Summer Screen Time Series: Minecraft and Coding

At LW4K.com we believe that executive functioning and technology skills will be crucial for children to be successful in the 21st century. While not every child will need to become an expert at computer programming or video game design, most kids will benefit from technology-enhanced opportunities to collaborate and  communicate. Technology-based jobs are the fastest-growing sector of the economy as we move to the 2030s. Beyond the fun and educational opportunities for kids who love computers,  learning to program also involves creativity and applying executive functions. Skills such as flexibility, planning, and working memory are crucial to computer programming. If your child is interested in learning programming, they are likely to pick up many other skills in classes when teachers highlight their thinking strategies. Our team at LearningWorks for Kids was very impressed with the instructors at Fleming Tech Camps because that is exactly what they do. 

The programs at Fleming Tech Camps recognize the importance of social connections, character development, and helping kids to utilize their executive functioning skills in their classrooms. This inclusive approach was refined during the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally, all of their day camps and classes took place in person. As a result of COVID-19 they converted their classes using Zoom and Discord. Once they began this approach they found that the campers were able to design games, go on game-based adventures, and wanted to connect and solve problems with each other.

One of their favorite games at Fleming Tech Camps is Minecraft. Just like our lw4k.com classes, they found that Minecraft is incredibly flexible and adaptable to all types of kids. The open-ended nature of Minecraft lends itself to kids being able to work independently or as a team. They can take on large projects such as building a city or smaller ones such as creating a small home. 

Live online video game-based classes such as the executive function-focused classes that we offer at lw4k.com and the programming classes offered by Fleming Tech Camps engage kids to think critically, communicate about problems, and adapt to frustration. The teachers at Fleming Tech Camps observed how many of their campers were initially quite reserved but still wanted to share their Minecraft creations with their peers and instructors. The sense of improved self-esteem and capacity to communicate was an added side benefit to the programming skills that they mastered.

With the summer approaching, our team at LW4K wants to strongly encourage kids (and their parents) to get outside, be physically active for many hours each day, and spend time with their peers and their families. A healthy summer Play Diet does have room for digital play as well. To make the most of your child’s screen time, camps such as those offered by Fleming Tech Camps and classes at lw4k.com offer a way to combine fun with learning. These types of structured video game camps are a wonderful opportunity for kids to learn new skills, connect with their peers, and have a great time. 

 

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