simple enough for children, there are enough functionalities and options that even experienced programmers use the language.
Scratch also has a very interactive online community where people share their artwork and games with each other, which can further engage your students.

In Summary

Programming is a useful skill for virtually anyone. It teaches you to think about how a process works. It teaches you to think about the steps that are needed to make a process happen and how to solve problems.

As a teacher or mentor who is researching different options, it’s important to know that each language will have its benefits and drawbacks. The important thing is that your students learn the concepts behind the programming, such as the logic behind writing code, how to use constructs and tricks of the trade. CoderZ is an online learning environment designed to teaching kids from age 10–18 to learn how to code virtual and real robots. Find out more about CoderZ by Intelitek.

Talk to other teachers, STEM professionals, and STEM lovers. Share your thoughts and be part of the conversation. Join this online community for STEM, coding, and robotics professional.

13 Comments

  1. November 2, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    Hi there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out
    and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading your articles.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same topics?
    Many thanks!

  2. Dan-Reply
    April 20, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Python and Ruby for sure. C++ or Java – no way! There is nothing wrong with them as languages, but dealing with all the boilerplate is a sure way to turn kids off.

    I’d be more inclined to recommend HTML/CSS and JavaScript.

  3. Brian Sheely-Reply
    August 26, 2017 at 4:08 am

    Anyone who would suggest C++ is an appropriate programming language for kids has never programmed in C++. With the exception of Assembly, you can’t find a more difficult language to learn.

  4. Tarnue Pythagoras Borbor-Reply
    September 19, 2017 at 2:57 am

    var text = “learn HTML first”;
    alert(text);
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    > >
    > learn HTML first >
    > >
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    • Arie Elbelman-Reply
      November 5, 2017 at 10:54 am

      Good one! 🙂

  5. September 28, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    I would really recommend HTML5+CSS+JavaScript.

    Easy to get into, lots of tutorials. Start from HTML and CSS, then add JavaScript over time.

    They’re really attractive and profitable skills to have, easy to find a job, even a remote one too!

    • Arie Elbelman-Reply
      November 5, 2017 at 10:51 am

      Thanks for the recommendations, Elen!

  6. October 7, 2017 at 7:55 am

    This is a very helpful guide for someone who wanted to aim for the best thing in programming. Keep sharing

  7. Vlad-Reply
    November 4, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Seriously? Java?? What age are talking about?

    • Arie Elbelman-Reply
      November 5, 2017 at 10:56 am

      Hi Vlad! Middle school and high school students are having great experiences with Java. Especially when using it to program their own virtual robots in CoderZ.

  8. Peter George-Reply
    November 5, 2017 at 2:48 am

    I am a retired electrical engineer and I would like to get my 12 year old grandson interested in coding. I have been a hardware developer and have written in C, C++, C#, VB and ASM. Where should I start to get his interest without overwhelming him?

    • Arie Elbelman-Reply
      November 5, 2017 at 10:56 am

      Hi Peter, we truly recommend an online, gamified, learning environment like CoderZ. In CoderZ, your grandson will be able to learn how to code while programming his own virtual robot! Check it out at http://www.GoCoderZ.com

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