Kids love technology — and Apple technology is among the best. It seems Apple loves kids, too — they're offering free one-hour classes called "Kids Hours." These classes are designed to spark imagination and creativity, and kids explore things like coding, storytelling, illustration, movie making and music. I took my boys, Leo and Maximo, to a class at a nearby mall last week, and they had a blast.
Of course, I don't advocate overexposing kids to technology. No more than two hours a day is best, and there has to be a balance of using technology and physical play. Add to that a healthy dose of outdoor activity and sunshine — at least 20 minutes a day of sun — and turning off all electronics at least one hour before bedtime, and kids will sleep better. Better sleep means better health.
That said, there is no getting around that technology is here to stay and changing at hyper speed. If we don't expose our children to technology, they will be left behind. Apple's free classes are one constructive way for kids to explore and be versed in technology — and, with the upcoming school break, it might be a good time to check out their classes.
Apple's Kids Hours and Kids Camp
Here are two examples of Apple's Kids Hours:
- "Coding the Droids from Star Wars" — Kids use the same code developers use every day to bring Star Wars droids to life. They program simple movements, loops, and more, design a maze and navigate their droids through the obstacles. Kids can bring their own iPad and Sphero robot, or they will be provided. This class if for ages 6 to 12.
- "Book Club" — This Kids Hour involves reading Dinotrux on iBooks. Kids celebrate the magic of storytelling through creativity and play. They get hands-on with drawing characters and scenes, creating their own book cover, and more using iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. They can bring their iPad or one will be provided. This class is for ages 4 to 10.
Apple also has "Apple Camp" for kids ages 8 to 12. "Campers" choose one of three tracks to expand their digital creativity. They then spend 90 minutes a day for three days at a local Apple Store immersed in the subject of their choice. You can sign up with your email address to be notified when registration begins for Apple Camp Summer 2018.
Technology, when it is used appropriately and doesn't impact sleep, can be enjoyable, stimulating and educational for kids. It's not about preventing kids from using technology — it's about balance.