Tag Archives: life lessons

7 resources to help kids Learn to Code this summer

apple 2014 retail_learn_youth_camp

The case for why kids need to understand tech as an important 21st century skill has been made (see awesome code.org video on this here), but it’s not yet a core concept taught as part of the basic school curriculum.

So here are few options for parents interested in helping their kids develop tech skills this summer:

1. FREE – Virtual Google “Maker” camps – “Building, Tinkering and Exploring” 6 weeks starting July 7th 11 a.m. PST 

Google is offering six weeks of fun things to make and do for kids – all they need is a Google+ account and access to a PC, smartphone or tablet (if they are younger than 13, they will need to use the account of a parent).  The Maker Camps will have a weekly structure. In the morning, kids will complete a creative DIY project (for example a toy rocket) and in the afternoon they will also use Google Hangouts to talk to expert artists, makers and inventors as well as do virtual field trips to locations including Legoland in Denmark and Jim Henson’s Creature Workshop. See more here.

2. FREE – Sign up for a class at an Apple store – Various locations – local schedule 

At the Apple Store, you will find a variety of programs tailored just for kids, no purchase required. Youth Workshops, Field Trips, and Apple Camp are great ways to get kids thinking, learning, and creating — all while having fun. See more here.

3. $45: Learn to Code for Girls in Vancouver – Be like Ada – Sat, July 19th

Ada Lovelace, the beautiful black and white movie star and also a prolific tech inventor is the inspiration behind this one day bootcamp is for high-school girls only. They can learn to code and meet other girls just like them and hear from superhero women who have cool jobs because they code. To register, go to:www.belikeada.com

4. Code Kids Canada

See this CBC documentary for how and why kids are learning to code in the Maritimes. Inspirational videos galore you can show your kids to get them motivated. Motivation is then often enough to get them interested in using the many online and apps available to learn tech (see esp choice 1 above and 8 below).

5. Coder Dojo – Weekend Learn to Code for kids

CoderDojo is a global movement about providing free and open learning to youth, with an emphasis on computer programming. There are Coder Dojos in Toronto and Calgary, and one is being set up here in Vancouver.

6. Digital Media Academy – Summer Camps – $900+

This amazing opportunity to get top notch exposure to all aspects related to technology creation and use does not come cheap – but is now an option available across Canada. Week long summer camp classes for kids aged 8 to 12 and 13 and older covering a multitude of topics (film creating, game design, iPhone programming, robotics, app development etc) can cost around $900 each – sign up here for the few spots left. They have been doign in since 2002 and apparently, it is a life changing experience.

7. Apps and Games – Learn as You Play (ok for kids 8+)

 My Robot Friend allows kids to program the path of a funny robot and follow it’s adventures – hilarious and educational. Download here.

 The concept is simple — direct a robotic arm to move crates to a designated spot — but Cargo-Bot creates young programmers as it encourages the kind of innovative thinking necessary to learn programming skills. Download it here.

Hopscotch, is a simpler version of MIT’s scratch, and is AWESOME. It allows kids to quickly create games and animations by simple drag and drop of different commands. Kids can modify everything from size to speed to color – and see the results fast which is something that gets them hooked. Download it here.

Alexandra T. Greenhill, MD, mom, geek, CEO co-founder myBestHelper


10 Life Lessons to Teach Your Kids – from Joel Peterson, CEO of JetBlue

You know that feeling you get when your son or daughter is heading into something new. They’re excited, and you’re a little nervous, maybe a little scared for them. You walk down memory lane, remembering the good times, but also the mistakes you made, and the embarrassment/pain/stress that came with them. And you want to share every lesson you learned, small or big, that helped you get where you are today. Fast-track them past the tough stuff.

But as Joel Peterson, Chairman of JetBlue Airways, reminds us, the best way to help them isn’t give a summary of all the mistakes you’ve made. It’s to teach them lessons they can use to cope when they make their own mistakes.

These are Joel Peterson’s 10 Life Lessons to teach your kids before they leave  home (read full LinkedIn article here.)

  1. Don’t be afraid to fail
  2. Find the good in yourself.
  3. And see the good in others, too.
  4. There’s no substitute for hard work.
  5. Building great habits is critical.
  6. Don’t expect fairness – at least in the short run.
  7. Be kind – it has more power than you think. 
  8. Take yourself out of the center.
  9. Embrace reality.
  10. “Solve” for the long term. 

Do you agree with these? Like to let us know, or share a comment about what life lessons you’d add or change.

Stephanie Phillips, Community Manager, myBestHelper

Stories for smart kids: How to split a cake so everyone gets a fair share


For recipe – see Brit + Co. Rainbow Cake


One day, the teacher brought the most amazing cake into a classroom. She set it down and asked the children to help decide how to split it so it’s fair.

One child suggested that they all get exactly the same amount. But then another intervened to say that it would be better to give more to the bigger kids as they needed more energy. 

“On the contrary!” said another, “the smaller kids should get more so they can grow bigger faster.”

A tiny voice then said: “But it’s my birthday next week, so I should get a bigger part than all the other children”. Another child chimed in saying it was her birthday the week prior, so she should get a larger portion too.

On hearing this, three children whose birthdays were six months away, jumped up and said: “It’s not fair! You are getting birthday cakes this month already, and ours are a long time away yet. Plus we are older, so we can eat more.”

The teacher listened to all that and asked for silence. She then asked the children whether it made sense if she were to reward with bigger slices the students who were never late to class or did better on tests and homework. Or maybe everyone could get a small equal slice and then only the students who were hungry for more, could get a second piece. 

“Lets vote and see which of these ideas you like the most” said the teacher, “Or we can roll a dice and see what number comes up by chance – these are two other ways of making the process fair.” 

Amazed, the students realized that what was fair really depended on how you chose to look at it and what the group agreed to. So – if this was you, how would YOU split the cake?

Original story by Alexandra T. Greenhill, physician mom CEO myBestHelper (inspired by the economics concept of cake cutting as illustration for fair division)