Computer & Technology Classes for Kids

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Schools that offer 3-D printing classes

Oct 2014

Does anyone know of any schools that have incorporated 3-Dimensional printing in the curriculum and who are full-S.T.E.A.M. ahead with that kind of technology? I have a daughter and I feel like alot of schools offer that kind of thing to boys, and would like to know of a school public or private that takes that seriously. I want my daughter to have that chance. curious mom

Our middle school (Portola- now Korematsu) in West Contra Costa Unified School District offers a ''Gateway to Technology'' class that is outfitted with a 3-d printer. The technology in the classroom (computers, etc..) was subsidized by Chevron to promote STEM careers starting with middle schoolers. Both my daughter and son have taken that class as their chosen elective (it is not part of core curriculum) and loved it. Emphasis is on learning how to design and then ''print'' objects ranging from chess pieces and rockets to ear phones. The class also provides the opportunity to learn coding. anon

Black Pine Circle School has been a leader in 3D printing in education. They have four 3D printers, all of which are maintained (hardware and software) and operated by students. There is a ''Maker'' component in the incorporated into the middle school science/technology curriculum. As part of this, students worked with the ALS at Berkeley Lab to scan materials (such as an egg shell), and print magnified versions so they could examine their structure. There is an after school Maker Club which includes 3D printing along with other maker activities. Black Pine Circle makers were part of the White House Maker Faire this summer, and exhibit at both the East Bay Mini-Maker Faire and the full scale San Mateo Maker Faire. Check out their 3D printing blog at Karen

Redwood Day School, an independent school in Oakland, is doing a FABULOUS job implementing a STEAM-based curriculum and will be erecting a new building (to be opened by Fall 2016) that will house an innovation lab in between new science labs and an art room. Right now RDS offers two after-school courses: one in 3D printing (and lots of girls take the class) and one about building machines that foster creativity. My 5th-grade son is taking the latter class now and they are building a 3D printer that they will then use. He is very excited. If your child is approaching middle school and you would consider a private school, please check out RDS ( My son is a TOTAL engineering/technically-oriented child and I am so excited for the opportunities he will have at RDS. Liz O.

Black Pine Circle School, a K-8 school in Berkeley, has a strong maker culture, with a middle school Maker Club,, and the entire school is immersed in Science-Technology-Engineering-Art-Math at all grade levels. The middle school science teacher is a really cool woman who could be a wonderful role model to your technology-interested daughter. BPC is hosting a viewing of the ''Maker'' documentary with a discussion afterwards.

Also, College Preparatory School (CPS), a high school in Oakland, opened up a new ''X-Lab'' last school year with 3-D printers and other fun tech tools. My daughter used the 3-D printer to create a fan blade (solar powered) for her Rube Goldberg machine in her Advanced Physics class last year. - Sharon (parent of BPC and CPS graduates)

Hi - come visit Park Day School! Park Day integrates STEAM into the curriculum beginning in Kindergarten. We (staff, parents and kids) just completed the construction of an on-site Innovation Design Space that is being used by all the classes as they integrate design thinking and technology in to the curriculum in all grades. Park is a K-8 progressive school that believes in project-based learning and fostering children\xc3\xa2\xe2\x82\xac\xe2\x84\xa2s full capacity, confidence, and creativity to be agents of change. The Innovation Space will have 3-D printing but so much more as it expands to its full potential. Park Day partners and collaborates with Harvard's Graduate School of Education and its Agency by Design project to develop curriculum targeted to 21st century STEAM skills. With this dedicated space full of tools and materials, faculty are already expanding their progressive practice by enabling more complex, more interdisciplinary, and more emergent hands-on projects. Students of all ages also now have a supervised but informal place to gather, tinker, share ideas, and mentor one another across age groups. Check out Park Day School! Happy Park Day parent

Not sure where you live, but Korematsu Middle School in El Cerrito (formerly Portola) offers a Gateway to Technology elective where the students design 3D models in Autodesk. It is very cool. The school also has a 3D printer. There may be more boys than girls in the class, but there are several girls and girls are definitely welcome. Korematsu parent

Do you know about the Curiosity hacked Oakland lab on 60th & Telegraph. They are an awesome non-profit that focuses on STEAM education. Their open source programs introduce children to new technology providing hands-on skills, mentorship, family engagement and excitement. They have a 3D printer on site at their location and free drop-in hours on Sundays for interested children & their parents to work together on mentor-led projects.

By the way, Peralta Elementary uses them for after school enrichment. An awesome Peralta mom of a 3rd grade girl created a week-long, all-girl summer camp, entitled, Scientific Adventures for Girls, at Curiosity Hacked this past August that my daughter still raves about. It was a first for a camp like this, and quite successful. Check out Curiosity Hacked and see if might pique your daughter's interest. Definitely keep the camp on file for next summer! Mom of Geeky Wannabe Girl Scientist

I have an 8-year-old daughter at Redwood Day School who is starting her second year of 3D printing in Redwood's after school program. The Director of After-School Programs and the Director of Technology put together what I think is a world-class technology program for our students that includes 3D printing, Minecraft and robotics. Our students have access to multiple 3D printers and the newest Structure Sensor - a 3D scanner that automatically captures 3D models of everyday objects and will allow students to take their 3D designs to the next level. Redwood Day School strives to make these classes equally attractive to boys and girls and the current boy-girl ratio is pretty balanced.

