Posted 07 December 2007 - 08:20 AM
All kids want to program games, and they can if they stick to really, really simple games; unfortunately most kids think that they can code Halo 3 after two weeks. I think any language is appropriate as long as there is someone willing to help, otherwise a thirteen year old is likely to get frustrated and give up and lose interest in programming all together, which would be tragic because so few girls are interested in computers at all. Programming is boring to learn because all you learn is little bits and pieces at first, and it takes a while before one gets to start putting the bits and pieces together.
If I might suggest a different path? I use a program called Alice to teach middle-school aged children basic programming concepts. The software is free from Alice.org, and children can see results within a few minutes. It's basically a program that allows drag-and-drop manipulation of 3d objects, and there is no need to worry about the underlying program. I use a book called "Starting Out With Alice" that teaches both how to use the program, and various programming concepts. Once they learn how to use Alice, their interest is usually high enough that they will want to learn the underlying programming, and then they will have sufficient enough interest to learn because they have already seen the concepts in action.
The book costs about $60 and comes with Alice on a disk, along with quite a few tutorials. You can download it yourself from the website and check it out if you like. (Alice, not the book)
EDIT: I forgot to mention that once your grand-daughter learns how to use Alice, she can make games and animations with it.