Space Cadet and Dragon Spells will help kids learn the basics of coding and programming for free. Edutainment games are stepping it up a notch (Photo via Tynker)


As a new parent, I worry about this so much. When do we introduce our kids to the engineering world? Right away? And how?


It’s important to foster the growth of a child through learning. While reading, math, and writing are still part of the standard curriculum, schools and parents are now adding programing to their lessons. Adding to the multitude of websites and apps dedicated to teaching kids how to code comes two new courses from Tynker and Apple. The idea is to prepare younger students with the basics before moving on to Swift Playgrounds when they reach sixth grade.


Recently, Tynker, a company that makes school based coding programs for kids, teamed up with Apple’s Everyone Can Code program, which aims to help “anyone learn, write, and teach code.” Together, the two created two new courses for students in kindergarten to fifth grade. The courses are free to use via the iTynker iPad app. It also comes with curriculum modules for teachers via iBooks titled Get Started with Code 1 and Get Started with Code 2.


The two new programs are Space Cadet and Dragon Spells. The first, made for kindergarten to second-grade students, features puzzle solving and programming challenges based in space. The latter game, made for third to fifth-grade students, finds them training a dragon and collecting treasures while learning the basics of programming. The included teacher guides offer coding lessons along with offline activities available to use in classrooms.


Along with learning coding fundamentals, students can also share their work with the Tynker Community, while teachers can keep track of their progress. Accounts for both students and educators can be set up through the Tynker iPad at no additional cost. The company plans to make the app available in different languages for international use. By the end of June, the app will be localized to Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Latin American Spanish, French, and German.


This isn’t the first time Tynker and Apple have joined forces. Last year, the two teamed up to introduce the new course, “Coding Games and Programming Robots” for Apple’s coding camp sessions held in their stores. The class lets kids have a hands-on experience with coding as they learned how to program Sphero robots.


With more companies setting their sights on support coding basics at a young age, expect to see more programs, apps, and sites from Apple and Tynker in the future.


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