Teaching Children to Program

I was playing Robozzle with my oldest and he was having a blast and loved that he was programming like Dad does.  (He did let me know he wants to be policeman though. :)  It’s a fun way to introduce kids to programming and reminds me a little of the little logo turtle. 

I didn’t start out programming that way – I got into programming because my Dad was too busy to start the games I wanted to play on a computer.  Funny how one things leads to another – I ended up learning how to start the games, then I wanted more games which meant I had to program them from books (basic on the TI, don’t remember the other languages).  And eventually we learned how to make the computer do stuff (little Tron games on an apple IIe that my Grandpa had, that kind of thing).  We had a lot of fun with it, and I was way ahead when I took my first programming class – so much so that I finished very early and spent the time playing various computer games (full circle :).  So I’m a big believer in teaching kids skills through games (more fun for you, too).

What games have you found that do this for programming?  What really easy programming experiences are out there?  I would love to hear what you’ve found, and recommend that you give Robozzle a try (and contribute more easy puzzles so kids have more puzzles before things get too tricky).