short programming projects for kids

Adrian Casey news at
Mon Jan 24 13:06:13 CET 2005

André Roberge wrote:

> bobdc wrote:
>> I will be teaching an "Introduction to Programming" class to some
>> middle school aged children and will be using Python, obviously. Does
>> anyone have suggestions for simple little programs to create and
>> analyze with them after I get past turtle graphics?
>> Turtle graphics will be plenty for the first session, and I will leave
>> time to ask them what they'd like to do in later sessions, but I was
>> curious if anyone on the list has experience picking pedagogical
>> programming examples appropriate for twelve-year-olds' attention spans.
>> thanks,
>> Bob
> While it is not python per se, I suggest you have a look at GvR
> (Guido van Robot) (The app is written in Python but is too complicated
> for beginners).  It is hosted on sourceforge (
> It is a very interesting way (imho) to learn about programming, in
> a pythonic way.
> (somewhat shameless plug follows:)
> A 'more advanced version' of GvR which uses the full Python syntax
> is RUR-PLE  (  The version currently hosted
> there does NOT work under Linux (untested on Mac).
> It uses wxPython 2.4 and will not work with 2.5.
> An updated release that will work under both Linux and Windows,
> and under both wxPython 2.4 and 2.5 will come out very soon, I hope.
> I'm working on it :-)  I have two kids (ages 11 and 13) and plan to use
> rur-ple to teach them about programming.   Note that, even though
> I plan it to be suitable for motivated children (with some guidance),
> the end product (to be finished in a year?) is planned to be suitable
> for a complete first-year university computer science.
> Andre Roberge

I started teaching my 11 year old first of all by doing silly stuff like -:
for i in range(10):
        print "Silly me!"

Moving on to more useful stuff like times tables (which they have to learn

After times tables, I plan to work on a simple number guessing game where
the computer picks a random number between 1 and 100 and asks the user to
take a guess.  This will help demonstrate many basic programming concepts.

Not sure how to introduce graphics though as so much is relatively abstract.


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