Small Basic is a very simple, fully functional, programming language, created as an offshoot of the BASIC programming language which has been around for decades. The simplicity of it makes it a great choice for kids and beginners to learn how to program a computer.

Small Basic has all the tools needed to create useful programs, but not much more. As a beginner learning to code, you can focus on the core concepts and not worry about all the extras that professional level programming languages contain. Small Basic has capabilities to handle user input, drawing, mathematics, file I/O, etc. It also forces the user to program using statements and terminology that are similar to enterprise level languages. As a beginning programmer this is important because it allows the student to understand the terminology, but focus on learning to program and the core concepts involved.

Getting up and running with Small Basic is also about as simple as can be. Small Basic was created and is managed by Microsoft. To start programming, all that is needed is to download the Small Basic editor and use it to create a program. This is much easier than virtually all other programming languages in the marketplace today. Other languages require large downloads, installations, and requirements to setup a computing environment for creating an app.

Learning to program, especially for kids and beginners, should be all about the concepts and not about the semantics. Learning the semantics of various programming languages can sometimes be the most frustrating part of learning a new programming language. This is especially frustrating for a beginner learning to program as they do not have as much experience and often require extra help and time to learn new programming concepts. With Small Basic so much of this is removed. Historically the BASIC language has been a very simple language to pick up for a beginner and Small Basic follows this.

This post first appeared on the OneWay Logic blog about teaching kids and beginners to learn how to program. The book that this article is based onPrinciples of Programming, is available on It uses Small Basic to teach basic concepts of programming for kids and beginners.