If you think Perl is too difficult to teach kids, then you
are either underestimating their power to learn, or you
are overestimating how difficult Perl is compared to
BASIC. Here's a classic:
print "What is your name?\n";
$name = <>;
print "Hello $name, have a nice day.\n";
Come on, is that really that much tougher?
You don't have to teach them structured, OO-based programming
from the get go.
Besides, how many languages have a "spaceship operator"?
Pascal, in my opinion, is harder to learn than Perl, and
yet Pascal is promoted as a "learning tool". Go figure.