Programming Environments for Kids

It's hard keeping track of the many kids programming environments that come and go, many I looked at seem to be 'withering' with limited support or usage.
I'd recommend going with something mainstream so there will be lot of support from the community.
3 - 7 None Scratch (with help), course 1
7 - 9 None Scratch, Kudo, eToys, course 2
10 - 14 None or little Scratch, Kudo, eToys, SmallBasic, LEGO Mindstorms, Khan Academy JavaScript Course, course 2
10 - 14 Some Squeak, Python, LEGO Mindstorms, accelerated course.
14 - 17 None or little Python, LEGO Mindstorms
14 - 17 Some (and keen) Most programming languages, many kids this age want to learn C++, also consider Ardiuno which is a family of tiny computers that can be connected to a wide range of hardware to make practical projects.
18 + None assumed, non-CS course I'd recommend Python as a good general purpose language.
18 + Starting computer science course

Get a grounding in something conventional, say Python,
but also look at others such as Haskell, Scheme, Clojure.



Free, cross platform and also Web browser version.

Good starting environment especially for younger children, I would estimate most kids 8-9 years old could start and probably smart 7 year olds.

Programming is all drag-n-drop but has a reasonable set of control structures (loops, ifs) and a good event based model.

The newer releases can run entirely in a web browser which is great as there's nothing to download, nothing to setup.


Free, Windows only.

Created in 2008, a simple Basic environment for .NET, I tried it very briefly when it first came out and was a little disappointed, however its been improved since then and they've put a lot of work into it.

One great feature is that once the kids have outgrown SmallBasic they can take their project and upgrade it and then take it further with the full VisualBasic.NET environment (the Express edition is free too).

Microsoft also has some great beginning programming videos and tutorials, overall highly recommended.

GameMakerNot strictly targeted at kids but I think it would make a good next step after Scratch. 
Again no hand-writing of scripts its all drag-n-drop and dialogs but much more fully featured than Scratch (and hence more complicated).

Microsoft Research visual coding environment, my 9 year old enjoyed using this.  

Emphasizes the fun aspect, runs on Windows and XBox and is free. runs the now famous "Hour of Code" and have done more than anyone to promote programming for kids.

They have over 20 hours of course material, carefully divided up with recommended ages.