Thrifty Travelist: Zaniac, New STEM Programs for Kids in Santa Monica

By Tisha Berg,
With so much emphasis these days on the importance of STEM and STEAM education, you’d think that such programs would be easy to find, especially in a big city like Los Angeles. I should amend that statement to say that affordable STEM and STEAM programs should be more abundant.

And it should probably start with schools offering some semblance of them.

If we're training the next generation for success, then we need to equip them with the tools to be able to lead us into a technology-inspired future; even more, to show them how they'll be able to help create that future.

Unfortunately, the programs that do currently exist are so cost-prohibitive that only a small percentage of kids can take advantage of them.

So naturally, I was beyond excited to see a flyer advertising a Girls Who Code workshop that was forming at our local library. The group was free to join and it would meet once a week for 3 hours on an ongoing basis. Perfect!

Only the workshop's start date was postponed. I'm still waiting on the phone call that I was supposed to receive once the library got their plans together. That was over a year ago.

So, I resigned myself to the fact that a broader access for my kids to programming concepts and other tech-related learning would probably have to wait until middle or high school. In the meantime, they could play around with sites like Code.org and Code Academy, which they enjoy using. The popular parenting website Mommy Poppins also has a great list of free coding sites for kids that teaches programming skills.

Recently, my kids and I were invited to a new business in Santa Monica, Zaniac, that offers just the kind of program I was hoping to find for my girls. Zaniac is part of a nationwide franchise but it's currently the only location in California. It offers a variety of workshops, after school programs and camps that expose kids in grades K - 8 to the world of computer programming, robotics and advanced math concepts. The best part is that the prices for Zaniac's programs are more affordable than many similar kinds of after-school programs and camps I've seen in the area.

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Thrifty Travelist: Zaniac, New STEM Programs for Kids in Santa Monica
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