Looking for something to help keep your tech-minded kids occupied this summer? Take a look at the Microsoft Store: This summer, the company’s retail locations are offering free YouthSpark Summer Camps that give kids aged 8 through 16 hands-on experience in coding, video game design and app creation.
One option for kids, Smart Game Design, teaches beginners aged 8 through 10 some basic game and app creation skills. Younger kids will learn the Kodu visual programming language for kids and the TouchDevelop app development suite. Kids aged 11 to 16, meanwhile, can take an intermediate verison of Smart Game Design that also teaches kids how to create websites via Microsoft WebMatrix and Project Spark.
Microsoft is also offering a class called Smart Game Coding. In the beginner version, kids aged 8 through 10 will learn Kodu, experiment with basic programming logic and hone problem-solving skills, all while creating their own video game. In the intermediate version of the course for kids aged 11 through 16, kids get an accelerated lesson in coding and game creation using Project Spark, Windows App Studio and Microsoft website software.
As we’ve discussed before here on Techlicious, learning how to code is an incredibly valuable skill for all kids, both boys and girls. It helps set them up for a career down the road, sure, but coding also teaches kids how the technology and games they enjoy everyday actually work. Working with video games is also a fun, creative exercise – I’m jealous these kind of classes weren’t available when I was a kid!
Each Microsoft YouthSpark Summer Camp runs for two hours per day over four consecutive days. They are free to join, but you'll need to sign up now online to reserve your spot. Don’t dawdle – Microsoft says they expect the classes to fill up fast. To learn more about the program and to see if and when it’s available at a Microsoft Store near you, visit the YouthSpark landing page on the Microsoft website.
[Image credit: Microsoft]