Oct 11

Isla, a programming language for young children

Isla is an object-oriented programming language developed by Mary Rose Cook and aimed specifically at young children. I had a quick go at it and the intuitiveness and “niceness” of the language made me smile! I’m not sure how complex a program you can write with Isla, but it’s definitely a great starter for kids who are just learning to write.

Go to the Isla website!

Aug 20

JavaScript for Cats

We all know the internet was invented for the sole purpose of sharing funny images and videos of cats, right? So it’s about time our furry friends (and perhaps their humans, too) learn a little bit about coding. JavaScript for Cats introduces the basic concepts of JavaScript with some simple examples and good explanations. And cat jokes, of course.

It’s easy to code along to the tutorial, as it simply use the Google Chrome browser’s JavaScript console. The site is in its early stages and currently contains only the very basics of JS, but it looks very promising, and there are a few links to other great JS resources at the bottom.

Go to “JavaScript for Cats”

Aug 02

Android App Inventor

The new App Inventor by MIT uses the same building block principle for developing Android apps as their older, and very popular, sister Scratch by MIT. They say:

App Inventor lets you develop applications for Android phones using a web browser and either a connected phone or emulator. The App Inventor servers store your work and help you keep track of your projects.

I haven’t tried it myself, but it looks like a great way for younger kids to develop and test simple mobile apps without much hassle!

Go to MIT App Inventor.

Jul 24

Pugly Pixel

Pugly Pixel is a blog with many Photoshop, CSS, and HTML tutorials, run by Katrina who’s a compsci graduate and a little bit fanatic about gorgeous design paired with some fancy tech tricks. The tutorials and magazine-style designs are insanely beautiful, and the instructions are really good. For anyone getting started with HTML & CSS (e.g. if you’re running your own WordPress blog), Pugly Pixel will be inspirational and useful. Learn while your heart is melting!

Go to Pugly Pixel!

Jul 14

Computer Science 4 Fun (CS4FN)

CS4FN is a magazine for kids that covers the fun side of computing – games, puzzles, mazes… You can read the articles online or  order free copies  of the printed magazine. They also have a special issue titled “The Women Are Here” on girls in computer science!

Go to Computer Science 4 Fun

Jul 14

Kid’s Ruby

Kids Ruby is basically the newer version of Hackety Hack, with a few more lessons and instructions on how to build games using Ruby.

Go to Kids Ruby!

Jul 14


Hackety Hack is software that helps you build Ruby applications. The 4 lessons walk you through the first steps of Ruby, while also teaching you how to build graphical user interfaces (GUIs) using the “Shoes” toolkit. Unfortunately, the lessons are quite short, but Hackety Hack is definitely great for getting started with Ruby. Works best on a Mac, might not work too well on Windows.

Go to Hackety Hack

Check out Kids Ruby, which is a newer tool built on Hackety Hack

Jul 14

Code Avengers

Code Avengers is quite similar to the popular Codecademy: You learn how to write JavaScript code in your browsers through a series of lessons. There’s also games and quizzes to test your knowledge, and it looks a bit funkier than Codecademy. Not sure whether “There’s loads of money to be made with coding” is the right way to convince kids to start coding, but apart from that, Code Avengers is good fun!

Go to Code Avengers

Jul 14

Quest – Text adventure games

“Quest lets you make interactive story games – you can make text adventure games (like Zork, or The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and gamebooks (like the Choose Your Own Adventure books).” Doesn’t require any coding, but can be used with scripts. Text adventures games are great fun and a fantastic way to learn how to code.

Go to Quest

Jul 14

Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby

An online book teaching you to write Ruby code using cartoon foxes, cute drawings, and bizarre dialogues – great fun and very good explanations. You will have to set up your computer to use Ruby before getting started. Maybe most suitable if you already know bits of code and just want to learn Ruby as a second or third language.

Go to Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby

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