Python for Kids
A Playful Introduction to Programming
Publisher: No Starch Press
Released: November 2012
Pages: 344

For Kids Aged 10+ (And Their Parents)

The code in this book runs on almost anything: Windows, Mac, Linux, even an OLPC laptop or Raspberry Pi!

Python is a powerful, expressive programming language that's easy to learn and fun to use! But books about learning to program in Python can be kind of dull, gray, and boring, and that's no fun for anyone.

Python for Kids brings Python to life and brings you (and your parents) into the world of programming. The ever-patient Jason R. Briggs will guide you through the basics as you experiment with unique (and often hilarious) example programs that feature ravenous monsters, secret agents, thieving ravens, and more. New terms are defined; code is colored, dissected, and explained; and quirky, full-color illustrations keep things on the lighter side.

Chapters end with programming puzzles designed to stretch your brain and strengthen your understanding. By the end of the book you'll have programmed two complete games: a clone of the famous Pong and "Mr. Stick Man Races for the Exit"—a platform game with jumps, animation, and much more.

As you strike out on your programming adventure, you'll learn how to:

  • Use fundamental data structures like lists, tuples, and maps
  • Organize and reuse your code with functions and modules
  • Use control structures like loops and conditional statements
  • Draw shapes and patterns with Python's turtle module
  • Create games, animations, and other graphical wonders with tkinter

Why should serious adults have all the fun? Python for Kids is your ticket into the amazing world of computer programming.

Table of Contents
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About the Author
Recommended for You
Customer Reviews

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oreillyPython for Kids
 
4.5

(based on 10 reviews)

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100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to understand (9)
  • Helpful examples (9)
  • Accurate (6)
  • Concise (6)
  • Well-written (5)

Cons

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    • Student (8)
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    Reviewed by 10 customers

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    5.0

    My daughter loves it

    By Doug

    from Chicago, IL

    About Me Developer, Maker

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples
    • Well-written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Novice
      • Student

      Comments about oreilly Python for Kids:

      When my seven-year old daughter told me that she wanted to start learning to program, I began searching for a book that would appropriate for her age. This book has been perfect; she's having a great time. It is well written and accessible to her. The exercises are fun and of an appropriate level of complexity. This is a great introduction to programming for kids.

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Good resource for children

      By Tony

      from Chicago

      About Me Developer

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Accurate
      • Concise
      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples
      • Well-written

      Cons

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        • Novice
        • Student

        Comments about oreilly Python for Kids:

        I used this book over the summer as a summer learning project with my 12 year old. It was an excellent way to introduce him to programming which I also supplemented with my own exercises. And a fun way to have time with your children!

        (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        For kids and for adults

        By LabRat

        from Tampa, Florida

        About Me Lab Analyst

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Accurate
        • Colorful Attractive
        • Concise
        • Easy to understand
        • Helpful examples
        • Well-written

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Novice
          • Student

          Comments about oreilly Python for Kids:

          This is a great book to start learning about programing. The author leaves out all the technical verbage and explains things in simple terms.
          The best way to understand a complicated subject is to start from the begining (the basics). You can consider this book the very begining. After reading this book I was able to quickly understand other advanced Python programing books.

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Not just for kids

          By MrJavaMan

          from Diamondhead, MS

          About Me Developer, Sys Admin

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Easy to understand

          Cons

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            • Novice

            Comments about oreilly Python for Kids:

            When the I saw the title "Python for Kids" I was a bit intrigued by the concept of this book. How does one introduce a programming language to kids without scaring them away from the topic altogether. The answer is, "keep it simple." The author presents the material in a light and humerus way so as not overwhelm the reader. Each chapter is followed by a few simple exercises to reinforce what has been read. Also, the author completes the book by guiding the reader through the steps of creating graphics and games in the python language.

            I would recommend this book to children and adults who are interested in learning programming as an easy way to get started and not be completely overwhelmed with the underlying theories of computer programming.

            (2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            Programming for Kids

            By MH

            from Shaker Hts, OH

            Verified Reviewer

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              Comments about oreilly Python for Kids:

              Computer programming entails a human instructing a computer to carry out several specific tasks in a certain sequence. Providing the computer with this list of sequenced instructions requires writing a program in a highly structured programming language – a task that is not always intuitive. Hence books on computer programming tend to make for dry reading. Most people learn programming by typing and debugging their code.

              Introducing children to programming will develop their skills to think logically, troubleshoot electronic devices as well as computer programs, and provide them more options to automate routine tasks. One way to start is with Python (a freeware programming language that is very similar to basic), and a programming book. Python for Kids starts off with the basics of programming and goes through object oriented programming explaining variables, data structures, arrays, conditionals, loops, subroutines, graphics interface, and morphing.

              While the layout and examples are well-suited for younger readers, the text follows a more traditional programming book. Hence it is suitable as a classroom text or best supplemented with parental/programmer guidance if used outside a class setting.

              I recieved this book as a review copy.

              (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              Great examples! Easy to teach!

              By kwtech

              from Philadelphia, PA

              About Me Developer, Educator

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Accurate
              • Concise
              • Easy to understand
              • Helpful examples
              • Well-written

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                • Novice
                • Student

                Comments about oreilly Python for Kids:

                I needed a book to teach kids how to program. I've found free resources on the internet, but not being a Python developer, I had trouble putting it together in lesson format. Also, the free resouces had plenty of errors! This book makes it easy to do teach from. Even a Java developer can teach Python with this book! The instructional programs keep the children's interest.

                (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Great book for 8-12 year olds

                By sandyboy55

                from St Louis, MO

                About Me Developer

                Verified Reviewer

                Pros

                • Accurate
                • Concise
                • Easy to understand
                • Helpful examples
                • Well-written

                Cons

                • Too basic

                Best Uses

                • Novice

                Comments about oreilly Python for Kids:

                I highly recommend this book for your 8-12 year olds (or other grownups who have an interest in learning programming). This book makes it dead simple by going over installation, basics of Python, and moving over to interesting things like graphics and building games with animations.

                The font is pretty kid friendly and the graphics used throughout the book will make sure your kids are not intimidated by the programming fears. The companion website makes it easy to grab all the examples in the book in addition to more programming puzzles. I have a 7-yr old who is grasping this book slowly. That's why I feel this book is suitable more for 8 year olds. However, it all depends on your child and your 5-year old may be able to pick it up as well.

                Overall, the contents of the book are great and engrossing.

                (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                Great for Beginners or Kids

                By hfb

                from Nashua, NH

                About Me Engineer

                Verified Reviewer

                Pros

                • Easy to understand
                • Helpful examples

                Cons

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                  • Novice
                  • Student

                  Comments about oreilly Python for Kids:

                  For those looking for a good introduction to Python, whether it be for yourself or your kids, I would highly recommend this. It's easy enough for beginners to pick up easily and although it's tailored towards kids, adults can learn just as much from it.
                  It goes from installing what you need to run Python to programming up a simple game. It's interesting enough to keep kids going and wanting to learn more.
                  For a beginning programmer, this is a great way to get started by learning a nice language that's used in all sorts of fields now. I would definitely recommend it.

                  Disclaimer: This book was received as part of the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program. All comments represent my thoughts and opinions.

                  (13 of 13 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Python and games development for kids

                  By mko

                  from Poland

                  Verified Reviewer

                  Pros

                  • Accurate
                  • Concise
                  • Easy to understand
                  • Helpful examples

                  Cons

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                    • Student

                    Comments about oreilly Python for Kids:

                    It's hard to say how should you teach kids programming. This is not an easy topic. Jason tries to make the subject as simple as possible, but this is really not that easy if you start looking at details. However, Jason makes his best and makes it really good, to give you plain and straightforward explanation of Python. First of all he tells you how to install and configure programming environment. And for thous, who have never ever developed in the past, configuring Python may not be that straightforward. After you are ready to go, author takes you on the journey through the set of most basic constructs of the language. You will learn concepts of variables, classes, objects. You will get familiar with arrays, maps and constructs that let you create conditions and loops within the application. It would be fair to say, that half of the book is filled with these simple foundations of the development process. After all the basics are laid out you will be told how to use graphics in applications. How to combine the code and pictures and make them work for you. Do you recall famous LOGO? Yes, this "turtle like" computing language! You will find it here as well with all it's simplicity. But this time, you are getting it in Python flavor.

