Summer is just around the corner, which means planning fun activities for your child to enjoy during their break. One beneficial skill your student can build during the summer is learning how to code! Summer is the perfect time to code because your student can focus on one subject without worrying about piles of homework. Plus, many of the best summer coding programs for kids make learning this new skill fun! In these summer camps, your student will learn how to build stories, animations, games, and more. When your child returns to school this fall, they’ll have many coding projects to show their friends and teachers!
Coding during the summer is a great way to expose students to the field of computer science, which is becoming a necessary and popular addition to the K12 curriculum. As your child learns about computer science fundamentals, they will enhance their critical thinking skills and creativity. Learning to code helps develop other soft skills like socializing, building confidence, working together, problem-solving, and more. Some researchers found that students who received a CS education had a higher likely hood of enrolling in college and developing problem-solving skills. Schools are becoming aware of the need for computer science within the classroom because it teaches kids about their current world, especially as technology becomes part of daily life. It also prepares them to invest in their future.
CS education provides many students with opportunities for them in the future. The U.S. Department of Labor projects computer and information technology jobs will grow by about 15% from 2021 to 2031. Although these jobs are growing, there is a STEM problem. 67% of STEM jobs are in computing. However, only 11% of the STEM bachelors graduate with computer science as their major.
Finding which camps or activities to enroll your child in can be time-consuming, but fear not, for we have a list of the best summer coding programs your student will enjoy! We’ll recommend programs for ages five and up. From ScratchJr to AP Computer Science topics, you're sure to find a coding program that fits your student’s needs.
Discover Summer Coding Programs
Finding a summer coding program that works for your child takes time, so we made it easy by listing some camps below with student ages in mind. These programs are renowned for their in-demand curriculum, experienced staff, class outcomes, and more. These programs are intended for anyone age five and up. See which one your student can take part in this summer!
1. Create & Learn
Create & Learn offers online coding classes and camps all year long. Experts from prominent companies such as Apple, Google, and Airbnb, design the curriculum for each of their 35+ courses. Your child can learn coding concepts with tools like ScratchJr, Scratch, Minecraft, Roblox, Python, and more. Create & Learn provides online summer camps from July through September. Each camp runs for four consecutive days. Your student will be excited each day after learning new coding concepts and creating fun projects. Check out which course your student might like, and sign up today!
Pros: Live classes; Earn a certificate; Very small class size; Easy scheduling; Free trial classes; Fun, inquiry-based learning
Cons: Class meeting cadence may be too quick
Best for ages: 5 & up
Get started: If you’re eager to see which class your child might enjoy this summer, check out some of Create & Learn’s free coding intro classes.
2. Girls Who Code
Girls Who Code is an organization working to close the gender gap in tech. GWC alumni earned their computer science degree seven times the national average. The summer program here helps students prepare for technology-related careers. Students can meet leaders in tech, gain exposure to professions, and become a part of a supportive community. GWC offers two summer camps: a two-week immersion program and a six-week self-paced camp.
Pros: Build a community; Networking opportunities; Interactive projects; 100% Virtual
Cons: Six weeks to finish at your own pace; Networking is done virtually
Best for ages: High schoolers
Get started: Check out GWC’s at-home activities.
3. CS First
Google offers CS First, a program dedicated to providing educators tools and resources needed to expose computer science to younger students. Students watch videos about key concepts and apply their knowledge to block-based coding projects. CS First uses Scratch, a program designed to support creative learning experiences. CS First offers a curriculum that meets education standards like Common Core, Next Generation Science, Computer Science Teacher Association, and the International Society for Technology in Education.
Pros: Self-paced; Block-based programming; Multiple subject areas; Hour of Code options
Cons: No live classes; Might run into difficulties that must be solved on own
Best for ages: 8 & up
Get started: Try some Hour of Code lessons today with CS First.
Apple offers a development curriculum that makes it easy for students to code in Swift, a programming language used to create many Apple products. Students can download digital booklets that cover various topics like iOS development, UI editors, iOS APIs, and more. While learning Swift, students can download Apple’s Swift App Design Workbook to learn more about app design. Apple also offers people the opportunity to earn a certificate in Swift and take a professional training course.
Pros: A fantastic resource for kids interested in creating apps; Free to use; Designed by Apple experts
Cons: Self-taught material; Unsuitable for younger students
Best for ages: Middle and high schoolers
Get started: Learn the basics of Xcode and UI editors today with Apple’s iOS App Development course.
5. MIT Summer Programs
MIT hosts a couple of summer programs terrific for students interested in math, science, and engineering. It’s also fantastic for students who want to meet other kids interested in the same topics. MITES Summer is a six-week program where high school juniors can take up to five rigorous courses at MIT and gain experiences beneficial for college preparation. Students can also network with MITES alumni from MIT, Harvard, Princeton, Brown, and Stanford! MIT also has a Women’s Technology Program (WTP) that provides a four-week rigorous academic experience over the summer. Twenty high school students will learn about mechanical engineering through classes taught by MIT graduate and undergraduate students. These two programs will effectively introduce computer science-related material to your child and ensure they leave with the skills needed to strive in STEM.
Pros: Network with MIT students; Hands-on classes, labs, and team projects; Intense academic experience; Free to attend
Cons: Housing not provided; Some evening and weekend activities; Challenging to have other summer commitments
Best for ages: High school juniors
Get started: Check WTP’s FAQ page for more information about this impressive summer program. For more information on how to apply to MITES, check out their selection criteria and requirements.
6. National Geographic Engineering & Robotics
Did you know that science and high-tech tools are vital to the expeditions of National Geographic Explorers? Science and technology work together, which is why National Geographic offers a summer program where students can learn about artificial intelligence, robotics, and many intersections of tech and exploration. The camp ends with students creating a capstone project using science to address an important issue within their community. The summer program lasts for ten days and occurs twice in July. Students will stay on campus and meet with researchers at MIT!
Pros: Hands-on workshops; Work inside state-of-the-art research labs; Friendly hack-a-thon competitions
Cons: The itinerary may be super packed; Airfare is not part of the tuition
Best for ages: 13 & up
Get started: Start your child’s application process today.
Don't Miss Summer Coding Programs
There are many online summer coding programs for your child to enjoy this year, and we covered some of the best. Coding is a phenomenal skill for any child to learn. As Bill Gates once said, “learning to write programs stretches your mind, and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things,” which could be helpful in all domains. Let your child develop these essential skills by exposing them to the world of computer science this summer.
If you’re looking to get your child started before the summer, check out our programming for kids curriculum.
Written by Hunter Wilkinson, a fervent reader and learner. She got into education to share her passion for storytelling and STEAM instruction. In her free time, Hunter loves to write songs/poems, run, play video games, and hang out with her two fluffy cats.