Capture the flag, tennis and video game design. Summer camps have long been a rite of passage for kids, and in recent times, computers and technology have added to the experience.
TinkerBuilderGamerPi is a STEM-based, educational camp in Leslieville that introduces kids aged 7 to 13 to the world of computer science through gaming. In the span of a week from scratch to play, kids learn how to make their very own video game — no skills required.
"When we were kids, we loved video games, and we still do," says Joe Lofranco, one of the founders of TinkerBuilderGamerPi. "We figured, what better way to introduce kids to the world of computer science than through gaming?"
With weeklong sessions running July 9 - Aug. 24, here's why to choose TinkerBuilderGamerPi to make campers happy with the most fun, tech-filled summer yet.
FUN IS NO. 1
TinkerBuilderGamerPi introduces fundamental concepts of game design, and campers can expect to be intellectually and creatively challenged in a positive, energetic and fun environment. It's not just about learning skills, it's about creating lasting memories with a group. Building something together is an incredibly rewarding experience. Just think — what would your child create?
"When I was a kid, my friends and I used to spend hours drawing video games. We'd take pencil to paper and create new levels for Super Mario Bros. or make our own games," Lofranco says. "I can’t imagine having the opportunity to actually create a playable game. Kids enjoy TinkerBuilderGamerPi because they’re building what they love. Parents love it because the kids are getting a good introduction to key educational concepts."
What do Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Elon Musk have in common? They're all pioneers and entrepreneurs in the white-hot fields of science, technology engineering and math — better known as STEM. It’s a big buzzword right now, but there's substance behind the hype. As each of these fields continuously expands into every aspect of our lives, these are practical skills to have.
NEED TO KNOW
WHO: Open to kids aged 7-9 or 10-13
WHEN: Weeklong sessions run July 9 - Aug. 24 (no camp week of Aug. 6). Drop-off starts at 8 a.m. and pick-up ends at 6 p.m. daily.
WHERE: 64 Laing St., Toronto (south of Queen, west of Greenwood). Parking available.
WHAT ELSE: Pack lunches and nut-free snacks. Weather permitting, lunch and snack time will be held outdoors at Maple Leaf Forever Park, located directly south of the camp.
CONTACT: For more information, visit tinkerbuildergamerpi.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or
Campers at TinkerBuilderGamerPi will be exposed to STEM programs, and given opportunities to explore related concepts, so they'll develop a passion and be set up for a job in the field. Although they might not be entering the workforce any time soon, TinkerBuilderGamerPi can help lay the foundation for what’s to come.
Days at TinkerBuilderGamerPi are multidisciplinary: kids are learning logic through coding; art when creating their characters and backgrounds; language skills when creating their games’ narratives; and collaboration as they work together to create their game.
"We go through the game design, but we also look at art creation (the characters, background, etc.); narrative and storytelling which, in my opinion, is what makes good games really stand out; and music & sound, like background music and sound effects."
SMALL GROUP SIZES
Class sizes are kept small so campers get all the support they need throughout the learning process. The team at TinkerBuilderGamerPi comes from a wide range of disciplines and include digital design gurus, coders, teachers, 3D artists and script writers.
Kids learn with the same tool the pros use to build high-quality 3D and 2D games. "They’ll learn the ins-and-outs of Unity, game design software through which they’ll be exposed to coding logic, basic problem solving, creating 2D and 3D art, storytelling techniques, and collaborative working."
EASY FOR PARENTS
Charging parents for before- and after-care is making summer camps more unaffordable and inconvenient as parents coordinate their busy schedules — the anxiety of the 5 p.m. deadline!
TinkerBuilderGamerPi opens its doors at 8 a.m. and invites kids to stay as late as 6 p.m., making it easy for you to get to camp and home each day without the worried rush. The best part: it's local. TinkerBuilderGamerPi’s summer sessions are being held at Queen and Greenwood.
BONUS: YOU GET A DEAL
Get 15% off the cost of a weeklong sessions when you use promo code Tinker15 on TinkerBuilderGamerPi's sign-up page. And because TBGP is a non-profit organization focused on STEM education, it is HST-exempt — the price you see is the price you pay.