Apple Camp 2017 is in the books. We all want our sanity during the summer months and between child care, camps and what have you – things can get pricey quick. Thankfully one week of the summer we were able to enjoy a FREE activity for our son. If you are an Apple fan, you won’t want to miss learning about Apple camp!
What is Apple Camp?
Apple Camp is a free camp put on in the summer months by various Apple stores. There are usually a few options on topics to choose from. The camps are available for ages 8-12 years old and last 90 minutes, 3 times during the week. BONUS! The kids are given a free Apple shirt!
This year, we had 1 kid eligible for Apple Camp. Not familiar with Apple Camp – keep reading. He went, he learned and now he won’t stop playing with his Sphero collection!
This is our second time doing camp with Apple. The first time, our son learned all about Garage Band and iMovie. This time around it was all about robotics and baby stepping into learning code. My husband is a software engineer and has taken our son to several of coding club meetings – so he has a general interest in coding.
Our son spent his time at camp learning in more detail how to program Sphero. We have a few Spheros at home. The Apple Genius taught him a whole new array of tricks and gave him some tips for maximizing his play with the device.
Now he is obsessed. He has hooked the Sphero app up on his sister and brother’s devices and showed them how to play. We have these robotic devices flying thru our house like it’s nobodies business!
2017 Apple Camp Choices
In 2017, Apple is offering 3 different camps.
Creating Characters and Composing Music
Kids ages 8-12 will create their own stories through drawings and sounds. Campers will start their session by sketching characters and scenes with iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, then they’ll explore the basics for composing a track using GarageBand. They’ll bring their story to life by adding vocals and finishing touches.
Stories in Motion with iMovie
Future filmmakers ages 8-12 will explore the creative process of turning their ideas into real movies. In this three-day session, Campers will learn how to brainstorm and storyboard. Then they’ll get hands-on with movie-making techniques like learning camera angles and editing with iMovie. On the final day, they’ll present their masterpieces.
Coding Games and Programming Robots
In this three-day session for kids ages 8-12, we’ll introduce programming through interactive play. Kids will learn visual-based coding by solving puzzles with Tynker. Then they’ll learn how to program Sphero robots, and even create fun stories starring Sphero as the main character.
One caveat I should note – while Apple Camp is free, parents must stay in the Apple store while camp is in session. So no leaving. This is such a smart move on Apple’s part. I mean, come on – leaving me in the Apple store for 15 minutes is dangerous, let alone 90 minutes on 3 different days. On the first day I made the mistake of bringing our 2 younger sons with us. It was hell. I don’t recommend bringing small children for your sanity and their’s.
An Apple Genius called my kid Darth Vadar so he turned his shirt around and told him he was talking to the wrong person.
Something new this year, for 2 of the sessions they offered a “parent camp” while the kids were in camp. An Apple Genius walks the parents thru what the kids are learning. He or she also talks about setting up iTunes for family sharing, setting perimeters on your Mac and more.
I was able to attend on the second day of camp and the Genius was super helpful in answering my questions and suggesting various apps and configurations that would help with certain issues.
Sign Up Early!
If you are wanting to sign your child up for Apple Camp, SIGN UP EARLY! Every spring, I sign up on apple.com to receive a notification when camp registration opens. Last year we went on an epic road trip that spanned the course of the whole vacation. This year, we vacationed early and was able to get our son in no issue.
If the camp is full at your local store, I suggest giving the store a call and seeing if there by chance any openings or perhaps a wait list. OR wait, have you heard of Kids Hour?
One thing I learned about at Parent Camp was another free opportunity for kids at Apple. Various Apple stores offer Kids Hour. This is an hour where an Apple Genius teaches your child on subject. This varies by stores and appears to be offered once a week, but looks like this could vary as well.
The closest Apple Store near me this week offers Garage Band Kids Hour and Making Movies Together Kids Hour. Again, you will need to stay in the Apple store, but this gives your kids a chance to learn and BONUS – IT IS FREE AND YEAR ROUND! So if you missed out on this year’s camp, at least give the Kids Hour a try!
If anyone is giving attitude or fighting occurs, no one gets screen time.
If friends are over, screen time is limited.
We really try to encourage educational games.
There have been times where we have thrown are hands in the air, like many parents as to how to control technology with our kids.
Recently, I was introduced to the idea of technology tickets. These are tickets that are given to your child at the beginning of the week. A set number is given to each child and each ticket represents an allotted amount of time with technology.
Mom and Dad can have extra technology tickets to hand out as rewards.
Once a technology ticket is used, that’s it for that ticket until the next week.
