ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – One of Albuquerque’s newest venues is finding a new way to ‘entertain’ during the coronavirus. They’ve created a STEM camp for kids, offering a safe place for fun and learning this summer.
Electric Playhouse brings science and technology to life through immersive experiences. However, with shutdowns due to the coronavirus, they wanted to figure out a way to still serve the community and give kids a place to go while parents head back to work.
“We have a lot of room with a lot of space for people to run around and move,” said John-Mark Collins, founder and CEO of Electric Playhouse. “Trying to find offerings that are still safe and meet the guidelines as proposed.”
As a result, they launched a kids camp, CODENAME: PLAY. Electric Playhouse is teaching kids the very basics of computer coding, the same coding used to make these visual experiences.
“We decided to accelerate that and create a camp that allows kids to engage with the real beginnings of code,” said Collins. “It allows people to see kind of the very beginnings of what it is that we do. Ultimately we’d like to have some advanced camps within the next several months hopefully where people can actually create a game and then play it in our space.”
The STEM-based camp is open to kids ages 6-12. It involves everything from using code to create sounds, build and resize animals and more.
“We need kids to be at a moderately early reading level at least to be able to use the keyboard,” said Collins. “They’ve got to understand the alphabet.”
The camp costs $200 per week and runs five days a week with lunch included. There are two sessions to choose from, including a morning session from 9 a.m. to noon, as well as an afternoon session from 1-4 p.m. There are five campers per instructor.
“While our main play space remains closed until a future date when we can be open, we do have the immersive dinners at 50-percent occupancy, the camps are a small 5-to-1 ratio,” said Collins. “We’re able to do small little bits here and there and we’re really excited for things to get back to normal and we can open up all the rest of the games.”
Electric Playhouse is also planning on a partnership with Nusenda Credit Union to pay the camp tuition for 12 disadvantaged kids in the area, in the coming weeks. Electric Playhouse plans to continue the kids camp during the upcoming school year.