Apple Expands Free Coding Summer Camp Courses for Kids

(Photo: Urban Moms)

(Photo: Urban Moms)

Apple has announced plans to expand on its current Apple Summer Camp sessions, which offer free, three-day courses to children in an effort to teach them the basics of coding, with new Coding Games and Programming Robots courses.

Geared toward children between the ages of eight and 12, the new course, which will be capped at around 12 attendees per session, will make use of software from Tynker in order to introduce participants to the concepts of block-based coding that will allow them to program Sphero robots.  The summer camp courses will be taught in Apple stores, with registration now open alongside all other summer camp sessions, writes Sarah Perez for TechCrunch.

“Kids will learn visual block-based coding for games, applying logic skills such as pattern recognition and problem solving. Then they’ll use what they’ve learned to program their own robots to perform tasks, challenges, and much more,” said a spokesperson for Apple.

Children will use the learning software from Tynker to learn the basics of coding concepts on the first day of the course.  The software uses a visual interface in order to help children better understand how programming works through the use of blocks.  It also works as a way to program Sphero robots.

On a separate day of the session, participants will have the opportunity to teach their robots to move and light up using various commands.

The Apple Camp program began in 2003 in an effort to introduce children to Apple technology and software.  Offered directly in the Apple store, the sessions last for 90 minutes and teach children about a new technology while their parents remain in the store.  Staff members will discuss with the parents what their children are learning while giving them training on additional family focused features of Apple products, such as how to set up restrictions on multiple devices.

The company previously offered sessions on iBooks and iMovie, which will both be available again this summer.  The iBooks course helped children to create their own book with illustrations and effects which they were able to show to their parents at the completion of the course.  Meanwhile, the iMovie course allowed children to use Apple products to shoot and edit their own movies.

The new courses were revealed following the launch of the company’s Swift Playgrounds app for iPad, which helps to teach children age 12 and older how to code in Swift.

One session will be offered each week in July at various times throughout the day.  While the weeks of July 11th and July 18th will be focused on iBooks and iMovie, the final week of the month will introduce the new coding workshop course.

However, while the iBooks and iMovie sessions will be offered at all retail locations, the coding course will only be available at stores in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and greater China.

Sessions are free, but are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.  Due to the small class size, the company noted that registration can fill up quickly.  It is estimated that 60,000 children will participate in Apple Camp this summer.