Looking for an easier way to teach or learn basic computer programming? Try Alice, a free program distributed by Carnegie Mellon University. Alice is "designed to be a student's first exposure to object-oriented programming." The original version is designed for high school and college students; there's also a modified version geared for middle school students.
With the original version of Alice, kids can create movies and simple video games; the drag-and-drop design makes syntax errors less likely and easier to correct. The Storytelling Alice version is more popular with young girls, according to research conducted by its designer, Caitlin Kelleher. This version of Alice allows young programmers to design and view an interactive story with 3-D characters.