Python is a high-level coding language used every day by companies such as Netflix and Google. As a result, it's a great real-world programming language for more advanced students to learn. So today we're going to reveal the best way to learn Python for kids.
In this post, you'll find out how to learn Python at a young age in order to have fun and prepare for a successful career! Read on to see where you can learn Python and how to start. Plus, enjoy some awesome tutorials, and resources and guides that you should know to maximize your child's Python adventure. You can even get started right away with the best Python classes for kids.
Discover the best way to learn Python for kids
For your convenience, we have pulled together some of the best resources for learning Python in one place. But first we'll reveal some answers to common questions beginner programmers ask about Python, from the best age to start learning Python to how it differs from other programming languages.
1. What is Python?
Python is a high-level, interpreted, object-oriented programming language. Translated into non-CS-speak, Python is a user-friendly language which allows coders to quickly create and run powerful code.
It’s a great language for beginners and professionals alike, and it’s commonly cited as one of the top languages to learn. In the last several years, Python has also become one of the most popular languages, eclipsing major coding staples like C++ and Java.
2. How is Python different from other coding languages?
One of the major ways Python diverges from other coding languages is that it is easier for a human to read and use. Python syntax is very close to English, which makes the code significantly more comprehensible to the average viewer than a language like C++.
Python is also not compiled by the programmer, meaning that the programmer does not have to take additional steps to run the program and can focus on the code itself.
Another major draw of Python is its huge collection of modules. Python modules contain code written by others that can be imported into and used in your own projects. Thus, Python serves as not only a coding language, but an access point to thousands of useful functions and analytical tools. These modules are a large part of the reason why Python is so popular among software developers, data scientists, and amateur coders.
Use emojis in Python with the emoji module, draw with the turtle module, solve complex mathematical problems with math or numpy modules, or explore the many other modules that Python has to offer.
3. Is Python easy to learn? Is Python a good language for a beginner?
Python is considered a high-level programming language. Which practically means that a Python user does not have to think as much about how the code will run behind the scenes.
Thus, a lot of the challenge of lower-level programming languages is removed, and the coder can focus only on what they want their code to accomplish. Additionally, because Python’s syntax is close to English language syntax, English speakers may find it easier to understand. For these reasons, Python is a great language for a beginner coder to learn.
For a beginner coder, there are lots of access points for Python. A lot of students find early success in using Python’s turtle module, which allows users to draw and create animations.
4. What is the right age to learn Python? Is it a good language for kids?
Generally, we find students who are ages 10 and above tend to succeed in learning Python. Previous experience with coding (such as Scratch) and ability to touch type are also important factors in a student’s success. Because Python is a more advanced programming language, it is important that a child is comfortable with basic math concepts before taking on a Python class.
Python is a great language for kids as it is both commonly used at all skills levels and can serve as a jumping off point for other written languages. That's why Create & Learn offers a full sequence of Python classes geared specifically for middle schoolers.
5. What should I learn before I learn Python?
For younger students, especially, it is advisable to start learning Python after developing some other coding fluency. We recommend Scratch coding, as it teaches students fundamental programming concepts which transfer well into Python, but any experience writing or using code will be helpful. Your child should also know how to type and use essential computer programs and tools (browsers like Firefox or Chrome, copy/paste, etc.)
6. How is Python used in the real world?
Python is an incredibly versatile language, appearing in virtually every field and industry: data science, software and game development, artificial intelligence, and many others. Because of its ease of use and extensive libraries of code, Python is great for both novice and expert coding projects. Students often enjoy using Python to build animations and games.
Here’s our Python animation tutorial, which teaches you how to draw in Python!
7. Is Python free?
Yes, Python is free, as are the majority of common tools used to run it (see below).
8. What technology tools does my child need to start coding in Python?
We recommend using a computer to code in Python, as opposed to a tablet or phone. The layout and development of Python code are much easier to accomplish with a full keyboard, and most of the commonly used Python tools are more effectively accessed through a computer (also, most apps are not free).
Additionally, most Python programmers choose to use an Interactive Development Environment, or IDE. IDEs allow coders to write and execute programs in the same window, and often include helpful features like color-coding code and debugging tools. For students, trinket is a great IDE because it is online and thus easily accessible and shareable.
9. How do I start learning Python for kids?
Learn Python with Create & Learn! You can get started with a free award-winning introductory virtual free Python class to build foundational Python skills, create fun projects, and set yourself up for coding success in high school and beyond. Or explore all of our coding for teens options.
10. What is the best way to learn Python for beginners?
The best way to learn Python for beginners is through live online classes. Why? The answer is simple. It is because everything your child needs is in one place and it is found on your child’s computer screen: learning materials, coding environment, and the teacher. With all three being in one spot, your student will excel. Online classes offer instant gratification, and help students progress quickly.
Simple steps to learning Python
Let's get started with a few simple steps you can take to begin getting your student some Python experience. A great starting place is tutorials! Whether you watch them on a YouTube video or access them from a pdf file, tutorials are handy as your child starts to learn Python.
