Shopify's First Ever Code For Kids Was Amazing, Moar-ish

[Aside: If you're a Maritimer, you'll know what Moar-ish means. For you mainlanders, it means something you want MOAR of.]

A full house convened at Shopify last Saturday afternoon for the first ever Code for Kids workshop. The event was hosted by a young, energetic group of Shopify employees, spearheaded by Julian Nadeau. (You might have caught my interview with Julian last week.)

When I first walked into Shopify, I was flooded with memories of startups where I used to work. The funky design, the open spaces, the toys lying around everywhere. Startups are built for working hard and playing hard; the combination of flexible work spaces, loud colours, inappropriate artwork and toys seem specifically intended to spawn creativity and new ideas. Le sigh.

Hilariously inappropriate artwork at the Shopify entrance
The twenty kids present installed themselves in a large open space filled with tables and Raspberry Pi computers to learn the very basics of coding including if-then statements and if-then-otherwise statements. The formal instruction portion provided the kids with an overview of the basics using a very age-appropriate mix of videos and instructional segments. The kids were also introduced to Scratch, a basic programming software that can be used to create games. And then they were unleashed!

Julian and Edward leading the session
For a couple of hours, those kids toiled and chatted and played and created all sorts of video games by dragging, dropping and re-arranging if-then statements to drive the actions of their avatars. The Dude had a fantastic time and was especially excited that he got to take home the computer. Yeah, that's right. The kids all walked away from the session with a brand new Raspberry Pi, keyboard, mouse and the requisite cables to plug it into a tv or monitor (not included ;) We had proposed to get him a Raspberry Pi for his birthday (tomorrow), and then opted not tell him that he was going to get one with the workshop. He was beside himself.

Raspberry Pi computer
As for hubby and I, we hung out and chatted with the Shopify folks and some of the other parents, including my friend @SageCram and Twitter buddy @heyglenns. Sage and I figured that we would just be a distraction to our kids so we sat on a giant beanbag chair together and chatted about work and life. Not half bad for an afternoon, if I do say so myself.

Sage & I (don't you love her red shoes?)
The verdict? Well, the Dude can't stop going on about his new computer and the fact that he got to make a video game. He's even brought some of his friends over to check out the tiny Raspberry Pi. I'd say that it was a rousing success.

So the big question is: will Shopify do it again? According to the Code For Kids team, yes they have some other events in mind as early as June. And a little birdie even told me that they are looking at an online element to help kids learn python, ruby, etc. Sounds incredible! If you're interested, I suggest you head over to the Code For Kids site and sign up to the mailing list so that you don't miss out.

Beacuse, as @Heyglenns commented about the day:
I totally agree.