For big kids age 10 to 14, the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment, MADE, offers a free weekly class in Scratch programming. No prior experience necessary.
What is Scratch and why should I care?
Scratch is a programming environment, created at MIT, and designed for kids to learn programming concepts and have fun at the same time. Beginners can program out of the gate using simple commands and libraries of more complex code blocks along with creatures (“sprites”) that other people have made before them. If I’ve already confused you, just sign your kid up and stop fretting. It runs in your browser: just go to https://scratch.mit.edu. (While Scratch runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, it requires Flash, so it will not run on phones or tablets.)
My 11-year old LOVES it despite being mostly self-taught (and living with a a software engineer dad). The service is designed to help children (ages 8 and up) learn to imagine, reason with common sense, and work with computers.
What is this free programming class?
The MADE class covers a single small game project for kids to make in Scratch. Each Saturday workshop goes step by step through a different project. You can view the games made at previous workshops on the Scratch site.
Cool. Sign up already.
The classes take place at MADE at 3400 Broadway, Oakland, CA on Saturday mornings 10am to 11:30am. Sign up for a video game programming class. The minimum age is 9; parents are welcome to sit in if there is space available. The class is totally FREE but limited to 15 participants.
See more details on their website >.