Of course rules would need to be put in place per household, such as no using after 7 or only using up to 3 tickets in a row. Depending on each child and each parent a variety of rules could be set.
I love this idea – especially for parents looking for a solution to allowing kids screen time but without being overly strict.
Moms Who Use Technology Tickets
Here are several blogs talking about using technology tickets, see how they do it!
Texas bluebonnet photos with the family is a nearly annual event. I force the entire family out the door, somewhat dressed to capture photos of the kids together. In case you aren’t from Texas, family bluebonnet photos are a thing. Yes, you will see crazy people on the side of the road in a patch of bluebonnets, snapping pics. We try to be safe and find out of the way places, but yes – file us under the Texas crazies.
This past weekend we headed out take some pics, in hopes of actually having all of the kids in 1 photo. 4 kids together at the ages they are at – are NOT easy to photograph!
Beautiful Texas bluebonnet flowers bloom all along the highways March thru April. Here in North Texas there are a few spots and hidden gems – but the real deal is down south in the hill country. The roads are lined with these gorgeous flowers. (Side note: the bluebonnet is our state flower.) 2 years ago, we planted a nice patch of bluebonnets, hoping that this year is the year that they bloom!
On any given spring weekend that the flowers are in bloom, you can see lines of cars surrounding these patches (or fields) with people taking bluebonnet photos.
This past weekend, the bluebonnets were perfect. They will soon be dying out, so if you haven’t shot you pics – you have probably 1 more weekend before they start dying. If you are headed out, I’ve rounded up a few tips I learned while shooting the kids the last few years. These aren’t photography tips – but real life mom of 4 taking family photo tips.
5 Tips for Taking Texas Bluebonnet Photos With the Family
We went with 3 different colors, mixed and matched that would work well with the color of the bluebonnets and the greenery for the photos. Looking back, I’d put our oldest boy in a different shirt – but we headed out last minute and the fact we could even find clothes is amazing.
Also, make sure the clothes fit right. Poor Zeke, the overalls just didn’t fit him right. Mom fail, but whatever – the kids are all together in the blue bonnet pic and aren’t screaming.
Kids WILL get bored. Let them run around, don’t worry so much on the smiling face (that would be way to easy!). Capture a few photos of them in the moment, whatever they are doing.
3. Get Individual Photos
Make sure to capture individual photos. It’s fun to look back thru the years of Texas bluebonnet photos to see how much the kids change.
4. Make it an Event
Every year we do this, it’s like the pumpkin patch. The kids expect it (hence the yelling anytime we drive by any Texas bluebonnets) and we try to make it fun. Let the kids play. That being said, make sure they are fed, have gone to the potty and nap if needed. We missed 2 of those 3 and due to that couldn’t stay as long as I would of liked. We are also NOT above bribing the kids. One year we brought M&M’s but uhm that made for messy photos. This year, we promised ice cream – and delivered.
5. Bring a Blanket or Quilt
I can never remember this little ditty. While you maybe able to capture a few shots here are there, the truth is the ground is rough and totally uncomfortable. Watch out for ant beds, I may have found the perfect spot – sat my kid in it to only have my husband start yelling ANTS!
Where is Your Favorite Place to Shoot Texas Bluebonnet Photos?
Does your family consume ungodly amounts of cereal? Mine does. It’s obscene, that’s if I am not around. While I am trying to stick to more of the granola and whole grains, the husband has a weakness when giving into the kids when it comes to cereal (particularly Lucky Charms) and Ovaltine. I totally blame his parents.
So there is something good that can come out of all that cereal eating….. Cereal Box Crafts! I’ve rounded up 20 of the best cereal box crafts / upcycles.
We MOVED! After 9 months of sheer torture preparing a house to go on the market, a long hot summer with 4 kids at home and then selling a house, packing everything that you’ve owned the last 10+ years with 6 people and temporarily moving into an apartment until we found a home. I am happy to say, we are now officially home! Well kind of.
Moving Near Christmas is a Stupid Idea!
See moving requires unpacking and decorating and decluttering. I hate unpacking. I love decorating and the thought of decluttering sounds nice but uhm I’ve learned I tend to hold on to things (hoarder – not really because I can justify each piece). All of that is great, fine and dandy but uhm it’s CHRISTMAS and I kind of LOVE this holiday with all of my heart. I mean I kept a Christmas tree up year round and my main tree I try to have up November 1st. So anywho – all of that said this Christmas is crazy.
We do have unpacked boxes but also Christmas trees up – want a sneak peek? This is the BEAUTY that my kids put together – yes, this is their Christmas tree: