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Ask Slashdot: Best Book Or Game To Introduce Kids To Programming? 246

New submitter connorblack writes "My very gifted nephew is about to turn nine this month and I would love to get him some sort of fun, engaging book or game to introduce him to the basic concepts of programming. I have a feeling if approached correctly he would absolutely devour the subject (he is already working through mathematics at an 8th grade level). What I first was looking at were the Lego Mindstorm programmable robots- which would have been perfect, if only they weren't around 300 dollars... So if there's anything similar (or completely new!) you've either heard praise about or used yourself with your kids, it would be great to get a recommendation. Also if possible I would want to stick to an under 100 dollar budget." Would a nine year old be able to follow The Little Schemer?
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Ask Slashdot: Best Book Or Game To Introduce Kids To Programming?

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  • $300 is a bargain (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2012 @09:59PM (#41665225)

    Isn't your nephew's future worth the price of a couple days at Disneyland?

  • Adventure games!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ryanw ( 131814 ) on Monday October 15, 2012 @10:26PM (#41665401)

    I seriously attribute my love for adventure games to help me refine my troubleshooting skills and drive to "find the answer".

    I believe that it's troubleshooting and the drive to find the answer that makes someone stand out in the work place, whether it's programming or anything else.

    I played a lot of Kings Quest, The Secret of Monkey Island, Space Quest, Myst, etc.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 16, 2012 @12:30AM (#41665971)

    As someone who's been into programming since grade 4 (good lord.... 28 years), I can't THINK of anything larger in scope than programming in terms of any of the things you mention:

    Programming teaches logic, patience, critical thinking, planning, and attention to detail.Programming teaches you to examine any given topic (whatever you're most into) in a systematic, rigorous way. It teaches you to look at how any given thing works and to try to analyze it and break it down into understandable components.

    Programming encourages an interest in math, the sciences generally, and boosts self confidence.

    And all of that is just personal growth.

    In terms of career, it's a marvelous business for entrepreneurship: almost no start-up cost, distribution cost, etc.: If you're smart, capable, and interested in the world there's no end of business opportunities. And if entrepreneurship isn't your thing, there's no end of jobs for well-paid self directed work as a programmer. And because it can be done essentially from anywhere and at any time (I work nights so as to spend time with my family, and can work small amounts while we're vacationing to pay for expenses), it provides amazing flexibility to engage in other aspects of life, to travel, to explore other interests, etc.

    It's true that it's getting easier for anyone to program, and that there are more tools out there to help people who don't really know anything about programming do things programmatically. Neither of these things is going to decrease the need for capable programmers.

    I could go on.... but I've got programming to do!

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.