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10 Coding Lessons Under $500 For Children Under 15 During The School Holidays

Learning block-based programming can help your child pick up programming languages more easily later on in life


Aside from the advantages that could be bestowed from knowing how to code in the economy of the future, coding is also a very thinking-intensive endeavour. Learning to code helps train the child in sequential thinking, repetition, as well as conditional thinking. More importantly, code is typically deployed to solve a problem, and many coding centres have been training students with problem-solving skills on top of learning to code. Here are some coding lessons your child can attend to pick up coding during the school holidays.

What Language To Learn

One of the most asked questions from parents is what language the child should learn. Each language has its own features and strengths and may be more commonly used for specific purposes. For instance, Python may be more suitable for data analytics, C++ may be more useful for machine control and robotics, and Javascript for web-based applications.

It is recommended to start with a block-based coding language for children under the age of 8, since they would have typically not yet learnt how to use a keyboard. Block-based coding languages bypass the need to type but allow students to learn the logic of coding while they get to be inspired with what coding can accomplish.

For older children, Python is one of the more commonly used coding languages, which makes it immediately relevant for a wide range of applications thereafter. Nevertheless, the biggest benefit to a child learning to code is the fact that it is easier to pick up a second language once you have mastered the first, because many coding concepts (such as loops, conditionals and variables) are similar across coding languages.

Read Also: 5 Online Enrichment Classes (From $110) To Find Your Child’s Talent Area For Direct School Admission

Scratch 3.0 (Block-based)

Children are commonly very excited about playing games and getting them to make games is a good way to learn to code by writing code to control the logic of a game’s function. Aside from making games, Scratch 3.0 can also be used to do other coding-based functions and can even do some simple animations.

#1 Nullspace – Build From Scratch Series ($460)

Nullspace Build From Scratch Series is mainly focused on making a jumping platformer game. Children will be guided to create a character and to make code to codify the game mechanics.

Duration: 10 h (4 sessions X 2.5h)

Cost: $460 (further discounts available by purchasing larger course packages)

Age: 8+

Locations: Rochester Mall, Kallang Wave Mall, SAFRA Tampines

#2 Codinglab – Scratch 1 & 2 ($395 & $445 respectively)

Scratch 1 and 2 are 10 hour courses which are progressive. Scratch 1 must be completed before moving on to Scratch 2. No prior experience is required for Scratch 1. These classes are a pre-requisite for their Young Computer Scientists course, which are a pre-requisite for other coding classes such as Python.

Duration: 10h

Age: 7 – 9

Location: Bukit Timah, Parkway Parade

#3 Computhink- Scratch Game Coder ($487)

Computhink’s scratch game coder is a course that teaches children how to make games in scratch.

Duration: 12h (4 sessions X 3h)

Fees: $487

Location Computhink @ Toa Payoh

Age: 7 – 12

#4 Youtube – (Free)

There are some good resources on YouTube. Channels such as Griffpatch do give some high-quality tutorials for free. The upside of YouTube tutorials is that children can follow in their own time and can re-play the video if they missed certain instructions.

The two main downsides is that it may require some parental attention to ensure that your children remain task-focused, and also that if they get stuck, it may be difficult for you to help if you are not familiar with the platform.

The last downside is that such resources can only teach children to code on a copy-and-paste basis, which does not challenge them to think outside the box or deeply understand the code. Learning to code from a skilled teacher is generally more valuable.

Nevertheless, YouTube tutorials still have value, in that they can be used to extend the learning and increase the child’s engagement with coding outside of class. Since the child is already familiar with the interface, they are likely to engage with the materials independently.

Read Also: 5 Skills Your Kids Can Pick Up Before School Semester Starts

Minecraft Education Coding (Block-based)

Minecraft is a sandbox that was developed in 2011 by Mojang Studios. An education version of the game was launched in 2016, and over time it has incorporated education elements which have enabled educators to teach subjects related to nature, geography, history, science, and even coding. Minecraft education is capable of using block-based coding, or python and javascript.

#5 Nullspace – Minecraft Coding Series ($460)

The Minecraft Coding Series from Nullspace has two separate workshops, each 10h long split across 4 sessions on consecutive days. Workshop A is mainly situated in the overworld, while workshop B will go into other dimensions.

Duration: 10h (4 sessions X 2.5h)

Cost: $460 (further discounts available by purchasing larger course packages)

Locations: Rochester Mall, Kallang Wave Mall, SAFRA Tampines

#6 Computhink – Minecraft coding Adventuers ($468)

Duration: 12h (4 sessions X 3h)

Cost: $486

Location: Computhink @ Toa Payoh Library

#7 Empirecode – Minecraft Summer Camp

Duration: 10h (4 X 2.5h)

Cost: Single Camp $350 (without iPad/laptop rental), $410 (including ipad/laptop rental)

Location: Novena Centre

Age: 8 – 12

#8 Youtube (Free)

Some resources exist on YouTube for free, however the quality of these resources are not generally very high especially since most of them do not have heavy emphasis on using code. In addition to this, you will need to purchase, download and install Minecraft Education, which costs US$12 per year.

In addition to this, there also needs to be some effort from the parental end to curate resources and to supervise the child to ensure that they are focused on learning to code rather than just playing Minecraft.

Read Also: How Much Does It Cost To Send Your Child To Popular Enrichment Classes?

Python

Python is one of the most commonly-used programs for a few reasons – it has a more user-friendly syntax, which cuts down on use of special characters and punctuations and many users have developed libraries for it, which means that it is easier to adapt Python for various uses. Most commonly, it has been used for data science and data analytics.

Python is much harder to learn for free from YouTube because it does require a high degree of self-directedness from the child. In addition to this, most online resources for Python are not targeted at children and are instead targeted at teens or adults. This makes the content less engaging and interesting. In addition to this, fixing bugs in the code may be a much more difficult process since the errors may be difficult to spot to the untrained eye. ChatGPT may be able to assist to some degree on this, but it may not always be able to yield working code.

#9 Nullspace – Data Analyst Certificate Programme ($460)

Source: Nullspace

The Nullspace Data Analyst Certificate Programme teaches students the basics of Python and applies it to data analytics applications. There are six levels in total, Python 101 – Python 302, each level being 4 sessions of 2.5h each. At the end of each two levels there is a Computer Science And Robotics Certification (CSARC) test, which awards a certificate.

Duration: 10h per level (4 X 2.5h)

Fees: $460 per level (Cheaper if you purchase larger course packages)

#10 Coding:Lab – Python Junior 1 & 2 ($450 each)

Python Junior 1 is a pre-requisite to attending Python Junior 2. In order to attend Python Junior 1, students must either attend and achieve 8 Young Computer Scientists badges, or take a placement test.

Duration: 10h

Fees: $450 per level

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