1. Choose an easy-to-use coding environment
Consider signing up for a free easy to use web-based coding environment such as the ones provided on Trinket or Codecademy. Both platforms provide hands-on tutorials and a coding environment with instant gratification.
2. Try as you learn
For the beginners that prefer a simple, no-sign up method of learning Python, a very insightful way to learn Python’s syntax is W3schools. W3Schools has been around for decades, and it is especially known for its short explanation about everything there is to know about Python, followed by a “try it yourself” – a built in coding environment that is simple and easy to use. The idea is to explain each concept as quickly as possible, and to encourage readers to practice is immediately.
Discover fun free Python tutorials to learn Python for kids
Tutorials are helpful because they work! A credible tutorial enables beginners to get familiarized with the material they are interested in pursuing. Besides, tutorials make learning more fun! Enjoy some carefully selected Python tutorials – they are enjoyable and interactive.
1. The Python Turtle Tutorial
In this 10 minute YouTube tutorial, kids will get straight to the point: get a turtle to draw colorful pictures. This tutorial was created with first level Python coders in mind, and it is as easy as it sounds. Kids will be guided, step by step, on how they can create a Python project full of colorful designs. In this tutorial, students will discover how powerful Python as a programming language really is, but also how useful it is for Graphic Design.
2. The Robo Chat/Chat Bot
A great way for kids to understand how self-served chat bots work on certain websites, is to create one on their own! The basic chatbot requires a few lines of code, and it is a great way to introduce Python as a coding language, to those who are just getting started.
3. Stick Figure
Here is another fun and simple tutorial for kids: drawing a stick figure with a chosen sprite. All there is to do is pick a background and a character that will draw a Stick Figure using Python code. The step-by-step instructions can be found here to build their first animation.
Sites like code.org and Advent of Code have lots of projects that will help you develop and hone your Python skills. Projects are leveled so you can choose one that fits your child’s current skill level and set of interests.
Explore the best Python resources
Luckily there is plenty material found on the Internet for those students who wish to explore Python on their own. Whether your student is looking to read about Python with a book at hand, or prefers to do the reading online, here we'll share some of the best resources to learn Python programming for beginners of all ages.
- Python's official website: The Python website has a beginner's guide for non-programmers that is very helpful. It's a useful first step to get on your way writing programs with Python!
- Khan Academy on Youtube: Khan Academy’s Python course, now listed on Youtube rather than its original location, does a great job breaking apart Python concepts and going through example code.
- Raspberry Pi Code Club: Raspberry Pi Code Club takes your students through multiple modules that drill down on specific Python skills. Using an embedded code IDE (Trinket.io), your students can code along with the instructions.
Great Python books for kids
Text-based Python code can look intimidating for beginners at a first glance but your child’s preferred way to learn is by reading books. Consider more kid-friendly books such as books like Python for Kids by Christian Morrison, or Python for Kids by Jason Briggs. In Jason Briggs' book, 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. Both books have plenty of images and are neatly organized in the way to capture and hold your kids' attention.
Awesome Python programs
There are also online programs for practice. For example, Codester.com offers a great 18-step tutorial to get the students more familiarized with how they can build a simple program with Python.
Your child can practice Python syntax on a free, web-based coding editor through O’Reilly, an IT focused online learning source used by students all over the world. Or you can also explore tons of fun Python exercises for kids to keep building their skills.
And Khan Academy and W3Schools both provide lots of excellent videos and tutorials on Python concepts. Both sites are great to use as references while coding, and are also helpful if you want concept or syntax refreshers.
Explore the best Python classes
There are also Python for kids classes, including a free introduction lesson. Most online courses are successful because they teach a small group of students, which enables teachers to get to answer every questions a student may ask as they learn along. Here are some of the best Python classes for kids:
- Python for AI: Free Intro: This class is taught by an experienced teacher in a classroom of 5 or less students, which makes it very ideal for your child to learn how to code with Python in less than one hour!
- Python for AI - Unit 1: This is the first unit of our Python for kids coding course, we start to learn core concepts of Python syntax, loop, data types, variables, and a lot more.
- Python for AI - Unit 2: We will explore more advanced programing elements of Python such as dictionaries and files, and learn how to employ Python’s powerful modules to build games, stories and real-world data projects.
- Python for AI - Unit 3: Students will be introduced to object-oriented programming, and learn how to use Python classes and objects to complete more complex games and applications.
There are also self-guided recorded classes for Python on Udemy, for those who have lots of motivation and anticipate having few questions.
Now you know the best way to learn Python for kids
We have shared all the important resources such as free online classes, tutorials, Internet-based reading materials and books, and are confident that now you know the best way to learn Python for kids as you get ready to make a sound decision for your little one. Get started with a free Python intro course or join other free coding classes for kids!
Written by Sandra Dizdarevic, a Create & Learn instructor with 6 years of experience teaching STEM to children in the 3rd through 11th grade. She has an Undergraduate as well as a Masters Degree in Management Information Systems from UNO.