How Kids Learn Coding with Tynker

How Kids Learn Coding with Tynker
Last Updated: March 10, 2017 3:28 pm

How Kids Learn Coding with Tynker

At Tynker, we are committed to empowering the next generation of makers with a foundation in programming and computational thinking. We know that these skills will be incredibly valuable for 21st century careers and as a way to support critical thinking in all disciplines.

But for most of a child’s learning experience, how they learn is just as important as what they learn. That’s why we take special care in crafting a fun, game-based curriculum that teaches kids to code with interactive lessons and creative projects.

Scenario & Story-Based Learning

Tynker presents coding as a way to solve scenario-driven challenges, like programming a dragon to get through obstacles and collect treasure, rather than as concepts that kids must learn. Our interactive approach introduces programming concepts as kids build mini-games, solve puzzles, create coding projects, complete daily missions, earn exciting badges, and unlock new characters. This is why kids love learning with Tynker – even though they’re mastering important programming concepts, they just feel like they’re playing a game.

We start kids with block coding, which allows them to learn the fundamentals of programming and make incredible creative projects without the frustrations of syntax. Whenever they’re ready, kids can start experimenting with text syntax in those same block-based activities by switching between visual code blocks and JavaScript and Python code blocks. Finally, once kids have a solid understanding of programming concepts and familiarity with syntax, they can switch to full text programming, where they’re typing out their programs in JavaScript and Python.


Step 1. Solve Puzzles with Block Coding

In our block coding courses, kids learn programming fundamentals, including sequencing, decomposition, pattern recognition, functions, and variables. The power of Tynker’s learning system is that kids don’t even realize they’re learning these concepts. They just think they’re solving challenges, like programming Gus the astronaut to gather all his belongings and navigate his spaceship home. But puzzles like these actually teach important computational thinking concepts and programming constructs.

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Although languages like JavaScript and Python are essential for a career in computer programming, it can be frustrating to try to understand computational logic and master syntax at the same time. Any minor misstep, like out-of-place punctuation or a misspelling, will result in an error, and it’s difficult for beginners to find these errors. When we start kids with block-based coding, they get hooked on the creativity and logical fun of programming before encountering syntax.

Step 2. Get Creative with Code

Based on a child’s interests, they choose a learning path within Tynker that allows them to express their creativity through coding.

Parents_Course_Graphic2-01We provide tutorials that guide kids through the fundamentals they’ll need to make amazing programs. With block coding, kids can:

  • Build animation and storytelling projects
  • Create mobile apps and games
  • Program drone flight paths and deliveries
  • Explore robotics with Lego WeDo and other connected toys
  • Design 3D games and mods for Minecraft
  • Create advanced physics-based games using Tynker’s physics engine
  • Model math and science concepts
  • Connect with Internet Web Services to create dynamic, useful programs
  • Much more!

Step 3. Get Familiar with Text Syntax

The same puzzles can be solved with draggable text code, which lets kids see how their block code looks in a real programming language as they complete puzzles. They can solve puzzles with drag-and-drop JavaScript and Python blocks while still avoiding syntax errors.

Here’s the same puzzle as above, but switched to the Python block mode:


All Tynker courses allow kids to see their code in JavaScript and Python blocks as they complete puzzles, so they can start the transition whenever they’re ready. By the time they start typing out their own code in JavaScript and Python, they already understand how the visual Tynker blocks they’ve been using correspond to real syntax.

Step 4. Dive into JavaScript and Python

By this point, students are confident in their coding abilities and in their understanding of complex programming constructs. Plus, they’re familiar with JavaScript and Python syntax. Students can complete the transition with Tynker’s JavaScript and Python activities. In these courses, students ease into the challenges of text coding, like learning a new syntax and using the HTML canvas, while still enjoying our fun, gamified activities.

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With Tynker, kids get a head-start in computer programming in a way that’s fun and intuitive, and they’re then guided through curricula that prepare them to take on real-world challenges and join the next generation of professional coders.

We offer 34 home courses and 26 school courses that allow you to customize your child’s coding journey depending on their interests. Kids can learn to code through many different learning paths, including game creation, animation, digital storytelling, JavaScript and Python, programming drones and robots, Minecraft modding (home users only), and STEM integration (school users only).

Happy coding!

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About Tynker

Tynker enables children to learn computer programming in a fun and imaginative way. More than 60 million kids worldwide have started learning to code using Tynker.