Since my son started going to school, I've been noticing a very serious lack of organizations to encourage kids to program or at least letting them know how to get involved in programming. Are there any groups that you know of to help kids out this area?? And I'm not referring to tools to help kids learn, I'm referring to groups that will help in getting kids interested in programming.

Here are a few that I know of:

Are there anymore out there? And are there any that work at the elementary - high school levels?? Also are there any other parents that have noticed the same thing, or is this local to my area??

Edit: Also I'm looking for groups that encourage kids who don't have programmers for parents. I've got no problem teaching my own son, I'm more worried about the other kids.

closed as not constructive by gnat, Kilian Foth, thorsten müller, Bart van Ingen Schenau, user40980 Apr 16 '13 at 14:55

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  • How old is he and the group? I find programming is often introduced very late if at all. – Orbling Feb 13 '11 at 1:41
  • There is Google's Summer of Code that Google holds once a year so students can interact with a mentor on real projects (from my understanding). – dboss Feb 13 '11 at 14:26
  • Bootstrap teaches game programming through Lisp to middle school children. – aufather Feb 13 '11 at 14:34
  • He's ten and in elementary school. The only thing I'm seeing for his age group is the Lego First Robotics. I was just wondering if there was anything else out there. – mwgriffith Feb 14 '11 at 21:02

Wouldn't you be the one to encourage programming/problem solving at an early age?

Also, AFAIK Dreamspark is just a "Free Software" program by Microsoft for students. It's not a group encouraging programming, per se, except that it does encourage use of the tools so perhaps in a passive sense.

Lego First Robotics would be appropriate for a child at the middle-school level, or maybe even at an advanced-elementary level.

Imagine Cup is basically for highly motivated high-school students and above.


I'm going to update my answer to reflect some organizations I had forgotten about. Many corporations are heavily invested in having parallel programming and many-core chips pay off, so they need to train the next-generation of students (and future employees) in (specifically) parallel programming techniques to get them thinking in parallel terms rather than purely sequential. In that regard, here are some programs and organizations I know of at the high school and college level:

I'll add more as I remember...

  • From Dreamsparks FAQ - "You must use the tools and software you download from DreamSpark in pursuit of increasing your education, skills, and knowledge in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or design." (dreamspark.com/FAQ/Default.aspx?i=gen#) – Jetti Feb 12 '11 at 21:02
  • @Jetti You are missing the key question. The OP is asking for an organization of people that encourages kids. Dreamsparks is basically Microsoft just giving students development software. – user7007 Feb 12 '11 at 21:11
  • @Glenn Nelson - With products like Small Basic and Kodu Game Lab it looks like they have products targeted to get kids interested in game development. – Jetti Feb 12 '11 at 21:14
  • @Jetti "And I'm not referring to tools" -- The OP is clearly looking for communities/groups not dev tools. – user7007 Feb 12 '11 at 22:01
  • @Glenn Nelson - I missed that part! – Jetti Feb 12 '11 at 22:02

There is the International Olympiad in Informatics which is for high-school kids and hosted every year. There was an article in Wired about it and it was talking about how the kids are only allowed to use C, C++ or Pascal. But anyways, that is really all I know of that is targeted for kids. You could always say TopCoder but that would be cheating since it doesn't specifically target kids! :)

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