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Google, Cartoon Network want kids to code Powerpuff GIFs

The companies hope the lure of popular cartoon characters can entice youths of all backgrounds to try their hand at coding.

Bubbles, here we come.

Cartoon Network

Your kiddiwinks could soon be learning to code Powerpuff GIFs before bedtime.

Google and Cartoon Network are working together to use the latter's shows in the former's Made For Code initiative, the companies said Wednesday. The hope is that a crossover of popular characters and game-focused coding experiences will help inspire a wider demographic of youths to get involved in computer science.

Cartoon Network will pull its stories and characters into coding activities that let children make them their own through the creation of animation and games. Characters will also make special coding-related appearances on YouTube and YouTube Kids.

Of particular note for its potential for family-friendly fun is a GIF-making tool that will be released Thursday. It will let children code their own "Powerpuff Girls" GIFs featuring wide-eyed cartoon heroines Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup.

With companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Google releasing fun, creative tools to engage the next generation with coding, this a great time to be a young programmer. One of the challenges of these initiatives has been to appeal to young people who may not see themselves as potential techies.

"Our research shows that media perceptions matter when it comes to encouraging girls and underrepresented minorities to pursue careers in computer science and other technical fields, which makes the work of Cartoon Network and the entertainment industry so powerful," said Julie Ann Crommett, entertainment industry educator in chief at Google.