A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Tynker - Learn programming with visual code blocks brings elements of the well-respected website Tynker to the iPad. The simple drag-and-drop interface of the iPad makes exploring programming logic even easier for elementary school-age kids. A free version lets kids try one puzzle and then purchase others individually or all as an in-app purchase. Alternatively, the full version can be bought as well. Kids can replay levels if they fail, with hints to improve their "code." Kids need to be independent readers since instructions are written.
What's it about?
TYNKER - LEARN PROGRAMMING WITH VISUAL CODE BLOCKS starts kids off using simple programming logic as they drag and drop visual code blocks, which are basically building blocks that fit together with written explanations of what code does. Kids don't see the code at all, but they apply the concepts programmers use when coding. Each level gets a bit more challenging and introduces concepts such as conditionals (if/then statements) and looping. Successfully completing one level unlocks the next. Themed puzzles are “Codey’s Quest,” "Lost in Space," "Dragon Journey," and "Lazer Racer."
Is it any good?
Tynker - Learn programming with visual code blocks uses an approach similar to other programming-logic apps for kids, making programming accessible using visual blocks of code or commands. The story-based puzzles make it fun for kids, and the drag-and-drop moves and explanations make it easy for kids to pick up. The different puzzle themes are varied and will appeal to a broad range of novice coders. It doesn't include the depth offered at Tynker.com, though, where kids complete 16 lessons and have the opportunity to create their own programs, but it's more affordable than the Web subscription. Kids will have fun learning how programs work and thinking like programmers, and they'll develop skills that are increasingly important in the digital age.
Talk to your kids about ...
Explain to kids that the visual blocks represent code that instructs the program what to do. In your browser window, right-click and choose "inspect element" or "view page source" to show kids what actual code looks like.
- Devices: iPad, Android, Chromebook
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: logic, problem solving, strategy, thinking critically
Communication: multiple forms of expression
Tech Skills: using and applying technology
- Price: Free-$4.99
- Pricing structure: Paid, Free (Tynker comes in two different versions--regular and premium. The regular version is free, featuring a few free levels and then in app purchases of new levels. The premium, paid, version features all of the levels unlocked.)
- Release date: May 6, 2014
- Category: Education
- Topics: Cats, dogs, and mice, Space and aliens
- Size: 81.50 MB
- Publisher: Tynker
- Version: 1.4
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.0 or later
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love to code and create
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.