Coding at Home: Tuesday, March 31st

We’re back with for loops today! Live stream at 1pm Irish time at

More Loops!

We’ll be practicing our loops with some more Learn to Code 1. We’ll also take a look at a new playground that might spark some ideas about how you’d use loops.

If you’re really ahead of the game, go to on your iPad and subscribe to The Code Hub’s Playground feed. We’ll be using the Turtle Graphics – Simplified playground for an example of loops in action.

Chapter 4: Variables

Today we’ll also get set up to tackle a huge new subject: variables.

This means moving on to a new playground from Apple (Learn to Code 2), an app from The Code Hub (Learning Variables).

Learn to Code 2, the next big step!

It’s a big new topic, so we’ll dip in slowly to start.

See you at 1pm!

Coding at Home: Week Two!

Here we go with week two of Coding at Home! Live stream at 1pm Irish time at


I’ve posted a recap of last week, which includes videos to all of last week’s session.

I’ve set up a discussions board with some common areas of discussion. Just register and post away! If that doesn’t work for you, you can always drop me a line or you can try joining the Code Hub’s Google Classroom with the code: mnynk52

Both the Google Classroom and discussions board are just a way to make the students feel a little more connected to the material and to each other. It helps to have support, especially when you’re learning something new!

Today we’ll touch on what we did last week, briefly, and then we’ll get into the meat of for loops!


Bill Chapman, of the University of Illinois dropped a nice note with links to his own video resources. So if you want to check them out while you’re going through the Learn to Code Swift Playgrounds you might find them helpful. They’re well worth checking out, because the more time you spend with these playgrounds, the more practice you get, and the better programmer you become!

See you at 1pm!

Coding at Home: Week One Wrap-Up

Week one is in the books! Thanks to everyone who tuned in this past week to our live sessions on

You can catch up with any of the sessions you missed on the kids.code() playlist here:

Recap of the Week

Day one, we covered getting set up with the Swift Playgrounds app on your iPad (and Mac) and the Everyone Can Code Puzzles book in the Books app on your iPad. We also started on the Learn to Code 1 Swift Playground and showed you how to download it.

Day two we continued with the Commands chapter of the Everyone Can Code book and reviewed some of the puzzles we’d solved the previous day.

On day three we jumped into Functions, the next chapter in the book, and talked through the coding concept of functions.

And today, Friday, day four, we started with some advice about how to follow along with the live sessions or the videos and code on your iPad. We then jumped back into the Functions chapter.


“What? Homework? We’re all stuck at home all the time already?” you might be saying.

Well, consider it weekend work, then. Programming requires practice, just like playing a musical instrument or a sport; you don’t get better if you don’t try out the skills you’ve learned.

At the end of today’s video, we set you a challenge: solve the Treasure Hunt puzzle in the Learn to Code 1 playground.

Use functions, do it all out longhand, see how you get on. You can capture a PDF of your code from the ...‘s menu in Swift Playgrounds or you can copy and paste it into a thread on our new forum.

I won’t say there are no wrong answers, but even if your answers don’t 100% solve the puzzle, at the very least you’ve made an effort. Even the best of us programmers have bugs in our code!

Coming Up Next Week

Next week we’ll have more content and walk throughs of the Learn to Code 1 playground. We’ll also review the homework and show off one potential solution, at least.

I’m hoping to re-record some of the intro videos, for those of you coming to the sessions late, or who just want a refresher.

So far, so good, though! And if you have any questions or comments or suggestions for us, don’t hesitate to drop us a line. Or start a new thread on the forums!

Coding at Home: Friday, 27th March

We’re streaming live today at 1pm, Irish time at

Today’s Session @ 1pm Irish time

For today’s session we’re going to show you a good setup for following along with our live stream or videos and coding at the same time. We’ll also recap a little bit about functions.

If you miss any of the sessions, or simply want to re-watch them, you can check out our kids.code() playlist on YouTube.

The best place to start is with the Getting Started Video. This video will show you where to get Swift Playgrounds and the optional book, Everyone Can Code Puzzles.

We’ll see you at 1pm!

Coding at Home: Thursday, 26th March

We’re streaming live today at 1pm, Irish time at

Today’s Session @ 1pm Irish time

For today’s session we’re going to recap our lessons about commands and move on to functions: writing your own commands!

So pop in, grab your iPad, and spend a little time coding with me!

Coding at Home: Wednesday, 25th March

We’re streaming live today at 1pm, Irish time at

We launched our first Twitch stream yesterday, which you can watch there. I’ve also uploaded the video to YouTube.

The beginning of the video will help you get set up, so long as you have an iPad and an internet connection.

If you prefer to read your instructions, yesterday’s post will show you where to go to get Swift Playgrounds and Everyone Can Code Puzzles, the ebook we’re using.

Today’s Session @ 1pm Irish time

For today’s session we’re going to walk through some more lessons about commands: how to use them, how to figure out when they’re not doing what we expected, or debugging. We’ll look at strategies for solving puzzles, which is a lot of what programming is.