                    After you have learned all the basics it's time to do some serious stuff. Jason guides you through the game development process by showing how to create simple games. What's really cool here is the fact you really do something. You will create simple games that do something. And this is the place where simple, boring "Hello world" strings are taken over by moving objects and graphics. If you have read carefully first part of the book you should be able to follow second part and be able to develop discussed games. Just one remark here. As reading first part of the book is rather easy, the leap between simple constructs and games is quite big. It may turn out that you will slow down with your reading and will have to focus more, but still you should be able to follow what author has to offer.

                    Last thing to discuss here is the definition of "kid". This book requires your kid to be able to read and to understand some basic concepts of mathematics like addition, multiplication, angles, length, width, measurement, etc. It's hard to judge, but in my opinion there is no point of buying this book unless your kid is 9-12 years old. Well, in fact, in case you have really smart kid, you can buy the book sooner.

                    Anyway. If you think about pushing your kid towards programming, buy this book together with Raspberry PI and you are ready to go :)

                    The only drawback of the book are the missing sample codes. According to the information in the book, you should be able to find samples at the book's page. Well, I couldn't.

                    (8 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    4.0

                    Good Coverage of Key Concepts

                    By Eric Chou

                    from Seattle, WA

                    About Me Network Admin

                    Verified Reviewer

                    Pros

                    • Accurate
                    • Easy to understand
                    • Helpful examples

                    Cons

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                      • Student

                      Comments about oreilly Python for Kids:

                      I came across a postcard bearing this book's title in OSCON 2012 at the No Starch booth. I remember thinking to myself at the time, "I wonder if this is the book I will use to teach my kids how to program in Python". I also wonder how this book is different from other similar titles, say, "Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python". Both books intend to teach young kids how to program, and both are heavily involved with GUI in order to engage interest. Besides open source vs. costing money, this book has longer chapters that takes longer to read and practice. Important factor to consider if you are teaching a kid to program.

                      The biggest difference, however, is that this book teaches 'all' the fundamentals such as functions, class, objects, and some standard libraries, and it is less game-ish (no PyGame). Considering the scope of the topics it tries to teach, I came away very impressed. I thought the author did a great job explaining complex concepts with everyday words.

                      In this book, as you would expect from a intro to programming book for kids:
                      - list one way to do things without going into details of alternative ways.
                      - Lots of analogies for concepts, i.e. "variables are like labels", "think of a string as a collection of letters", "A function is a chunk of code that tells Python to do something", etc.

                      I also wonder what is the right age for a kid to start. Since the book starts by doing simple calculation starting in Chapter 2, I'd say the starting age for the book is whenever the kid is comfortable with simple math, mileage may vary. Since the author stated that he has started to program since the age of eight, maybe that is what he had in mind?

                      A few notes I took while reading:

                      - MacOS X install instruction is a nice touch on using Automator to open up Python IDLE.
                      - I would recommend reading this book in a format with color to take advantage of the illustration.
                      - Author did away from all of dictionary reference to the concept of map. In my opinion, this might create more problem down the line or when reading documentations.
                      - A pretty steep jump from Chapter 3 of built-in variables to Tkinker Turtle GUI program in chapter 4.
                      - Suggestion for Chapter 4: remind the young readers to place the IDLE window and Canvas window right next to each other in order to see the turtle move interactively.
                      - Suggestion for Chapter 7: a more detail step process when first introducing the nested loop in a function since that is the first time the loop and function concepts came together.
                      - Chapter 1 to 8 covered all the programming concepts, starting chapter 9-12 introduces some of the standard libraries, file I/O, etc. Then move on to GUI with Tkinter.
                      - Chapter 12 should be executed under Python 3. In Python 2, the 'T' is capitalized where Python 3 the 'T' is lower case (as illustrated in the book). There are other differences that differs between the two versions, I think.
                      - Starting from Chapter 13 there are examples of game projects, create from start to finish.

                      I would recommend this book for anybody wanting to learn Python programming.

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