Do you remember Tynker – the self-paced course on computer programming that encourages children to innovate and create while learning programming concepts at their own pace?
What is Tynker?
Just in case you missed it… Tynker helps children develop computational thinking and programming skills in a fun, visual, intuitive and imaginative way. Tynker is used in over 8,000 schools to teach computer programming. Tynker’s online coding puzzles have been used by over 5 million participants since December 2013.
Tynker is inspired by visual programming languages, such as Scratch from MIT, Alice from CMU, and other programming languages, like Logo, SmallTalk, and Squeak.
About Tynker – the App (Learn programming with visual code blocks)
Designed to play like a game, the Tynker app gives children the opportunity to learn how to code while they solve fun puzzles. All they have to do is drag & drop visual code blocks and program to their characters to complete the level.
There are three games available:
1. Puppy Adventure (comes free with the app)
After a nice day at the park, Pixel the puppy has been left behind. Can you help Pixel get home? Recognize patterns and use the correct logic and loop variations to solve each level. There are 20 Levels in the Puppy Adventure.
2. Lost in Space (Available as in-app purchase)
This adventure allows young programmers to learn more advanced programming concepts like conditional logic and apply spatial orientation skills to lead astronaut Biff to his moon base, avoiding asteroids and black holes. It develops spatial visualization and algorithmic thinking. There are 72 levels across 3 adventure scenarios in this series.
Crash Landed – Astronaut Biff was on a mission to Titan base when his rocket crash landed onto a nearby planet. He needs your help to find a new rocket.
Lockdown – astronaut Biff has found a rocket but he needs to get through the locked doors to get to it. Help him to turn the dials the right way to unlock the doors.
Into the Void – help astronaut Biff collect power cells and pilot his rocket safely to the moon base, while he avoids all the obstacles in his way.
3. Sketch Racer (Available as in-app purchase)
Program Snap the turtle to follow patterns and draw complex geometric shapes using simple commands. This game reinforces basic geometry concepts while using programming to draw angles and lines. For those of you who remember, this is essentially the 21st Century version of Turtle Logo. In this series, there are 48 geometric pattern puzzles to solve.
Depending on how many attempts and how well you solve the problem, you will get 1 to 3 stars upon completing the level. Complete the level to get 1 star. Complete it without mistakes and in the most efficient way possible to get 3 stars.
What will your child learn?
The new Tynker app is a terrific way to introduce computer programming to children by getting them to solve puzzles that progressively build computational thinking and programming skills. In this app, they will:
- Learn to recognize patterns
- Learn to break down a problem into smaller steps
- Be introduced to programming concepts like sequences, repetition and conditional logic
- Learn computer drawing and spatial orientation
- Learn how to debug programs
Who is it for?
Most programming courses for children usually only cater for older children so the new Tynker app is great if you would like to give a younger child a taste for coding. Children as young as Grade 2 can play the Tynker app on their own, while younger children can play along with the help of an older child or adult.
Aristotle, who is 7 years old, played around with Tynker on his own. When I asked him what he thought of it, he said it was challenging but fun. I have always wanted to get Aristotle into coding and Tynker has been an amazingly simple way to do it.
Hercules, who is 4 years old, loves Puppy Adventure. He keeps asking to play with Pixel, the dog. He can play the easier levels on his own but he requires some help with the later levels as they get more involved. He still solves them using basic rules but it gets him through the level. For instance, instead of “repeat 3 times: run, jump” he uses “run, jump, run, jump, run, jump”. The nature of the app allows him to do this because it is still correct. He knows there is a better way to win the level because he only gets one star as opposed to three stars. He won’t be ready for the harder levels just yet, but he’s had a chance to see what computer programming is like.
What’s great about the app is its clean and simple layout. It has a structure that takes the kids through the art of coding in a step by step fashion so they are learning how to problem solve all the way. It is a brilliantly designed concept and we love it! We’re looking forward to see more apps from Tynker in the future.
Tynker is currently available on the iTunes store. Puppy Adventure is available for free with two in-app purchases – Lost in Space and Sketch Racer.