Google Doodles have featured animated stories and interactive games in the past, but today's doodle is the first of its kind to grace the search engine's homepage. Head to Google now and you'll see a bunny with cube-like blocks topped with carrots. Your mission: Collect the carrots by completing simple lines of code that will move the bunny forward.
Although the bunny might imply an association with spring time, this is no celebratory Easter Doodle. Instead, it's a celebration of 50 years of kids coding: Five decades ago, the first programming languages for kids were created. It's fitting, and not coincidental, that the commemoration also falls on the first day of Computer Science Education Week, which runs until 10th December.
Four people — Wally Feurzeig, Seymour Papert, Daniel Bobrow and Cynthia Solomon — are credited with creating Logo, the first programming language specifically intended for children in the late 1960s. At the time, the idea of teaching children how to program computers was a radical one. Papert, who was a cofounder of MIT's artificial intelligence lab, pioneered this thinking, leading a revolutionary symposium at the university in 1970 called "Teaching Children Thinking."
Creating today's coding Doodle required the skills of three different Google teams: the Doodle team, the Google Blockly group, a part of Google's education efforts, and individuals from MIT Scratch, which offers kids accessible ways to program games and animations. For those who are inspired to pick up some computer science skills of their own after playing with today's Doodle, you can head to MIT Scratch to learn how to customise your own Google logo. No matter how old you are, it's never too late to pick up some coding know-how.
Make sure to also check out Google's Doodle blog. There, Champika Fernando, Scratch's director of communications, penned an essay reflecting on the importance of Papert and his collaborators' work.