Tynker - Learn programming with visual code blocks
What parents need to know
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 kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
- thinking critically
- problem solving
- multiple forms of expression
- using and applying technology
Engagement, Approach, Support
The story-based puzzles are fun, and kids are motivated to keep playing to unlock other levels and earn stars. Positive feedback encourages them.
Every move made reinforces programming concepts, giving kids skills that can transfer into coding. Coding logic is increasingly considered an important literacy skill for kids, and Tynker - Learn programming with visual code blocks helps kids pick up that skill.
If kids don't complete a level successfully, a help screen explains what they can do differently or more efficiently. Kids can access help if needed, and each level can be replayed as many times as necessary. All instructions are given in writing, so kids have to be independent readers.
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.
Families can talk 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.