Tynker Website Poster Image


Coding concepts made fun with paid courses, free games.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn the logic behind software programming. Dragging commands into place and then adding the specifics lets kids grasp the ideas behind programming. Kids will learn about conditional clauses, looping, and other programming commands. They'll also be able to use Tynker tools and their new knowledge to create their own programs. The Hour of Code introduces kids to programming, and the paid, self-paced courses cement the skills through practice. Tynker is a great building block to get kids interested in programming and help them understand the concepts involved.

Positive messages

The idea that everyone can learn to program permeates the site, encouraging kids step by step. Kids can see examples of programs other kids have created to get inspired.

Violence & scariness

Games can be programmed with zombie characters and graveyard settings, and characters can shoot lasers if programmed to do so.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Tynker is a Web-based course collection that teaches kids the logic of programming using visual blocks of code. Parents can register kids for two paid, self-paced online courses, Introduction to Programming and Game Design, or have kids work on several free coding games in the Hour of Code section, which includes a few activities that let kids program their own games or apps. Kids can share the programs they create online and view programs written by other kids. The paid courses also include a library of resources for kids to use to create unlimited programs.

What's it about?

TYNKER uses visual blocks of code, based on the concepts of Scratch, developed by MIT, to teach kids the concepts of programming. In the courses, kids watch videos, work through programming tutorials, take quizzes to check for understanding, and work on their own programs. Once the courses are purchased, kids have lifetime access. The Hour of Code exercises include several games that offer some instruction as well as tutorials that walk kids step by step through the process of creating a game or an app using the visual code blocks.

Is it any good?


Tynker​ is a rich resource for kids wanting to learn the basics of programming. The courses use videos and interactive exercises to demonstrate the how-tos of programming, using the vocabulary of the trade without overtly teaching kids a programming language. The free games are tricky to find on the site -- at the bottom of the home page with a link to Hour of Code -- but are a great introduction for kids to try out several games and to help parents gauge if kids might be interested in (or even need) a full-blown course. Some browsers work better than others for some games (game-creation activities Space Zombies and 15 Block Challenge didn't work in Chrome but did in Firefox and Explorer), and some of the animations can be slow to respond, which may frustrate eager players.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how much technology has changed and how fast it's still changing. Parents can share what computing was like when they were kids and even how much technology has changed in their kids' lifetimes.

  • Talk to kids about the increasing need to understand programming concepts, both for career options and as users of technology.

Website details

Subjects:Math: sequences
Skills:Thinking & Reasoning: hypothesis-testing, logic, strategy, thinking critically
Creativity: combining knowledge, producing new content
Self-Direction: initiative, working efficiently
Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
Topics:Cats, dogs, and mice, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Space and aliens
Price:Free-$50 per course
Pricing structure:Free to Try, Paid (Several coding games are included as part of the Hour of Code curriculum. Kids can also take online courses for $50 per course for lifetime access.)

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byRogerSmithington August 19, 2015

Tynker Sucks

This website is a cheap knockoff of Scratch. the Workspace is horribly designed.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Safety and privacy concerns

Buy more

I bought this app with the idea that it was a good tool for young children to learn to have fun programming. It promised an hour of free instruction. Good luck trying to access the free hour. Trying to access their "free hour" is a nightmare; their push is to buy their extra tutorial services. That would be fine, if I had any idea if it was worthwhile. I can't access anything more than their basic instruction in how to use this program. It is definitely not enough to use the program, unless you are a techie, in which case you may already know how to instruct a child to use it...otherwise very frustrating.
Kid, 8 years old October 15, 2016