6 Fun Ways to Start Coding with Tynker this Summer
It can be expensive and stressful to keep kids engaged and learning over the summer. Coding is a great way for your child to explore a new skill that teaches them to think in ways they might not have been taught in school. Coding helps with organizational skills, planning ahead, and algorithmic thinking. And with Tynker, coding is fun, intellectually engaging, and incredibly creative. If your child can read, your child is ready to start coding with Tynker. So what are your options?
1. Try an Hour of Code
Tynker is a leading provider of activities for the Hour of Code, an event hosted by Code.org every December. But you can try these fun activities anytime, and there are far more than an hour of fun activities to do.
Tynker’s Hour of Code activities include Code Monsters, where you use code to capture, train, and battle your monsters; Code Commander, where you program your army to defeat the invading goblin hordes; Monster High Music Video, where you use programming to choreograph a dancing scene; and much much more.
How to do it: Go to tynker.com and create a free account for your child to unlock all of the Hour of Code activities. You can create a parent account to monitor your child’s progress and see what your child is making.
Advantages: This is a great starter activity because it introduces coding in a way that is fun and accessible. Kids often see programming as dry or difficult, but when they start with these engaging puzzle and game activities, they learn that although programming can be challenging, it allows them to express themselves creatively and interact with their digital world in new ways.
2. Get the Tynker app to code on the go!
The Tynker app offers dozens of fun coding puzzles for a variety of interests, which gently introduce programming concepts like sequencing, repetition, and functions. Although they start out very easy, they quickly get more challenging and reinforce algorithmic thinking skills.
Once kids are comfortable with drag-and-drop blocks, they can go into the Tynker Workshop, which has over 100 programming projects they can make with step-by-step instructions. Each activity is labeled beginner, intermediate, or advanced so that kids can start with the easier topics and advance to more complex projects.
Finally, kids can start coding on their own from a blank template in the Tynker Workshop. They’ll be able to make incredible games, animations, and more, then publish their creations to the Tynker Community.
How to do it: You’ll need an Android tablet or iPad. Just go to the App Store or Google Play Store and download the Tynker app.
Advantages: The Tynker app allows kids to learn and create in a very open-ended environment. They can learn from other kids’ projects in our totally moderated community, as well as publish their own creations. If you’re planning a long car ride or family vacation, the Tynker app is a must-have to stave off boredom on the go because it doesn’t require an Internet connection for coding. The app is also great for very young kids, who are often more comfortable with a tablet touchscreen than with a mouse or trackpad on a computer.
Price: Free. You can also purchase additional puzzle sets as in-app purchases.
3. Make Minecraft skins, items, blocks, and mods
Kids can use Tynker’s familiar drag-and-drop coding blocks to create mods and customize their Minecraft world. Once they’ve mastered the basics of modding with Tynker, they can create awesome multiplayer games. From within Tynker, they can whitelist known Minecraft users so that only their approved friends can get into their server. When they deploy the game, their friends can join the server and play along.
How to do it: You must own the classic Minecraft. Tynker modding is not supported with Xbox edition, Pocket Edition, or Windows 10 Edition. Create a free student account for your child and link it to a free parent account using your email address. Follow the instructions with your child to set up their server, then they’ll have access to one free modding course and one hour/month of time on a private server to test their mods and items.
Advantages: If your child loves Minecraft, they’ll love Minecraft modding. Tynker removes the frustrations of downloading and uploading files, managing a server, and dealing with the Java code. You can deploy mods, games, and items to your server with just a click.
Price: Free. You can purchase a Tynker subscription for additional courses and more time on a private server to test your creations.
4. Complete an online programming course
Tynker’s courses will take your child from little or no programming knowledge to being able to truly express themselves with coding. In each lesson, your child will learn a programming concept, explore it in a structured environment, and have the chance to apply it creatively in an open-ended coding project. Along the way, they unlock characters, earn badges, and make incredible projects that are fun to play and that they will love showing off to their friends and family. Fifteen minutes of coding every day this summer will go a long way!
How to do it: Enroll your child or children in Tynker’s courses. A subscription includes nine coding courses, three Minecraft modding and game design courses, unlimited time in the Tynker Workshop and Minecraft editors, and eight hours/month of time on a private Minecraft server where they can easily test their mods and games. Courses can be accessed on any desktop, laptop, or netbook computer.
Advantages: Kids can learn on their own at their own pace with Tynker courses. The scaffolded, gamified lessons teach new concepts in a way that is fun and applicable. Kids are motivated by the ability to create anything they can imagine, including games, school projects, animations, and even Minecraft mods and multiplayer games.
Price: $8/month for an annual subscription for one child. For additional pricing options, see here.
5. Code your own drone
Programming with the Tynker app can turn a really fun toy into an incredibly engaging learning experience. Kids can program a controller for their drone, program their drone to navigate an obstacle course, or anything else they can imagine. Drones allow kids to visualize their code as they play, experiment, explore, and learn. On the Tynker app, kids can complete the Crash Course puzzle set to learn how to program the drone, then use one of our drone programming templates or program the drone from a blank template.
How to do it: Download the Tynker app on an Android tablet or iPad. The Crash Course puzzle set is one of the options on the main page, and you can create a program to control the drone by creating a blank template in the Tynker Workshop or going to the Connected Toys section for templates.
Advantages: When kids can program the drone themselves, they’re not just reading instructions from a manual–they’re inventing their own play, and learning valuable debugging skills in the process.
Price: Parrot offers some minidrones for under $100! Tynker also supports Sphero, Ollie, Phillips Hue Lights, and Parrot Airborne Cargo Drone.
6. Enroll in a coding camp
Many camp providers, from industry leaders like iDTech and Sylvan, to small independent camps, use Tynker’s software and lesson plans to teach coding. Hurry! Many of these summer programs are already selling out!
Advantages: Having a trained teacher helps kids persevere through the initial learning curve of figuring out programming logic and debugging their programs. Plus, their peers and instructors will be able to brainstorm with them, help them debug their problems, and give them feedback on what they can improve.
Price: Depends on provider. Check the camp provider’s website for details.
Any questions? Don’t hesitate to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great time coding and a great summer!