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I recently bought a laptop for my 12 year old nephew. When I was his age, I already knew some very basic HTML, Javascript, Batch, and just bought myself a book about Turbo Pascal, but my nephew is not an introvert like me, so it would be naive to think he could have a similar attitude to learning (plus the times have changed: while I had no Internet, he can't possibly, as a tik-tok user, have the attention span to read a book about programming).

I gave him a few great video games: Human Resource Machine, The Witness, DROD 1: King Dugan's Dungeon, a few Zachtronics games (probably way too hard), Railbound and a few 'normal' games just so he doesn't hate me.

We live in Poland, and so my nephew's English level is very low. In some software, text plays a secondary or insignificant role, with the best example being the Elechead game, where words appear only in the title and credits. I myself have learned English partially from English video games and English software, so I don't want to detriment the same experience from my nephew, but I imagine a game like TIS-100 is just too hardcore partially because of a foreign language.

I already downloaded Stellarium and offline Scratch version.

In the past there was plenty of amazing software called "multimedia encyclopedias", with the absolute best being David Macaulay's the Way Things Work which no longer works on Windows 11 (or 10, or probably even Vista). The times have changed, nowadays we have the Internet for that, but I can't help but think the today's experience is just worse, even awesome websites like the Ciechanowski's blog

Financially I will consider every option, though I find subscription based very unattractive: I don't quite have the means to inspect if my nephew even uses the service, over time the cost really adds up, and there are some annoying logistics (companies like to be abusive in various ways) and privacy concerns, which makes me hesitate to buy (or even try) the Minecraft Education.

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  • Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking.
    – Community Bot
    Sep 28, 2023 at 11:33
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    Unironically, I'd like to ask the the reviewer to clarify. I'm new here, so while I've read the Tour and the linked there Question Quality Guidelines, I don't have a good intuition on what kind of questions can be asked here. Should the question be more focused for example? Should I limit the educational domain in which I want to educate my nephew? For example should I ask specifically for mathematical games and software? Sep 28, 2023 at 11:37
  • The question is ok and very clear. Although I'm not sure "forcing" a 12 year old TikToker into educative games would be too efficient. Something popular like Minecraft might be your best, bet but I'll give you one more recommendation.
    – Destroy666
    Sep 28, 2023 at 21:36

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It depends on what the child likes and focusing around that or some popular stuff that teens like nowadays might help much more than asking here, but here are some games that are educational and fun:

Baba is You is a puzzle/logic game a bit related to programming that I fully recommend. It is translated to Polish and has progressive difficulty. Levels far into the game may be too difficult if no learning/attention occurs, but it might be worth trying.

GeoGuessr is another one that's instead focused on geography. It's free with limited usage and has paid subscription. It's great to teach geography, languages and also to practice memorizing things. You don't really need to know English to just play it. Maprunner mode is good for the start.

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  • Baba is You is definitely something on my radar, so thank you for reminding me of it. It's actually a kind of a game that would be alright in English as well. Geoguesser is something I knew of but it wouldn't occur to me it could be a good choice for my nephew, but I'll give it a go! Sep 29, 2023 at 10:42

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