Programming for a 7 year old

I’ve been getting the feeling that my family is getting pretty geeky with being in close proximity to Microsoft, when my wife and I started communicating via email and IM ... at home :). It took on a new level when my seven year old daughter sent me this email:



i found your blog on the internet. you should add colors like on my blog. also I saw the s word in the title.




Ok, Shaan, point taken, check out my new tagline. Now where would I be without advice from a 7 year old. Talking about 7 year olds and kids, I know I had fun working with BASIC, so I decided to locate a copy of GWBasic for my daughter to play around with.


Does anybody have recommendations for getting a kid who wants to dabble with programming, actually building cool windows apps … without having to read bulky manuals ?

Comments (14)

  1. Eric Sink says:

    I’m interested in answers to this question. My daughter is 10. Any recommendations for a programming language or environment for kids?

  2. I would ditch the acual programming for now and maybe revisit that in a couple years. My suggestion would be legos, either the basic ones or the more complex ones that allow you to make machines. The reason why I would go this route instead of jumping right into a simple language is that the the skills of problem solving and creativity are more fundamental to a young childs future than basic programming concepts. Also, I’d be a little worried that QBasic, lacking any tactile feedback or "pretty colors" would swiftly grow boring – I know i would have been bored with it at 7. I first started picking at qbasic in 5th grade, so you might want to check back around that timeframe.

    Oh and please don’t tell me kids don’t play with legos anymore, i’ll only 21 and i REALLY dont want to start feeling old.

  3. mathew says:

    I don’t actually have any programming recommendations, but your story reminded me of when my five-year-old daughter sent me an MSN message at work. It said: "Hi there — this is Zoe. I am five years old." I thought it was my wife or my other daughter fooling around… almost time to get her started on linux 🙂

  4. James Geurts says:

    I would recommend sitting down with her, and showing her how to make a program. Just walk her through a simple one like a calculator or even a program that changes the color of a box based on button clicks… Might as well use visual studio, but I would recommend removing a lot of the "fluff" tool windows that wouldn’t be relevant.

  5. Bruce says:

    That’s awesome. I sometimes get an IM from my wife when I’m on one couch and she is on the other one. Generally they say something like "pay attention to *me*". <grin>

    I will say that my 10-month-old daughter has (repeatedly) done things to my laptop that I, with my years of computer industry expertise, have been unable to reproduce. Check out this link for the full story:

  6. Whilst I wasn’t 7! I ‘cut my teeth’ using a language called Blitz Basic on the Amiga

    theres now Blitz Basic on the PC, although i’ve not tried it…….

    It has a serious rival too Dark Basic


  7. William Luu says:

    Can you imagine? In a few years you’ll have a 10 year old computer hacker 😛

    Ok, on a more serious note though. What about getting her to play with "Logo" (I think that’s what it’s called?). The one where you issue commands for the little "turtle" (triangle) thing which makes it move around.

    I remember in primary school, we got to play around with it on the old Apples they used to have there.

    Just did a quick Google seach on it and found this link:


    Can’t find an english version of the site at the minute i’m on me Axim

  9. Alan says:

    Why not get her started on Java (or C# since you are close to MicroSoft)? Give her a program that puts up a window and show her how to use the Graphics object. She can start drawing things and learn to use loops and control structures. The mouse and keyboard handling is pretty easy to get a grasp on too. The only drawback is it isn’t interactive. If she needs that, I would recommend going for turtle (which makes a nice precursor for scheme and lisp).

  10. MapPoint says:

    The other item you should consider is making it clear on your Home Page who in the heck you are.. I assume your name contains a "Shish" though whether that is your first, last, or only name (like Cher), is not immediately obvious.



  11. HoloShock says:

    I am just starting out in programming, and was wondering if any of you knows of a good programming language that good to start out in. I was also wondering if any of you knows any good tutorials for beginners?


  12. S h i S h says:

    For all those who asked: Ive decided on introducing my daughter to Visual Basic 2005 Express Edition. This is a free download from

  13. Eric Engler says:

    You need to do some research on Logo. This is a graphical language designed to teach programming to kids. Math professors also love it.

    This is an especially good version of Logo that is used in many Elementary schools:

    Trust me on this – it teaches simple logic without getting too detailed into syntax and other complicated things. It’s very easy for kids in Elementary school to learn. It’s almost as much fun as playing a game. I got my son interested in this by telling him that HE can invent a game and make up his own rules.


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