Python for Kids by Jason R. Briggs
Summary: Python and games development for kids
It’s hard to say how should you teach kids programming. This is not an easy topic. Jason tries to make the subject as simple as possible, but this is really not that easy if you start looking at details. However, Jason makes his best and makes it really good, to give you plain and straightforward explanation of Python. First of all he tells you how to install and configure programming environment. And for thous, who have never ever developed in the past, configuring Python may not be that straightforward. After you are ready to go, author takes you on the journey through the set of most basic constructs of the language. You will learn concepts of variables, classes, objects. You will get familiar with arrays, maps and constructs that let you create conditions and loops within the application. It would be fair to say, that half of the book is filled with these simple foundations of the development process. After all the basics are laid out you will be told how to use graphics in applications. How to combine the code and pictures and make them work for you. Do you recall famous LOGO? Yes, this “turtle like” computing language! You will find it here as well with all it’s simplicity. But this time, you are getting it in Python flavor.
After you have learned all the basics it’s time to do some serious stuff. Jason guides you through the game development process by showing how to create simple games. What’s really cool here is the fact you really do something. You will create simple games that do something. And this is the place where simple, boring “Hello world” strings are taken over by moving objects and graphics. If you have read carefully first part of the book you should be able to follow second part and be able to develop discussed games. Just one remark here. As reading first part of the book is rather easy, the leap between simple constructs and games is quite big. It may turn out that you will slow down with your reading and will have to focus more, but still you should be able to follow what author has to offer.
Last thing to discuss here is the definition of “kid”. This book requires your kid to be able to read and to understand some basic concepts of mathematics like addition, multiplication, angles, length, width, measurement, etc. It’s hard to judge, but in my opinion there is no point of buying this book unless your kid is 9-12 years old. Well, in fact, in case you have really smart kid, you can buy the book sooner.
Anyway. If you think about pushing your kid towards programming, buy this book together with Raspberry PI and you are ready to go :)
The only drawback of the book are the missing sample codes. According to the information in the book, you should be able to find samples at the book’s page. Well, I couldn’t.
Update: You can find source codes here: http://nostarch.com/download/PythonForKidsCode.zip
Product page: http://shop.oreilly.com/product/9781593274078.do
Amazon (in Books): Python for Kids: A Playful Introduction to Programming