Coding camps for kids and teens teach more than just career skills. Critical and resilient thinking, as well as a better understanding of our digital environment, makes it relevant for any kid. Plus, your child could be designing a virtual reality of their very own. Gives ‘living in their own world’ a whole new meaning!
More than just problem-solving
Learning to code is an obvious lesson in solving a problem: how do I get this creature to do what I want? But there’s more to it than that. Kids have to learn how to ask the right questions at code camp, sometimes even starting with the answer and reverse-engineering how to create the right framework. From building an IKEA bookcase, to solving a jigsaw, to planning our own career paths – this kind of reverse engineering is how we figure out the path from where we are now to where we want to be.
Mistakes are part of a process
Not only that, but learning to code also teaches kids how to go back over their own work, in detail, and find out where they went wrong. Coding is a process that never turns out perfectly the first time, but requires constant tweaking and correcting. What better way to learn that ‘mistakes’ are not the end of the world, but a way of refining a final product?
Understanding the digital environment we live in
Coders camps for kids are a great chance for playing with new and emerging technologies. Most kids probably don’t have computers set up with full development resources at home, let alone mentors that can answer questions on the fly. At this point, we all use sophisticated networks to make decisions all the time: our phones plan our routes to avoid traffic, our watches track our movements for optimum health, our televisions suggest new content based on what we watched last week. Understanding what goes on beneath the hood should be a basic life skill. Getting a step ahead, like coding for virtual reality environments and getting a chance to really play with Oculus Rift goggles, is where it’s at. For example, check out Under the GUI’s Summer Virtual Reality camps for ages 9-11 and 12-15.
This post is sponsored by Under the GUI, a computer programming school dedicated to teaching children how to create video games and more. We teach in the evenings and weekends, outside of regular school hours.
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Erin McGann is the former Managing Editor for Vancouver Mom and Toronto Mom Now. She drinks just a bit too much coffee, is a bit obsessed about sourcing local food, plays the cello moderately well, spends too much time on Twitter, keeps honeybees on a rooftop, and has a thing for single-malt whisky. Erin is working on a novel set in turn-of-the-century Vancouver, which her husband, son and dog have to hear about all the time, and also blogs at Erin at Large.