By Dana Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Learning feels like play in sleek, approachable coder.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
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.
Parents Need to Know
Where to Download
Videos and Photos
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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.
- 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
- Topics: STEM
- Publisher: Apple
- Version: 2.1
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 10.3 or later
- Last updated: October 21, 2019
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Where to Download
Our Editors Recommend
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