Return to

Coding for kids?


I’m trying to find laptops for a friend’s kids to learn to code on. Is chrome os a decent way to start? They are using Khan Academy right now, but I’d like to give them something that will last them a few years. One of the kids likes to play minecraft if that makes a difference. My budget is around $800 for the pair. They are 8 and 7. Thanks for any help you can give me.


Maybe something like a Pi-Top?


I literally have no idea. I’ve only dealt with windows and linux, but I didn’t get started until I was 35. They are familiar with mac os if that helps.


For 7 and 8 years I’d go with Scratch - a block based visual programming language, with a web web based development environment, which sadly requires flash (I think it has a chrome OS offline editor but better check it for yourself). Now on this age and even till 10-11 I think this would be the easiest way for them to get a grip on the basic concepts, and then let them decide if they wanna dive into something else.

And since at least one of them likes Minecraft the block style programming is also featured in Minecraft’s education edition (never tried it, I saw it in a Microsoft presentation where they were trying to convince our company to feature it in the Computer Modeling textbooks for third and fourth grade, but it looked fun).

Honestly for those two any inexpensive laptop/desktrop would do just fine.


Recent episode of theirs.


I wouldn’t use chrome OS, id use either windows or Linux.
what language are we talking about?
i would how ever look into a IDE they could use, like fx. Eclipse. learning programming the hardware allmost doesn’t matter, it is all about getting aquinted with loops, arrays etc.


No no no now wait a minute, chrome os would be perfect here. It has linux apps coming in flatpaks now. You can almost install anything to the system now, and with neat processors from nvidia down to boring ol’ intel chips.

Compilers too. Its a whole environment.

So I think something like scratch to start on a “Linux Compatible” chromebook would be perfect. Then go up from there.


So I just did a little bit of digging around Amazon (I am swiss, so I don’t know where you get your hardware from) but for 800$ for 2 Notebooks (so 400$ a piece) you don’t have a lot of options. I would recommend dual-boot them with Linux Mint (I suppose the closest to Windows, that they are using at school). This lets you keep the Windows on there for later usage. The one I found on Amazon that I would get: this one

i3-8130U, better than an i5 7200U (don’t ever be fooled by i3 is not as good as i5 -> always check) and for the Price you can’t expect a racing horse.
6GB, well you get what you get for 400$
wireless ac, state of the art.
usb 3.1 C, you don’t see that on some top of the line products
dvd drive, not really a benefit but it makes nice DVD watching.

i3-8130, it is a dualcore and not a quadcore :-1:
FullHD, in this price range I would prefer a HD screen to safe the pc power for calculation, and with Minecraft you will not notice to much of a difference.
No SSD, well for 400$ you can’t be surprised.

I would not buy a chromebook I think they are all underpowered but I might be wrong there.


I see your point with Chrome OS is easy to use. But I can’t agree with you about boring ol’intel being a bad choice. You can use a “normal” Windows notebook and boot it with a Chrome OS USB drive or even dual-boot it. Nvidia is dead in the water when it comes to performance compared to Intel and you get more Ram. I really don’t see the point of chromebooks as they are running tablet CPUs in a ultrabook build. There is no benefits to do that except maybe battery life


I would check out

there are some games to learn programming and yeah Scratch is perfect for beginners. I would move on with Python if they like it.


Thanks for all the replies. I’ll check out all the links that y’all provided.