By Elise Oberliesen

Code Ninjas Greeley
(Photo : Christina Lazar, Code Ninjas).

Do you have a gamer kiddo who’d play video games 24/7 if you didn’t cut them off? If their joystick is starting to resemble a permanent appendage, maybe they should design their own games.

Ed and Jeanene Gage, owners of Code Ninjas in Greeley teach 5 to 14-year-olds to write video game code. Drop the kids off for afterschool enrichment or summer camp.

“Kids are excited to come here. They are learning something fun, valuable and preparing for their future,” Gage said.

Remember Pong? In this very basic, no frills game, the player controls a bouncing ball with a paddle. In Gage’s classroom, creativity comes in many flavors. Out with the ordinary ball and paddle.

“Some kids bounce around a dinosaur or alien instead of a ball. The paddle can be customized to … one kid used a lightning bolt for the ball and a guitar was the paddle.”

In just 30 minutes, kids can build their own game, he said.

Each class run two hours a week-either two hours two days or two hours one day. Masks are required with up to 12 kids per class for social distancing.

Summer Camp is offered too.

“Each summer camp is a week long for $250, 3.5 hours, five days a week, Monday through Friday. It’s the equivalent of two months of a standard coding class at a significant discount.”

Alternative learning programs

When it comes to educating your children, one size fits all doesn’t usually work. That’s because each learner brings certain strengths, weaknesses and different personalities. If traditional education no longer works for your family, maybe it’s time for an accredited online program.

Designed for middle and high school students, this free public online school with Summit Education Group/Global Education Solutions offers a blended approach where students learn online and onsite, if they choose, says Alex Tapia, associate regional director, in Greeley.

Hands on activities onsite include things like tutoring or creating garden projects. Students paint ceramic pots and plant tomatoes, spinach and romaine lettuce, says Tapia.

“Kids who come into the school spend up to two hours on activities and socializing.”

Many parents dream about raising straight A students. But let’s face it not all students care about 4.0 GPAs. If students fall behind in credits – from too many absences, skipping class, or worse, truancy charges – graduation dreams feel impossible.

To address these students, the school helps kids make up lost credits and get on track for graduation, Tapia said. Even when students opt for a GED, some enroll in the program and finish with a high school diploma, he added.

“A 20-year-old can get a high school diploma. It’s a popular option for a free high school diploma.”

> Code Ninjas, 4239 Centerplace Drive, #1F, Greeley, 970.673.7268,

> Summit Education Group, 800.433.9570,