The more traditional classes like Cartooning & Drawing and Carpentry are still a central part of the after school curriculum, but the school has been forward thinking to incorporate technologies, just as they have for the arts. It is pretty amazing to see all students thrive in this environment, boys and girls alike.

Since you did ask about the school's focus on STEAM, Redwood Day School's head of school, John Loeser, has a definitive vision for technology and engineering and has spearheaded a very successful campaign to build an innovation center which is currently under construction. Upon completion, it will rival a facility in the Silicon Valley. In addition to hiring an innovation coach, a dedicated K-5 science teacher is on staff to teach in the new lower school science lab that has just been completed. Redwood Day School Parent

Electronics class for 7 year old tinkerer

Jan 2012

My 7-year-old son is obsessed with creating his own electronic circuits. He browses the resistors and potentiometers at Radio Shack and has big ideas about making calculators from scratch. This usually ends up in frustration because the plans are so complex, and I don't know enough about it to help him work things through. I'm hoping to find out about a local class or private lessons for him. We live in the Oakland/Piedmont area but would be willing to travel a bit. I'd also like to hear about any good books on the subject. (We already have Snap Circuits; he is more interested in soldering his own inventions). Thanks for any suggestions!

The Crucible in Oakland has electronics classes for kids in their summer youth program. And TechShop in SF has electronic classes for kids - even a soldering class. Have fun! Barry

Media Technology Classes or Camp

March 2011

Are there classes or camps that teach kids how to program video games? My son is mainly interested in playing games, but I wanted to try and interest him in a more creative direction. Ideas? Curious Mom

The ID Tech camps might work for you. They are day camps or overnight camps which last one to two weeks housed on a college campus. They have camps at Berkeley. You can find out about it by entering ID camps in your search engine. Sue

UC has computer games summer camps. Check out their Dept of Education website. I think it's call ATDP. Been there

Not sure how old your son is, but my 10-year-old had fun at Camp Galileo taking a computer games programming class.

Electronics class for 14-year-old

April 2009

My 14-yr old son wants to take electronics this summer. I have a good idea of the arts and crafts classes offered around the East Bay, but no clue as to electronics courses. We live in Danville, but could drive 20 miles or so each way. Any suggestions? Key

HI Key, You may want to check out IDTech Camps offered at Stanford,Berkeley,and I think Cal State East Bay Universities.Their web site is ,or call 1- 888-709-TECH(8324) Denise

Computer camp for 9-year-old

January 2003

My 9 year old son wants very much to go to a computer camp this summer. We live in Berkeley and we're looking for a day camp, not a sleep-over camp. Any and all recommendations appreciated! Kim

Check out Cybercamps by Giant Campus. Based in Seattle, but they have programs all over -- including at UC Berkeley. Takes kids from 7 to 16. Good instructors. My daughter (11) went last year and loved it. Pricey, but each kid has her/his own computer and doesn't have to share as in some other programs. Here's the link to their home page. Norm



March 2001

St. Paul's Episcopal School near Lake Merritt in Oakland has a good summer computer camp that is pretty reasonable. My daughter attended last year and enjoyed it. Info for the 2000 summer session is at, and they will be posting info for the 2001 sessions soon. I know that they have brochures available for 2001- if you call they will send you one. Dianne

March 2000

Two years ago my son attended East Bay Schools of the Arts on Virginia Street in Berkeley. He took computer graphics and magic classes for 3 weeks, half day. They have a 3 weeks or 6 weeks half or full day program.....variety of classes. It's expensive but he enjoyed it. At the end of the three weeks they had an open house for families. I would read Parent Press for summer ideas. Doreen

Go to for a great computer camp- it's unique because during certain weeks it has a girl specific option. Usually these sessions have about 50/50 boy-girl ratio,both in students and staff, unlike most computer camps which are almost all boys. Closest camp is St. Mary's College in Orinda- very close to Berkeley/Oakland, small classes, and beautiful college environment. Other sites are Stanford, Santa Clara. See the site for details. -- Diane

Two years ago my son attended East Bay School of the Arts on Virginia Street in Berkeley. He took computer graphics and magic classes for 3 weeks, half day. They have a 3 weeks or 6 weeks half or full day program.....variety of classes. It's expensive but he enjoyed it. At the end of the three weeks they had an open house for families. -- Dorene

May 1999

For the parent who's looking for a computer-oriented summer program for her 11 yr old son, I recommend the 2-wk computer summer day camps for 3rd thru 8th graders (one is computers and science, and the other is advanced computers) at St. Paul's Espiscopal School near Lake Meritt in Oakland. I'm not sure if they're full yet, but call and ask for the summer program director. -- Dianne