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I tried to make him interested, but he got bored very quickly and got back to his iPad games. I want to try again. Any idea how to approach this?

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closed as off-topic by MichaelT, GlenH7, Matthew Flynn, Thomas Owens Jul 11 '13 at 15:53

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Easy: just forbid it like "You're not supposed to do programming before you're 18." –  Ingo Jul 11 '13 at 14:54
@GabiMe, How old is your child? I think your child's age really matters. –  superM Jul 11 '13 at 14:55
My apologies, I meant to dup it to teaching programming to kids (which is duped that that one). –  MichaelT Jul 11 '13 at 14:55
You can lead him to water, but you can't make him drink, I'm afraid. –  pdr Jul 11 '13 at 15:01
"You can stay up as long as you write code, after that it's bed time." –  thorsten müller Jul 11 '13 at 15:03

4 Answers 4

For me, it was robotics. I became interested in programming on my own, but my path from childhood to now was roughly:

  1. Lego/K'Nex
  2. Motors and gears for K'Nex
  3. Remote-controlled motors for K'Nex
  4. Motors and gears for Lego Technic
  5. K'Nex robot with predefined programs
  6. Lego Mindstorms Scout with customizable predefined programs
  7. Lego Mindstorms RCX with "block" programming
  8. Lego Mindstorms RCX with "Not Quite C" programming
  9. Graphing calculator programming in BASIC
  10. Programming classes in high school
  11. Majoring in Computer Engineering

I am now an embedded software engineer.

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Isn't the question about how to make the child interested? You didn't write a word about that. –  Aseem Bansal Jul 11 '13 at 15:47
Its robots... the kid will be interested. –  GrandmasterB Jul 11 '13 at 16:17
@AseemBansal: robots help connect programming to the physical world in a way that is possibly easier for a child to get excited about. –  Jace Browning Jul 11 '13 at 16:47

You can try out Scratch - the Cat by MIT.

It is designed for teaching kids programming. Its very easy to use and due to ease of creation of moving sprites it might be more interesting for kids. Try it out for yourself and then start using it in front of your child.

You want him to get interested in what you like then get interested in what your child likes. Make a game in Scratch. For starters ask him what kind of game he would like? You might have to do some trickery to make sure that he says something that is simple enough so you could do it in little time. Make the game for him. Make him wonder how did you make a game so fast?

That can be your best bet. If kids start wondering how then they start nagging you to tell them how. That's your best bet according to me.

Then you can take a look at this website for variations of Scratch.

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Hard to argue against any advice that leads you to things created at MIT. However, when I open the game I see "turn 15 degrees" on a button. At what age do kids know what "degrees" means? –  Bryan Oakley Jul 11 '13 at 15:56
@BryanOakley If you click it a lot of times(which most kids would do) then the cat turns visibly. "degrees" might not be known to the kid but if anyone(even a kid) clicks it a few times they'll know what's happening. This isn't for preparation for an exam. It's for creating interest. A parent can very easily give a layman definition of degree for the kid. –  Aseem Bansal Jul 11 '13 at 16:01
My 6 year old has no idea what degrees are but she understands that it relates to turning and the number is how much to turn. She's only just started so I'm having to work with her and explain concepts, but she is really proud of what she creates. –  James Snell Jul 11 '13 at 18:53
@JamesSnell Exactly what I was talking about. –  Aseem Bansal Jul 18 '13 at 21:24

Get your child to play light-bot. It teaches programming concepts in a way that I think makes sense to little kids. It's a huckuva lot of fun to play. The goal is to program a robot to do specific tasks. You'll eventually end up creating functions and loops and whatnot.

(I am not affiliated with the company that makes the game, I just happen to like the game)

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For me, it was artificial intelligence. I wanted a better bot. I became interested in programming on my own, but my path from teenager to now was roughly:

  1. Myth II's map editor
  2. StarCraft's custom maps with triggers
  3. Advanced T-Robots, a programming game in pseudo-assembly
  4. Majoring in Computer Engineering

I am now an embedded software engineer.

I honestly don't know how to turn someone into a geek. Especially a programming geek. It takes a certain sort of person. The biggest piece of advice I can give is that you can't force him to program. If you make it a chore, he'll know how to do it, but he won't want to do it. And wanting to programs is vastly more important than knowing what polymorphism is at that age.

Give him some games that give him control. MineCraft comes to mind. Introduce the mods that allow LUA scripting and those programmable turtle things.

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