Hackbright Academy serves post baccalaureate women learning to code and become software engineers, but what about the girls?
Here are some ideas for cultivating programmatic thinking in younger girls:
Everyday Childhood Encouragement of Experimentation and STEM Discovery!
Here are 6 things you can do right now to help your children become more resilient as future innovators and leaders:
- Get a magazine subscription to Scientific American, Wired or Sky & Telescope (for future astronomers!). Google new terms and concepts with your child. Instead of fairy tales, tell your daughter science bedtime stories. As a parent, you have the opportunity to nurture positive gender stereotypes.
- Make “11 Experiments That Failed”, “Rosie Revere, Engineer”, “When I Grow Up”, “The Paper Bag Princess”, and “Career Day” your coffee table books for growing young minds to peruse.
- Read up on Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck’s Fixed vs. Growth Mindset concept to set up your child for success by fine-tuning her internal monologue around failure and growth.
- Leave some crayons next to a copy of “LadyAda’s E for is for Electronics” coloring book from Adafruit Industries. Pro tip: bookmark the “young engineers” section of the website for intro to electronics kits and circuit plushies for aspiring young engineers!
- Toys are an easy win for future inventors – Toward The Stars can recommend some toys like littleBits (electronic Legos), GoldieBlox (construction toys/books) and Roominate (imagine dollhouses with working circuits and fans!) to start.
- Join the Girl Scouts! Explore the requirements for Girl Scout badges for STEM proficiency by completing projects for “Science and Technology” badges and “Innovation” badges!
Educational Programming Languages
- Alice is a free 3D programming environment for kids (ages 10+), and there is a Storytelling Alice for your story-loving child.
- For your iPad, there’s Daisy the Dinosaur – a free app that teaches programming fundamentals to kids (ages 3+). There is also Hopscotch, a free app that teaches kids to make apps.
- Scratch is a robust MIT project to help kids (ages 8-16) develop animations, interactive stories and games. There is also App Inventor to build an Android app, which is best for junior high kids and older.
- Check out Blockly and Blockly Games, a set of educational games to teach programming to kids of all ages.
- Kodable is a great app for iPhone and iPad to teach kids (ages 5+) programming. Bonus: female founder Grechen Huebner!
Camps for Girls – Future Inventors, Programmers And Leaders
Silicon Valley parents sign up children (ages 6-18) for iD Tech camps at local universities to teach kids to program.
There’s also Alexa Cafe, the all-girls version of iD Tech camp for girls (ages 10-15).
Bay Area non-profit Iridescent runs a fantastic Curiosity Camp (ages 3-10) to introduce kids to the art of observation in nature, engineering, and robots!
There’s Girls Make Games with camps introducing girls (ages 11-14) to game design, game art and programming.
Don’t forget – you can enroll your daughters in Computer and LEGO® Summer Day Camps for children (ages 5-16) in the Bay Area, and check out the offerings at Digital Media Academy summer camps at UC Berkeley for children (ages 12-17).
There are also Summer Camps for students in grades 4-8 at the Tech in San Jose, California. For more summer activities for children, especially those around computers and technology, check out ActivityHero for classes and summer camps.