Ritchie Ritchie Rene Ritchie has been covering Apple and the personal technology industry for almost a decade. Editorial director for Mobile Nations, analyst for iMore, video and podcast host, you can follow him on Snapchat, Instagram, or Twitter @reneritchie.

When is Apple Camp 2016 and what new and cool sessions will be available? The short answer is July, coding, and robots!

Apple Camp is a program offered by Apple's retail stores that endeavors to fill the summer with fun, fascinating workshops on making videos, creating books, and — new this year — coding games and robots. Yes, you read that last part right!

U.S. Apple Camp sign-up

I had a chance to profile Apple Camp 2015 and was blown away with both the curriculum and care shown to educating children ages 8-12 on how to use iMovie and iBooks. Sure, a cynic might say it's a way for Apple to hook new customers in early, but it's also a profoundly optimistic way to give back to the community and help spark digital creativity in kids.

The camp is free, you simply have to sign up while there's still space. It takes place at all of Apple's stores in the northern hemisphere (after all, it's not summer right now south of the equator), and kids leave with a completed project and a real sense of accomplishment.

New for 2016 will be iPad Pro and, for iBooks, Apple Pencil. Also, a third week for the program that covers coding for games and robots using Tynker and Sphero in the U.S., Canada, and the UK, and Hopscotch and Sphero in Greater China.

That's not Swift Playgrounds, of course, but Playgrounds are still in beta and targeted for slightly older kids. Consider the Apple Camps to be an introduction to the concepts kids can continue to build upon with tools like Swift Playgrounds.

Also new is help for parents to better understand the apps their kids are learning about, and help in setting up useful features like Family Sharing.

Apple Camp kicks off on July 11. If attendance scales from last year, over sixty-thousand kids should be filling Apple's stores with laughter and learning.

So, if your kids are interested, register now!

U.S. Apple Camp sign-up