Oh boy. Where do we even start with this one? First, let’s just say that even if you have a passing interest . . . no, zero interest . . . in technology, you’re going to think this new state-of-the-art Lincoln Park facility that teaches kids how to code is quite possibly the coolest thing you’ve ever seen. Read on to hear how Codeverse will change the way you look at the traditional classroom and your definition of languages.

What is this Codeverse place you speak of?
Besides being a visually stunning 3,600-square-foot facility, it’s the world’s first fully interactive coding studio designed for kids ages 6-12 with a pretty lofty mission in mind — to teach one billion kids to code using their proprietary language, KidScript. Think of it as a school for learning a vital foreign language the kids of today will most definitely need to know in the future: coding.

What is KidScript?
KidScript is the first-ever programming language designed specifically for kids that’s meant to be a gateway to the languages it borrows from: Ruby, JavaScript, Visual Basic and Python. Kids at the beginning stages of exploring coding can get overwhelmed by some of the complexities associated with mature coding languages, so KidScript is built with easy to read and write syntax that’s simple and intuitive. Other options on the market offer kids a drag-and-drop option for programming, while KidScript actually allows kids to write code which gives them more power to create exactly what they want. And, it’s so straightforward, even a sleep-deprived parent could do it!

Who is behind the creation of Codeverse?
This passion project that’s been more than a year in the making was started by serial tech entrepreneurs that have launched 12 startups between the three of them: Katy Lynch, former Techweek CEO; Craig Ulliott, Founder of Belly and Facebook’s Where I’ve Been app; and Dave Arel, Cofounder/CTO of Roniin. With 90% of schools not offering computer programming classes despite a job market that’s begging for skilled professionals, Codeverse’s launch in Chicago and their planned growth internationally is setting the stage for this to be their legacy company.

What you’ll see in the space
First, your student will check into class using an iPad station at the front desk.  Once your kid checks in, one iPad hanging on a wall of iPads will light up with your kid’s name. It then becomes their portal to learning and boundless creativity while they’re at Codeverse. If they’ve been to Codeverse before, it’ll remember their progress and anything they’ve created previously will be ready and waiting to be developed upon.

The first thing you’ll notice when you walk into the main room is the multiple learning spaces, from a giant cozy couch or beanbag chairs to traditional classroom style seating or hidden coding pods with padding and pillows. Kids can pick the space they feel the most comfortable in and move about freely.

What you may not notice right off the bat is a lot of the things within the space are numbered. Lights, televisions, music speakers . . . that’s because kids will not only learn how to design and build apps and games, they’ll have the ability to control any modern tech gadget within the studio, including all the things we just listed and robotic arms, 20-foot TV, drones, 3D printers and more! Things are numbered so kids can tell the iPad what item they’re trying to control. This means your student can select light number 3, for instance, and turn it from a traditional overhead light to a spinning strobe light worthy of a dance club by making a few changes to the coding language.

What will all this cost me?
A monthly membership is $225 ($180 for each additional child). Each student receives one 75-minute class per week, access to Codeverse at home (which comes in handy because they build their first app on day 1), a personalized, self-adjusting curriculum optimized for their age and skill level, and weekly progress reports sent to you.

Leave the sleeping bags at home for a day camp at Codeverse
We’re entering that part of summer where our kid’s eyes start to glaze over from lack of educational stimulus. Everything they’ve ever learned is coming out in a slow leak from their ears, being replaced by whatever it is the kids are YouTube’ing these days. Plug the leaks with Codeverse camp! For a weekly cost of $800, kids in grades 1-8 will be treated to five full days of fun with KidScript that includes field trips to local technology-centric businesses (the Apple store, for instance) and chef-prepared snacks and lunches. As of press time, the August 7 camp was sold out, but spaces were still available for the weeks of August 14, 21 and 28. The hours are 9 a.m.-3 p.m., but you can drop campers as early as 7 a.m. and pick them up as late as 5:30 p.m.

Good to Know
They literally thought of everything in this space. Should you have a little one who sometimes gets overstimulated and could use a quiet space, they have a separate room in the back where your kid can have alone time while they create on their iPad. That space also doubles as a room for nursing moms!

You really do need to see this space in person to understand it’s awesomeness, so if this sounds like something your kid would dig, sign them up to try their first class for free using this link or by calling 844-644-CODE.

Codeverse
819 W. Eastman St.
Lincoln Park
844-644-2633
Online: codeverse.com

When you check out Codeverse, we’d love to hear your feedback in the Comments below!

— Maria Chambers