I wonder if there’re more people out there who would like to learn to love programming (as in doing it for fun), but haven’t been able to?

I’m sure there are. Programming doesn’t have to be all serious and strict. It can, and should, be fun for everyone, young and old. That’s the beauty of Smalltalk — it’s perfect for kids and seniors and hobbyists who aren’t necessarily looking to start a new profession. They shouldn’t be tackling gnarly industrial languages like Java, Python, JavaScript, C/C++, PHP, and Ruby. (Python isn’t that bad, but it definitely has more obstacles than Smalltalk.)

Unlike all the abovementioned languages, Smalltalk is astonishing in its purity and elegance. It is the most fun I’ve ever had with a programming language (and programming environment). And I’ve used many languages in my 20+ years as a professional software developer.

For you, I recommend Pharo. It’s the most actively developed Smalltalk and it’s enterprise strength. Check out this article to help you get started. (When I finish my Pharo tutorial later this year, it’ll be a blast!)

Now that I’m a dad, I want to introduce a love for computational thinking for my children…

For your children, there are two options, depending on their age. For young children, Scratch is a good way to get started with programming. For teenagers and perhaps 10 and up, Squeak is an excellent choice since it was intended for educational purposes.

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