If you're looking for your child's next hobby, well, you're in luck.
Coding might sound an unlikely choice, but it's something kids are right into.
Ben Levi, founder of Code Camp, a business that teaches coding, says his venture all began through the interest of kids. "My co-founder Pete and I were both in the tech space already, and a whole bunch of kids were asking us how to code. I asked Pete, who used to be a teacher, if we could put some kids in the classroom, could he teach them to build some apps."
The growth of the camp, which includes school holiday programs and after school sessions, has shown how interested kids are in these new skills. "We started as a hobby, teaching kids how to build products and iPhone apps using code, and it just grew organically," says Levi. "It went from eight kids to 12 to 50 to 100, and now we've taught 15,000 kids over the last two years. Now we have 23 full-time staff and 1070 casual staff."
Why enrol your kids into coding camp? Here are a few great reasons.
Skills that can be adapted to many situations
Sending your child to Code Camp won't necessarily mean they'll be a software developer, but they'll learn skills that can help them in many situations.
"We take them through the journey of understanding the logic, computational thinking, problem solving, being creative and the fun of building things that people can actually use," Levi says. "They learn a lot; we have eight-year-olds learning about things like physics and gravity, which they wouldn't normally be taught – or at least not in a fun way!"
Seeing their future
You can't be what you can't see, the saying goes.
These sessions have innovative ways of teaching coding at levels appropriate for different age groups (from ages five to 12) and abilities – and these are skills that are going to benefit them for years to come.
"Jobs of the future are going to be about being creative, breaking down problems and finding solutions, and that's really what coding is. It's about knowing the type of game or app you want to build and then figuring out how to make it work," says Levi. "It's really about trying something different and learning the skills of the future."
A confidence booster
This could be the clincher for kids who are still searching for their 'thing'.
"What we focus on is the outcome; we have eight-year-olds with apps on the App Store," says Levi, "and they walk away feeling so confident that they go back into their normal classroom and excel because they finally have the confidence in something."
A love of technology – for all sorts of kids
Forget the stereotypes you might have in mind when it comes to coding: girls and boys of all personality types can get into it.
"It gets the sporty kids and the non-sporty kids sitting side-by-side, having fun," Levi says. "At the moment we have about 40 per cent of girls attending. If you look in the industry, less than 5 per cent of software developers are women, but we know that the younger we go the more we can get girls engaged in technology and coding."
Making friends and teaching others
Code Camp is incredibly social: kids meet new friends, work together and have some active time away from screens too.
"We have kids who have come back more than a dozen times, and some older kids who come back as teacher assistants and helping the younger students," says Levi. "They take on a mentoring role which helps them learn some other new skills."
The empowerment of creating technology
Technology use is often criticised for being passive, but coding gives kids the opportunity to take a more active role.
"They get the chance to be a creator, not just a consumer, of technology. Most kids are consumers – watching YouTube and playing games – but there's so much to learn," says Levi.
And at the end of their coding camp, your child will have created something unique. Levi says, "You can expect your kids to have an incredibly fun and engaging time at Code Camp building a product they're really proud of: a game that can be downloaded and shared with their friends and family."