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Computer Day Camp for 11 yr old

Dec 2013

Looking for suggestions of good summer day camps in the Berkeley/Albany/El Cerrito/N. Oakland area where my 11 year old grandson can start to learn computer game design and programming. As you might expect he's a Minecraft geek/addict. He's done a couple half day Lego Robot camps through El Cerrito Parks and Rec and enjoyed those. But at this point he's ready for a more significant challenge. What's worked well for your children/grandchildren? Grandma Jenny

My 10 year-old daughter took a week-long camp this summer called Video Game Design at the Chabot Space and Science Camp. She actually didn't like it because she was the only girl, so we transferred her out part way through, but it sounded awesome and I was a little disappointed she didn't keep in there, as she is also a minecraft freak/geek. For girls, however, there is a thing called Black Girls Code for girls of color to learn web design, game design, etc. and she did do a full day workshop there in May. I guess that's probably why she didn't like the ''boys'' class at Chabot. Minecraft Mom
Hi there- My 10 year old daughter had the same problem with IDTech. They claim to be supportive of girls, but it is hard to do when she is the only one. We have resorted to private tutoring. She is learning beginning Python to eventually be able to code mods for Minecraft. Sorry to not have a camp resource for you. I would love to know if you find one! Perhaps our two girls could get together, though, to geek over Minecraft together. cam

Classes for teen in Introductory Computer Programming

Sept 2012

I have a freshman son who is very, very interested in computer programming. He did not get into the C++/Jave 1/2 class he wanted at his high school. Does anyone know of courses at local community colleges or UC Berkeley classes for audit for a motivated teen or other options? I am also looking at ways to channel this interest into something beyond gaming which is what he's mostly occupied with now. Recently he researched components, saved his money and built his own souped-up computer. Thanks in advance. Mother of Computer Teen

If your son is a good motivated self-studier, he may be in luck. The online educational consortium EdX - MIT, Harvard, UC Berkeley - are offering two online introductory computer science courses. These courses are free, homework is submitted weekly and exams are given.

Harvard is offering CS50X, an introduction to computer science starting October 15. MIT is offering MIT6.00X, an introduction to computer science and programming. The former uses C, the latter python. The course syllabuses are posted online.

A certificate of completion can be printed by the student. Just create an account and sign up.

These courses are ''college level'', which means your student must be diligent. But they *are* real CS courses from two top-tier universities tailored for Internet study.

Most community colleges now restrict their courses to age 16 (junior level) or above, and CS courses are in such high demand that it is difficult for a low-priority high school student to get admitted, so I would not advise going that route at this time. Check out EdX and see if the courses offered are right for your son. Good Luck

Electronics class for 7 year old tinkerer

Jan 2012

My 7-year-old son is obsessed with creating his own electronic circuits. He browses the resistors and potentiometers at Radio Shack and has big ideas about making calculators from scratch. This usually ends up in frustration because the plans are so complex, and I don't know enough about it to help him work things through. I'm hoping to find out about a local class or private lessons for him. We live in the Oakland/Piedmont area but would be willing to travel a bit. I'd also like to hear about any good books on the subject. (We already have Snap Circuits; he is more interested in soldering his own inventions). Thanks for any suggestions!

The Crucible in Oakland has electronics classes for kids in their summer youth program. And TechShop in SF has electronic classes for kids - even a soldering class. Have fun! Barry

Media Technology Classes or Camp

March 2011

Are there classes or camps that teach kids how to program video games? My son is mainly interested in playing games, but I wanted to try and interest him in a more creative direction. Ideas? Curious Mom

The ID Tech camps might work for you. They are day camps or overnight camps which last one to two weeks housed on a college campus. They have camps at Berkeley. You can find out about it by entering ID camps in your search engine. Sue
UC has computer games summer camps. Check out their Dept of Education website. I think it's call ATDP. Been there
Not sure how old your son is, but my 10-year-old had fun at Camp Galileo taking a computer games programming class.

Electronics class for 14-year-old

April 2009

My 14-yr old son wants to take electronics this summer. I have a good idea of the arts and crafts classes offered around the East Bay, but no clue as to electronics courses. We live in Danville, but could drive 20 miles or so each way. Any suggestions? Key

HI Key, You may want to check out IDTech Camps offered at Stanford,Berkeley,and I think Cal State East Bay Universities.Their web site is ,or call 1- 888-709-TECH(8324) Denise

Computer camp for 9-year-old

January 2003

My 9 year old son wants very much to go to a computer camp this summer. We live in Berkeley and we're looking for a day camp, not a sleep-over camp. Any and all recommendations appreciated! Kim

Check out Cybercamps by Giant Campus. Based in Seattle, but they have programs all over -- including at UC Berkeley. Takes kids from 7 to 16. Good instructors. My daughter (11) went last year and loved it. Pricey, but each kid has her/his own computer and doesn't have to share as in some other programs. Here's the link to their home page. Norm

Earlier recommendations

Feb. 2002

Re: Computer Programming for Teens
My son has gone to computer camp a couple weeks every summer for the last three years. He's attended Cybercamp because it offers robotics, video classes, game programming and C++. The college kids and grads who lead the classes are great and there's flexability for anyone who changes their mind about what they want to try out. Unfortunately, it's very expensive. So this year, having taken robotics and other related subjects, he's mainly interested in C++. My plan is to wait until the camps issue of Parent's Press comes out, and see if there's a less costly alternative, though I highly recommend Cybercamps is you can afford it. I look forward to hearing what other parents have to recommend. Thanks for asking. Dusky

March 2001

St. Paul's Episcopal School near Lake Merritt in Oakland has a good summer computer camp that is pretty reasonable. My daughter attended last year and enjoyed it. Info for the 2000 summer session is at, and they will be posting info for the 2001 sessions soon. I know that they have brochures available for 2001- if you call they will send you one. Dianne

March 2000

Two years ago my son attended East Bay Schools of the Arts on Virginia Street in Berkeley. He took computer graphics and magic classes for 3 weeks, half day. They have a 3 weeks or 6 weeks half or full day program.....variety of classes. It's expensive but he enjoyed it. At the end of the three weeks they had an open house for families. I would read Parent Press for summer ideas. Doreen

Go to for a great computer camp- it's unique because during certain weeks it has a "girl specific" option. Usually these sessions have about 50/50 boy-girl ratio,both in students and staff, unlike most computer camps which are almost all boys. Closest camp is St. Mary's College in Orinda- very close to Berkeley/Oakland, small classes, and beautiful college environment. Other sites are Stanford, Santa Clara. See the site for details. -- Diane
Two years ago my son attended East Bay School of the Arts on Virginia Street in Berkeley. He took computer graphics and magic classes for 3 weeks, half day. They have a 3 weeks or 6 weeks half or full day program.....variety of classes. It's expensive but he enjoyed it. At the end of the three weeks they had an open house for families. -- Dorene
May 1999

For the parent who's looking for a computer-oriented summer program for her 11 yr old son, I recommend the 2-wk computer summer day camps for 3rd thru 8th graders (one is computers and science, and the other is advanced computers) at St. Paul's Espiscopal School near Lake Meritt in Oakland. I'm not sure if they're full yet, but call and ask for the summer program director. -- Dianne

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