School’s out, and it’s time for summer camp! These days, kids aren’t restricted to making lanyards and playing capture the flag. (Not saying there's anything wrong with either of those.) Coding camps have been around since the ‘70s, but are quickly becoming more and more popular, as kids learn how to build robots and write games.
Here are some of the most popular coding camps for kids, many of which are offered on weekends year-round. For a more extensive list, check out Help Kids Code.
Are there any great coding camps we missed? Let us know in the comments section below!
Around the World
iD Tech Camps: True to many Silicon Valley startup origins, iD Tech Camp started in 1999 in a studio above the family garage. Now, it offers week-long and weekend summer programs at over 80 universities in the States. These camps offer intensive computer programming classes based around different interests, including game development, web design, robotics engineering, and film and photography. Classes guarantee no more than eight students per instructor. Tuition varies but typically runs on the steep side at upwards of $1,000 per week.
Digital Media Academy offers summer camps for teens and kids at college campuses throughout the U.S. and Canada that cover a broad range of digital media technologies, including 3D animation, music, and robotics. Specific programming classes for kids (ages 6-12) focus on Alice and Java; those for teens (ages 12-17) cover advanced Java and Python around gaming and app development projects. Classes range from one to two weeks and cost from $725 to nearly $4,000.
CoderDojo: Non-profit founded in Ireland 2011 to organize free coding “Dojos” around the world, from Argentina to Uganda. The CoderDojo community is loosely organized in the sense that any local volunteers can start a Dojo and organize activities and programs that teach kids to code. Dojos typically meet weekly or monthly, and strongly encourages the usage of open source and free tools. Each year mentors and anyone interested in starting a Dojo are invited to a yearly conference, DojoCon.
Mozilla Webmaker coordinates free Maker Parties around the world. Organized by and for local communities, the parties enable students of any age to learn about tools and projects happening in their own neighborhoods--whether that happens to be in Palo Alto, Mumbai, Cape Town, Taipei, Athens, Kampala…
In Your Backyard
Code in the Schools is a Baltimore-based non-profit program that partners with local schools to provide after-school programming classes. It is currently incubated at the Digital Harbor Foundation, which provides support, training and incubation for education projects and initiatives in Greater Baltimore region.
Classroom Antics offers day and week-long camps for LEGO robotics, video game design, programming, and animation camps throughout Ohio, particularly in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland. The three-hour classes are housed at local churches, banquet halls, and community centers. Registration runs around $200 for a week-long class.
ProjectFun, from game development school, Digipen Institute, offers summer programs through that teach K-12 students programming, design, and animation skills related to games and multimedia. Based in Redmond, WA, the two-week programs for middle- and high-schoolers run $1250, while the one-week program for elementary students costs $650.
CodeNow, a NYC-based nonprofit founded in 2011, offers free programs in New York, Miami and the Bay Area to help high school students learn programming from professional software engineers. Hosted at local tech companies, the workshops take place over one weekend and a day several weeks later, so the students have time to complete homework and practice.
KTByte, based in Lexington, MA, offers camps for kids ages 9-18 in classes from fundamentals to Lego robotics and Android programming. KTByte also offers contests (and cash prizes) for projects created by students, many of which are displayed on the site. The week-long classes range from $600-$800.
Tynker offers one-week programming camps for kids in grades 3-8 in Kansas City, MO, Gaithersburg, MD, Whistler, BC, several locations in the Bay Area, and online. Campers brainstorm, plan, and build their own game or story while learning programming basics. The classes range from $460-$600.
Kids Learning Code and Girls Learning Code offer 8 week-long camps for students ages 8-13 in Toronto. In groups with a ratio of 4 kids to 1 mentor, campers learn topics from digital journalism to wearable technology to game development. A week of camp costs $425, with lower prices for additional weeks.
Girls Who Code is a non-profit dedicated to creating more opportunities to introduce high school girls to computer science. Founded by Reshma Saujani, the former Deputy Public Advocate in New York City, the organization recently partnered with Google to launch the website “Made with Code,” which provides activities and lessons designed to encourage girls’ interest in coding. Girls Who Code’s summer intensive program has some serious backers and funders (think Google, Twitter, Microsoft) that foot the bill to offer free, immersion programs in New York, Boston, Miami, Seattle, and several locations in the Bay Area. (By intense, we mean seven weeks, Monday to Friday, 9 to 4.) The program covers programming fundamentals, mobile development, robotic, and web development and design.
Black Girls CODE focuses on introducing programming and technology to girls of color. The SF-based non-profit, founded by former Genentech project manager, Kimberly Bryant, organizes workshops around the country where “tech divas” from ages 7 to 17 work in teams to build games, webpages, and robots with programming languages like Alice and Scratch. Workshops typically costs $25.