Support for parents
We are pleased to see many more families visiting The National Museum of Computing on Bletchley Park. Children of all ages often enjoy their first taste of programming in the Museum classroom on our great collection of Acorn BBC computers.
But many parents ask us: "what next?". How can their child carry on exploring coding a computer once they are back at home? We want to help parents by signposting some useful resources that we think young people will enjoy using and finding out more about the computer, and especially programming or coding.
Many of these resources are free and are being used by young people across the world who are learning to code. Most are online resources, accessible through the web, that usually only require you to register to use.
The National Museum of Computing cannot accept responsibility for the content of the websites signposted here and we would always recommend that parents supervise their child's use of these online resources. The approaches you will find are very different and several might need to be experienced before finding something that suits your child.
Interested in helping us provide a coding experience for visiting young people? Click Codability to find out more.
Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art and share your creations on the web. Scratch is best suited to younger children typically of primary school age or lower secondary.
Scratch is used in many UK primary schools and has been developed in the USA by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, with financial support from the National Science Foundation, Microsoft, Intel Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Google, Iomega and MIT Media Lab research consortia.
Codeacademy is best used by older children, typically of secondary school age and above.
YOUSRC is fervently child-safe and family-friendly online product using the learning-language ELC which is engineered to encourage a simple programming style. This not only makes writing code easy, but it also means that the code can be easily read by others who are learning to program.
YOUSRC is aimed mostly at children of secondary school age.
Microsoft Small Basic puts the fun back into computer programming. With a friendly development environment that is very easy to master, it eases students of all ages into the world of programming.
Microsoft Kodu lets kids create games on the PC and XBox via a simple visual programming language. Kodu can be used to teach creativity, problem solving, storytelling, as well as programming. Anyone can use Kodu to make a game, young children as well as adults with no design or programming skills.
At w3schools.com you will learn how to make a website. They offer free tutorials in all web development technologies.
Best suited for young people of secondary age and above.
Codea for iPad lets you create games and simulations — or just about any visual idea you have. Turn your thoughts into interactive creations that make use of iPad features like Multi-Touch and the accelerometer.
Codea is not free and can be purchased from the Apps Store.
Python is a general-purpose, high-level programming language whose design philosophy emphasizes code readability. It is best suited to secondary school students and above.
Whether you are an experienced programmer or not, the Learn Python website is intended for everyone who wishes to learn the Python programming language.
Have fun and make games, or hack your homework using kidsruby. Just tell your parents or teachers you're learning Ruby programming ... ;)
Mozilla Webmaker Mozilla Webmaker wants to help you make something amazing with the web. We’ve got new tools for you to use, projects to help you get started, and a global community of creators — educators, filmmakers, journalists, developers, youth — all making and learning together.
Using SIMPLE there's something for you to do with your Windows computer besides just blasting space aliens, checking your email, and surfing the Internet. Now you can experience the fun and excitement of being able to create your very own computer programs!
Greenfoot teaches object orientation with Java. Create 'actors' which live in 'worlds' to build games, simulations, and other graphical programs. Greenfoot is visual and interactive. Visualisation and interaction tools are built into the environment.
MIT App Inventor
Creating an App Inventor App begins in your browser where you design how the app will look. Then, like fitting together puzzle pieces, you set your app’s behavior. All the while, through a live connection between your computer and your phone, your app appears on your phone.
A nationwide network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs for children aged 9-11 Ask your child's school if they are thinking of joining Code Club
BeebEm is a BBC Micro and Master 128 emulator. It enables you to run BBC Micro software on your PC.
The Raspberry Pi
The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does: like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. We want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming.
The FIGnition is a simple, educational computer, but a real one, not an emulator. It has real firmware, real RAM, really generates a display and really has storage for when you turn the machine off. FIGnition Rève is the definitive £20 educational DIY computer! It works like an 8-bit home Micro: outputting to composite video and ready to be interactively programmed from the moment you switch it on.
Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It's intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.