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Coding Camp Chronicles: How Kids Can Spend Their Summer Productively Behind Screens

Published on June 11, 2024 | Posted in  

Most people have heard the phrase “screen time” before, as it’s become a cautionary expression. The basic idea is simple: the movies and games we see on screens can be addictive, and if you’re not careful, they can suck you in and consume much of your life. Adults need to watch themselves, but the thinking goes, it’s even more important for kids.

RP4K would never advise against kids playing outdoors in the summer! By all means, kids should be jumping in puddles, searching for frogs or other critters, and all the other fun outdoor stuff. But not all “screen time” is equal.

RP4K is proud to provide for kids an active form of screen time which keeps their minds engaged, challenges them, and leaves them with skills future employers look for. More than anything, RP4K’s coding camp classes are fun.

Let’s check out what makes the screen time kids enjoy at RP4K’s summer coding camp so productive and fun for kids.

Think Like an Engineer

The idea of “critical thinking” is everywhere today. Education should teach kids how to think instead of rote learning that makes them merely memorize facts and dates. Our summer coding camp for kids emphasizes out-of-the-box problem-solving because there are many ways to tackle coding problems — there isn’t merely one right answer. 

Our courses reinforce the need for methodical mental models and abstract problem-solving. There’s an overall goal kids must reach, and how they get there depends on their skills, experiences, and their personality.

Kids also learn an important indirect lesson, as engineers use a trial-and-error method to experiment with possible solutions. As such, they learn to regard “mistakes” as a necessary step towards finding the right solution eventually.

Such a healthy understanding promotes positive learning models, as kids don’t let “mistakes” affect their self-esteem negatively.

Learn a Language

RP4K’s coding courses online focus on the most popular coding languages, the ones employers expect people they hire to know. Young kids new to coding or experienced teens alike can find a course that keeps them stimulated and engaged without being overwhelmed.

We’re proud to teach the following programming languages:

  • Python
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • C#
  • C++

We have courses for all levels of skill and experience. Once your child has absorbed the basics, they can refine and improve their abilities before advancing to the next coding language.

Most people don’t tend to think about coding languages as languages per se the way they do Spanish or French. But each coding language has its own grammar, syntax, and rules, and kids exercise the same underlying muscles required to learn a conventional language when they take coding classes.

Video Games at Heart

In over 20 years of offering coding classes for kids, we’ve found that becoming a passionate programmer is natural when the sessions revolve around teaching kids how to create video games. Kids love playing games and love designing and programming them even more!

Summer coding camp needs to be enjoyable for students to be self-driven and motivated. Kids are hungry to learn when the goal is so attractive. Irresistible, even. Kids and teens get very eager to complete their video games so they can play them with friends and family and show off their achievements.

RP4K also harnesses gamification dynamics to make our classes teaching kids how to make games as engaging as playing them. Video game designers understand that prominently displaying statistics tracking user progress keeps them motivated to finish the level or complete the game. 

RP4K applies this same dynamic to increase student engagement.

Small Classes

Our summer coding camp offers kids a deep dive with longer sessions five days a week, but they are just like our year-round course in one way: all sessions are capped at four students per class. RP4K values small classroom environments that minimize disruptions.

Students shouldn’t have to struggle to be heard by their teacher, and teachers should be free to focus on the course material instead of dealing with noisy, disruptive classrooms. Each student can ask their teacher questions and pick their brains without worrying that they don’t even know their name because there are so many students.

Plus, RP4K has no mandatory minimum for enrollment, meaning the class will take place even if your child is the only student. Keeping kids busy over the summer is hard work for parents, so they appreciate the certainty of knowing that the session will run as scheduled.

Teaching AI

The topic of artificial intelligence (AI) has been everywhere in the media for the past couple of years or so for different reasons. Some wonder how it will change the jobs of the future, while others marvel at all the wondrous applications it has in different fields.

man on a laptop using chat gpt

To those concerned that AI will replace workers and take jobs away, we’d like to remind you that, ultimately, AI boils down to coding. We have recently created an applied math course for more advanced students, as well as a special AI course!

AI and even coding in general has a mystique for millions of people who play video games, browse the internet, and use apps, but don’t really understand how they work. Just like many drivers can’t explain how a car’s engine operates, it’s easier to navigate the surface of digital life than it is to peek behind the curtains and write the code that makes it work.

RP4K’s summer coding camp sessions sharpen kids’ minds over the summer while leaving them with cutting-edge practical skills to blaze their own professional coding trail and develop a deeper understanding being citizens in our tech-driven world. Kids need to understand how digital technology works so they can shape it, instead of the other way around — that’s what the productivity of RP4K’s screen time is all about.

The smartphone revolution changed much more than how people talk and message each other. The market for video games on your phone was inconceivable a decade ago, and who knows where AI will take us in the future. Learning how to code and program in a fun, supportive environment is one of the healthiest and most productive things a kid can do, so contact us if you’d like to enroll in the summer coding camp today.

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