Swift Playgrounds

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Swift Playgrounds App Poster Image
Learning feels like play in sleek, approachable coder.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn tech skills such as using and applying technology to create, as well as tech-related vocabulary. They also practice following directions, critical thinking, and decision making.

Ease of Play

If kids can read fluently and understand the basics of tech (and especially if they've spent time playing online games that include 3D worlds), this app will be easy to use. Hints are available and get more detailed, eventually leading to the full solution, if needed.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Swift Playgrounds is an iPad-only app that helps kids learn Swift, which is a programming language made by Apple and used to create apps. The puzzles and challenges incorporate cute alien-like characters and a 3D world to teach kids (or adults) to code using Swift. Users work through all the lessons and challenges, which include "every concept and skill" required to write real apps, according to Apple. As of 2017 kids can use the app with third-party integrations, like Lego Mindstorms and Wonder Workshop's Dash robot. Note: Swift Playgrounds is not compatible with iPhones or any iPad that does not have the iOS 10.0 update or is not a Mini, an Air, or a Pro. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 17 years old Written byahmod October 28, 2016
Kid, 12 years old July 30, 2018

Swift Playgrounds!

This is one of my favourite apps! It's fun, easy to use and the characters are really cute. The instructions are clear and helpful. Swift Playgrounds bridg... Continue reading

What's it about?

Tap on "Learn to Code 1 Fundamentals of Swift" to download the first lesson on SWIFT PLAYGROUNDS. Then tap "Open" and start the lesson, which begins with some everyday questions and discussion about the purpose of coding. Follow the on-screen instructions to tap already-written lines of code in the proper order to move the character, Byte, and make him collect a gem. Once complete, tap "Run My Code" to see if it works. If not, you can return to the code and redo it, or tap on "Hint" to find out more. Tap Next Page to go onto the next coding challenge. Download more lessons and challenges, as desired. Multiple users can keep their own progress in the app. Also, there are customization options, recording, and sharing for more advanced users.

Is it any good?

This play-to-learn app is an engaging, eye-pleasing, and easy way for tweens, teens, and adults to learn the programming language Swift. There's lots of help through clear instructions and hints that are available when a user gets stuck on a puzzle. The glossary of common coding terms gets kids up to speed on the lingo. Also, the ability to tap on snippets of real code cuts down on typing. For kids who can read well (the vocabulary ramps up as lessons progress), Swift Playgrounds will feel much more like free-flow fun than a coding lesson. The only downside is that you need a new-ish iPad to use it, which may be a dealbreaker for those who can't afford to upgrade. Going beyond coding blocks, Swift Playgrounds is an exploratory, low-pressure way to learn Swift that feels like, well, a playground.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how coding is like a new language and that, just like with any new language, it takes resources (like Swift Playgrounds), consistent practice, and time to learn it well.

  • Discuss app ideas from you or your kid to show how learning the material on Swift Playgrounds can help them reach their goals and make new things.

  • If your kid gets frustrated by a specific puzzle, suggest using the hints, all the way to the full solution, if needed, which can be an effective way to learn.

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, vocabulary
    Math: patterns
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, decision-making, hypothesis-testing, part-whole relationships, problem solving, thinking critically
    Self-Direction: work to achieve goals
    Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: April 30, 2018
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 253.30 MB
  • Publisher: Apple
  • Version: 2.1
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 10.3 or later

For kids who love coding and STEM apps

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