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Teach Your Kids Code With Swift!

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I can’t count the number of times I have thought to myself, “How did they DO that?” when working with some new technology or tool. If I am thinking this so much as an adult, I can only imagine how often kiddos are thinking that!

Breaking down complex tools into understandable pieces is a great way to show kids just how much goes into each piece of technology. Then, you can start teaching them how to build apps themselves! Apple, especially, has a great tool with its Swift coding language.

how to code with swift

What is Swift?

Swift is Apple’s coding language and it is designed to give the user a balance between design and efficiency. With Apple’s “Everyone Can Code” curriculum, people around the world are learning to code apps for Apple devices. That includes kids! Continue reading to find out how to Teach Your Kids Code With Swift!

How Can my Kids Learn Swift?

First of all, you don’t have to have an Apple device to code with Swift. Almost all Apple stores have workshops called “Today at Apple.” Swift coding is one of the workshops offered on a rotating basis. So you and your little coder can spend a few hours at an Apple store learning how the programmers make everything work! Other workshop topics are on things like Garageband, robotics, and special events geared towards certain groups of people.

A child learning to code with Swift Playgrounds on the iPad

If you DO happen to have an Apple device at home, you can get started anytime! The best scenario is if you have an iPad at home. The kid-friendly Swift Playgrounds app is currently only available in iPad and Mac format. 

No matter what device you are on, you are going to want to help your little coder download a few Apple Books. “Everyone Can Code Puzzles” will help you teach your kid to code with Swift in a fun, hands-on way. “Everyone Can Code Adventures” is coming soon, and will be a sequel to the original coding with Swift resource.

Learn Swift with “Everyone Can Code” Books

Get it on Apple Books

The “Everyone Can Code” Apple Books are how my kids learned to code with Swift. The chapters and sections were well laid-out and easy for us to work on as a team. I especially appreciated the connections to computational thinking and focus on the basics before moving on to more advanced concepts. 

The first book, “Everyone Can Code Puzzles,” is a 40-hour (plus) study on the Swift language. Starting with basic commands, parents can teach their kids code by helping “Byte” navigate around his world, collecting gems on the way from start to finish. The challenges are found in the corresponding app, Swift Playgrounds. The levels get progressively more difficult, ending with the final section of “Everyone Can Code Puzzles” on refactoring and arrays. 

Now, do I expect my little coder to get through these levels in 40 hours? NOPE! The thing I love about both the tutorials in the book and the levels in Swift Playgrounds is that we can walk away and try again later. When I am working to teach my kid code, the last thing I want to do is overwhelm him! I love looking at a level or tutorial, talking through it, then moving on to something else. Since we try hard to find a good balance between “plugged” and “unplugged” coding activities, being able to walk away without losing our spot or momentum is a huge benefit!

As we were working through Swift Playgrounds, there were definitely some levels and concepts that were above my little coder’s head. The saving grace here is that both the Apple book and the app are free! The only thing we spent money on for this learn-to-code experience was the iPad – which we already had. 

What is Swift Playgrounds?

Swift Playgrounds is a fun and interactive application that’s designed to teach anyone how to code Swift. It requires no coding knowledge so it is perfect for young kids or students who are just starting out. In the application, you will be solving puzzles that will teach you the basics of Swift. After learning the basics, you can move on to more advanced challenges too! Swift Playgrounds is currently available for the iPad and Mac.

If you already have or are thinking about getting an iPad or a Mac – I would say learning to code with Swift would be a wonderful addition to the menu of educational options available. Since the Swift language is what all Apple apps are built with, exposing our little coders to it would give them a huge leg up when they start to think about designing and creating their own apps. Swift is also similar enough to other coding languages that little coders will be learning concepts they can directly apply to other platforms and situations.

Learning to Code with Swift Playgrounds

Step 1

Download Swift Playgrounds on your iPad or Mac.

Step 2

Start learning with the fundamentals of Swift. Learn the basic concepts that you would need to understand code such as the commands, functions, loops, and more!

Learning the basics of Swift playgrounds

Step 3

Solve puzzles to master the basics of Swift! You’ll be using the same codes and commands that professional programmers use every day.

Step 4

As you move to more difficult levels, you can take on extra challenges that can teach you new concepts and will help you become a more advanced programmer.

Code with Swift: Solving different puzzles on Swift Playgrounds

The Swift Playgrounds team adds new challenges on the app regularly so you’ll never run out of Swift concepts to learn!

All You Need to Code with Swift

Here are some things to think about if you are planning to teach your kids code with Swift:

  • Everyone Can Code Puzzles” is the title of the Apple Book you will need. It should be a free download from the Apple Bookstore.
  • Swift Playgrounds is the app that goes along with the book “Everyone Can Code Puzzles”. It is free, but only available on iPads and Mac currently, so you will not be able to find it in the app store on your iPhone.
  • There is a section at the end of each chapter called “Connect.” This is a great place to get ideas for extending learning about that particular concept beyond the screen.
  • Don’t rush. Especially with younger coders, they may take longer than the 40 hours recommended. Take as long as you need for you and your little coder to enjoy yourselves and have fun!

Coding with Swift is a great way to introduce your little coder to the idea that they can be app builders too! Apple has a pretty great set-up between their books and apps. The chance to learn something and then immediately apply it in a fun, engaging, game-based way has helped thousands of young coders jump into app creation and design in a way that would not have been possible before.

What kind of app would you create if you could? What benefits do you see coming out of teaching your kids code with Swift?

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