So tune in, grab your iPad, and spend a little time with me, coding!

Coding at Home: Part Four

In Part One of this special Coding at Home series we looked at our new app: Learning Variables.

In Part Two we looked at the Swift Playgrounds we’ve developed at The Code Hub and how to get them on your Mac or iPad.

For Part Three we checked out one of my favorite playgrounds, Text Adventure.

Code with Me

Now we’re going to try a slightly different tack.

Starting this week we’re going to hold live coding sessions to teach you about coding.

Since I use iPads in my class, I’ll be taking advantage of those devices for the course. They don’t necessarily have to be spring chickens, either, so long as you can install Swift Playgrounds.

Swift Playgrounds is available on the App Store for free. Just have a search for “swift playgrounds” and tap on the GET button.

And that’s it, that’s all you’ll need for the first few lessons.

If you’re following along at home, and all of you should be (at home, that is), we’re going to start with material from Apple’s excellent Everyone Can Code curriculum.


You can get these free ebooks from the Bookstore at

Teacher and student guide are available here:

We’ll be working from the student guide, but if you’re a parent (or a kid teaching another kid, your parent, or your pets), the teacher guide gives some great suggestions about how to teach coding, with varying levels of difficulty.

So hopefully I’ll see you at 1pm, Irish time, today.

We kick it all off on Twitch at

Coding at Home: Part Three

In Part One of this special Coding at Home series we looked at our new app: Learning Variables.

In Part Two we looked at the Swift Playgrounds we’ve developed at The Code Hub and how to get them on your Mac or iPad.

Text Adventure!

For part three, we’re going to look at the Text Adventure playground we’ve developed, in particular. This is one of my personal favorites, because it reminds me of my own start in programming; BASIC, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy interactive fiction, and MOOs.

The playground is designed to take advantage of a little library I wrote that models a story with a number of rooms, through which your protagonist navigates. The goal is to use coding to be a little bit creative and get the kids (and adults) telling stories and using code as a means to and end, rather than the end, itself.

Getting the Playground

To start, go grab the playground from the Code Hub’s Playgrounds feed (explained in Part Two). You’ll see the Text Adventure playground front and center now:

More Playgrounds: Getting the Text Adventure playground

Telling Stories

Once you have that in Playgrounds, you can open it and you’ll see the introduction to the whole shebang.

Pretty self-explanatory so far, right?

We don’t have to write any code at all, just hit the “Run My Code” button and off we go!

I won’t post any spoilers here, but the stories are gripping, edge-of-your-seat kind of stuff.

Once you’ve exhausted all the possibilities in the first story (and that might happen pretty quick), you can hit the Next button to move on.

The playground is designed to dip you into coding your own story gently and follows a progression that looks like this:

You can skip around if you like, of course, but I try to introduce concepts that will introduce you to code and the features of the Story library as we go. So try it out. If you come up with a particularly cool twist or story of your own, use the built-in tools to record your story.

From the three dots in the menu, select Record Movie to start capturing your story.

Full Screen

One last tip, the stories work best in fullscreen mode. You can enter fullscreen by tapping on the divider between your code and the story view.

Drag to the left, and the story view will take up the full screen. To get out of full screen you’ll just tap on the left side of the screen (you might see the faint arrow on that edge).

You can see a demo of this in action here:

Happy story-writing, and we’ll see you again soon!

Coding at Home: Part Two

In Part One, we looked at a relatively painless way to talk about and experience variables.

Swift Playgrounds from The Code Hub

One of the other little tweaks we’ve just shipped is an update to our Text Adventure Playground. But let’s start with a little (re)introduction of Playgrounds, for the uninitiated.

If you didn’t already know, The Code Hub has a suite of Swift Playgrounds for use in the iPad (and now Mac!) Playgrounds app. When you download Playgrounds, which is a free download, you’ll see a bar along the bottom of the screen with the headline “More Playgrounds.”

More Playgrounds!

Apple provides an excellent array of playgrounds authored to teach you how to code, to learn augmented reality development. Or some innovative uses of content and code like the Cipher playground. The app is free, as are playgrounds you can download from Apple and third parties (like The Code Hub).

But if you are on an iPad and go to you can click on the Subscribe button to add The Code Hub’s suite of playgrounds to the app. Alternatively, on the Mac version of Playgrounds you can scroll to the bottom of the additional playgrounds and you’ll see the option to enter a subscription URL:

Enter in and you’ll be good to go. You’ll see a confirmation dialog like this:

And, once you hit Subscribe, you’ll see a list of our playgrounds.

Right now, the 18th of March, 2020, we have six. I’ll try and touch on each of them in the next few weeks. But for now, you can download any of them onto your device and play around with them. There is a bit of explanatory text for each of the playgrounds, so you won’t be left completely at sea.

It helps to have a bit of Swift knowledge, but that, too, I’ll be touching on in the coming weeks.

Stay tuned.