Messing Up the Web: A free tutorial for kids

There are plenty of ways to help your kids learn the basics of HTML. (I’m a fan of the no-nonsense videos at Khan Academy.) But when it came to teach my own daughters, they wanted something that seemed a little more… fun. Sitting down for a long lecture about angle brackets wasn’t going to cut it.

To fill the gap, I wrote Messing Up the Web, a micro-introduction that lets kids start playing and experimenting at the same time that they’re learning how the web works. Here’s what you need to know to use this tutorial with your own kids or students:

  • The goal of this lesson is to introduce HTML and the concept of elements. It doesn’t get your child to write a complete web page — that’s a task for the second, follow-up lesson.
  • What age is this tutorial for? It varies quite a bit depending on whether your test subject has seen HTML before. But most of the audience will be in the 9-to-14-year-old range.
  • Serious typing skills aren’t required.

I’ve provided the complete lesson, with step-by-step instructions, two exercises, screen captures, and a link to a sample page. There is also a unicorn. And a few ninjas.

Ready to try it out? Kids can go through the tutorial on Young Coder or download it as a PDF (useful if you need a printout). Enjoy!

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