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Thinking outside the box for fun activities these school holidays

The school holidays are fast approaching but with many families still in lockdown, the options for what to do are limited. What can our kids to do that’s engaging but requires minimum supervision? Elaine Nasr from The Geek Academy has an idea that’s fun, engaging and takes the pressure off parents: code camp!

Flipping the focus on screens

Remote learning has been exhausting. Most of us have not trained as teachers and therefore find Yr 3 maths a very humbling experience (or is that just me?) During the school term screens have been used for curriculum lessons, mindless TV or endless games on Play Station. But what if kids were using their screens to create something? What if at the end of a day they could see and play with their own games (with minimum input from you)?

An introduction to coding

Coding involves creating instructions for computers using programming languages. Elaine Nasr from The Geek Academy says it’s a great skill for kids to learn from an early age.

“There are many types of coding languages, just like the languages we speak. As it’s recommended for children to learn a language from a younger age due to their brain elasticity and rapid neural formation, the same goes for coding languages.”

But wait, isn’t that hard work?

For those of us who grew up in a different era, coding might sound like hard work. But Nasr says that if you haven’t coded before, you don’t know how much fun it can be. Coding, she says, involves a lot of creativity.

“This varies from ensuring all the design components of their game are appealing to the technical creativity that is implemented in their approach to solving the problem.”

Nasr says you can’t underestimate the satisfaction of being challenged and the pride that kids feel when they’ve finished making their own game.

A day in the life of a coding camp

The Geek Academy are offering online courses for kids during the school holidays. One is suitable for kids aged 5-7 (one day) and the other for kids aged 8-12 (two days). During the course kids will:

  • 1. Empathise with a problem via story telling
  • 2. Discuss the core problem as a group
  • 3. Brainstorm and design their own prototype
  • 4. Teachers run through the theory of coding and show examples
  • 5. Children then go and build their own game
  • 6. Kids share their work with the rest of the class
  • Ahem. That also sounds like they’re going to need me (please refer to experience with Yr 3 maths)

    Part of the appeal of the coming school holidays is that parents can switch back to a greater focus on their work. The Geek Academy understand this, and have designed their courses to require minimal input from parents and carers.

    Nasr explains, “At The Geek Academy not only do we teach your child throughout the session, we also monitor their progress and assist with their issues, whilst keeping them engaged with a fun packed day where parent involvement is not required.”

    A side-bonus: the benefits of “Design Thinking”

    Coding at The Geek Academy involves teaching kids “Design Thinking”. Apple, Google and Airbnb have all used Design Thinking - a hands on process to tackle problems innovatively.

    Nasr says, “Design Thinking encourages the problem solver to be innovative, inquisitive, have attention to detail, empathetic towards who is impacted [by the problem] and persevere until the solution is accepted by the affected.

    “All of these characteristics are necessary life skills for people of all ages. They can implement these skills in current and future environments including personal, social, school and work. It’s not only useful when building and coding robots and games!”

    Shoes & Sox is excited to offer all mini tech heads 20% off your Geek Academy online coding holiday camps with the coupon code 'SHOESOX'

    Written by Shevonne Hunt