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6 best coding camps for computer-crazy kids

Thanks to the plethora of start-ups now thriving in Silicon Valley and other tech-savvy cities, software developers have been in super-high demand of late. What better way to prepare your kid to thrive in a coding-friendly world then by sending them to coding camp this summer?

It turns out there are tons of these camps all over the country, and have been for some time now. They evolved out of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) camps, which have been around in one form or another since kids started wanting to get an edge up on the academic competition during the school year, but coding camps are a somewhat different animal. They mainly focus on teaching kids how to work with the often dizzying language of computers.

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That being said, the camps vary considerably in terms of what they offer, the age groups they cater to and how they go about teaching coding. Here’s a list of some of our favorites to help get you started.

Coding camps for kids
Image: Design via Karen Cox/SheKnows; Image via Getty Images

1. iD Tech Camps

Location: 150 nationwide

Age group: 7 to 17

Cost: Varies depending on length of program and age

Duration: Varies

iD Tech is like the umbrella for some of the country’s best coding camps. They offer comprehensive programs for 7- to 12-year-olds as well as 13- to 17-year-olds. Not only do they teach you how to apply coding skills to possible careers in areas like video game development and film production, they mix computer work with regular old outdoor camp fun.

2. Alexa Cafe

Location: Nationwide

Age group: 10 to 15

Cost: Day camp: $949-1,099/week; Overnight: add $569/week (includes all meals and lodging)

Duration: Varies depending on location

Alexa Cafe is the all-girl arm of iD Tech. Its purpose is to put girls in the driver’s seat of their dreams in the tech world without the sometimes overwhelming presence of boys. The girls sit around café tables and learn to code apps, produce films, design websites, develop wearable electronics and do pretty much anything else in the computer world in which they might be interested. The point is to teach them collaboration as well as leadership skills.

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3. Emagination Programming Camp

Location: Connecticut and Pennsylvania

Age group: 13 to 17

Cost: Ranges from $1,626 to $3,295 depending on the program.

Duration: Two weeks, either overnight or day-camp style

Emagination, like iD Tech, has many computer-related arms, but this one in particular is all about programming. Kids are taught to program using C#, which is the most popular programming language for Windows applications. They also have daily recreational activities, and encourage going at your own pace.

4. TechSmartKids

Location: Seattle, Bellevue or Mercer Island in Washington

Age Group: 7 to 15

Cost: Two-week half- and full-day sessions cost $735 and $1,495, respectively

Duration: Two weeks, either half days or full days

According to TechSmartKids, they use “a strong Front End Web Development foundation as students learn user interface design and coding in HTML 5, CSS 3, JavaScript.” Essentially, they want to inspire kids to change the world through technology. They work with beginners up to intermediates, and teach them how to apply their newfound skills to things like gaming, app software and 3-D printing.

5. DigiGirlz High Tech Camp

Locations: Lehi, Utah; Charlotte, North Carolina; Reno, Nevada; Fargo, North Dakota; Redmond, Washington; Las Colinas, Texas; St. Louis, Missouri

Age Group: Grades 9 through 12

Cost: Free

Duration: One week

This one’s pretty amazing. As part of Microsoft’s diversity initiative, DigiGirlz is a free program designed specifically for high school girls to spend a week with technology professionals. The camp is free on a first-come, first-served basis, and you need to submit your grades to apply. Their mission is to help dispel the myth that the tech industry is only for men by giving girls the skills and confidence they need to make a sizable dent in the field.

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6. Digital Media Academy

Locations: Nationwide

Age Group: 12 to 17

Cost: Varies depending on concentration — anywhere from $1,000 to $2,395

Duration: One to two weeks

Learn everything there is to know about programming, from basic coding all the way up to video game development. If you’re a beginner, you’ll be in good company. Digital Media apart has outstanding teachers who offer devoted, hands-on support.

Before you go, check out our slideshow below:

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