Kids Coding

Programming in the Small: Kids, Chickens, and Ruby

RubyConf 2016 has given Coraline and me the opportunity to speak about programming with kids again! This time around, we've done a project with the Raspberry Pi and Ruby to watch our chickens.


After several years of programming in Ruby using Shoes, my daughter and I were hunting for a new project. Something more useful than a game. Something with a real-world connection. Then it struck us: Chickens!

Join us as we show you how we built our coop monitoring system. It’ll be a wild ride of hardware hacking, weather-proofing, and father-daughter bonding, with Ruby sprinkled throughout. You’ll learn how to modernize your surroundings, and about engaging the young people in your life in technology along the way.


Programming in the Small: Teaching My 5 Year-old Ruby

Since sometime in 2013, I've been coding with my daughter, Coraline. When we started she was about 5 years old, quite a bit younger than a lot of folks start thinking about coding with their kids. I've found it to be a rewarding experience, though, and if you have young children in your life I'd encourage you to find ways to get them creating on computers instead of just consuming as soon as possible!

I'm grateful to Cascadia Ruby for giving me the opportunity to speak on this topic at their 2014 conference.

Video of the presentation is available on Confreaks. You can find slides for the presentation on Speakerdeck.


My dad's a programmer, so I grew up with PCs and--more importantly--programming tools my friends didn't have. I learned early on that text I typed could make these machines do anything I could imagine.

Now I have kids of my own, and as my daughter's learning letters and arithmetic, I'm scheming to give her similar experiences. Come along on the journey of introducing her to programming. We'll talk about the software we used, the puzzles and games we made, what worked and what didn't. Along the way we'll pick up tips on teaching programming to novices of any age.


In the meantime here's a list of some resources and ideas for programming with kids!