Get Your Kids Coding With Swift Playgrounds
OUR TAKE ON CODING WITH SWIFT PLAYGROUNDS
We believe that coding and a knowledge of computer science is an essential part of our children’s education. However, the majority of schools don’t even teach computer science. So, for the time being, it is up to us parents to initiate our kids into the world of bits and bytes. One of the ways we can facilitate this learning is through educational apps like Swift Playgrounds by Apple.
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What’s Swift Playgrounds?
Swift Playgrounds is an educational app for iPad that makes learning to code fun and interactive. Aspiring coders start off with the basics and then progress to more advanced programming concepts using Swift, a powerful and modern programming language created by Apple. Starting with simple commands and functions, users will build up to more complex fundamentals of coding like for/while loops, conditional branching and logical operators.
We started using Swift Playgrounds for Peyton (age 9) because her abilities had surpassed her previous learning tool, Coding Awbie by Osmo, which we also reviewed here. This app is most suitable for literate children around 8 years old or older. It’s also great for users all the way up to adults who wish to learn the basics of coding in an intuitive, fun way.
What We Love
Our kid-coder loves the vibrant graphics and the cute main character named Byte. She programs Byte to collect gems and toggle switches. She enjoys the challenge of solving puzzles in the dynamic 3D world in which Byte lives. When she is particularly tested on a difficult level, she roars in triumph when her code finally works and accomplishes the goals she had set out to achieve.
We love that our kids learn and write actual code when using Swift Playgrounds. Swift is used by many game programmers and software engineers in the real world, and many apps on the Apple App Store are written using Swift. So, while our kids are coding for fun at present, eventually they can transfer their code over to Xcode and start writing legit apps.
We have only tested the downloadable content, Learn to Code, for Swift Playgrounds. However, there are a vast amount of various challenges we have yet to discover. Not to mention, Swift Playgrounds is also compatible with several bluetooth accessories, like drones and robots, which are programmable to the coder’s desire. How fun!
Overall, Swift Playgrounds has proved to be an excellent learning tool for our kid-coders. It has provided hours upon hours of entertainment. We highly recommend it for those parents wishing to add more STEM-based material into their children’s education.
CODING FOR THE FUTURE
If you’re not convinced that coding is an important component of your child’s education, here are some quick stats from Code.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing educational opportunities in computer science for students across the globe:
- 90% of parents want their child to study computer science, yet only 40% of schools teach computer programming.
- 71% of all new jobs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) are in computing.
- Of all school subjects, kids enjoy computer science and arts the most.
- Computing jobs are the #1 source of new wages in the United States. These jobs are projected to grow at twice the rate of all other jobs.
Here are some other great resources to get your little coder started off on the right track:
“Everybody in this country should learn to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think”
— Steve Jobs
Let us know your reaction to Apple’s Swift Playgrounds. Are there any apps or STEM products that you’d like to see us review? Comment below!