Our newest Featured Maker, Nathan from Ohio, has a huge collection of hobbies in addition to coding — he’s a gymnast, a piano player and even a yellow belt in karate. Above all though, Nathan loves storytelling and his affinity for reading and history steers his future aspirations. At 8 years old, he already knows he’d like to be an author when he grows up and he’s a huge fan of Roman and Greek mythology.
Always on the lookout for a new story, we’re glad Nathan found the time to sit down with us and tell us a story of his own: all about his coding experience with Tynker!
How did you get introduced to Tynker and how long have you been coding? I got introduced in the summer of 2018 during a summer coding camp. They introduced Tynker to me!
How did you learn how to use Tynker when you were first starting out? I went to the Tynker community and I looked at projects and wondered how they did it, so I remixed it, saw how they made it, and then I coded it! That’s how I learned!
How have your coding skills improved since you started using Tynker? They improved a lot, like broadcasting and receiving!
How did you feel when you found out your project had been featured? I felt really good, because I just published this project and three days later it’s being featured and it has a badge on it!
What is your favorite project you’ve made so far and what do you like about it? Totoro Acorn Collector! I like it because in the movie the Totoros collect acorns.
Where did you get the idea for your favorite project and how long did it take you to make? I got the idea from the movie and it took me under a month.
Totoro Acorn Collector
How do you get inspiration for your projects? I just think of them and then I create them!
Do you have a favorite code block? It’s the change variable block where you can change a variable by and also set a variable to something, and it’s truly my favorite one!
What do you do with a project when you’re done with it? I just published it immediately because there have been times in the past where I’m like, “Where’s the end of my unpublished projects?” So, I’ve been trying to publish all of my unpublished projects and instead of working on new projects, I’ve been trying to finish them!
What are you planning to make next? Probably the next project I finish and make it officially finished is probably going to be World of Trails 2!
What’s the best thing about Tynker? The best thing about Tynker (and this is probably my number one favorite thing about Tynker) is that you can draw your own characters and you don’t have to choose them from the media library! You can actually design them!
How do you think learning to code has prepared you for the future? It’s probably prepared me for the future because if someone needs me to code something, then I can do it!
Do you think other kids should try coding? Yeah! That’s why I try to make the most interesting projects that I can off the top of my head, so I can basically have my projects go to the Tynker community and then people can view them and be like, “Oh, this kid has over 200 projects.” So, I try to make as many interesting projects as possible to make people realize that if you know what you’re doing, it really takes nothing to code projects!
Nathan’s parents, Tiffany and Jason, sat in on the conversation and expressed their views on Tynker and coding. “Well, it’s really exciting! I mean, he took to it very quickly,” Tiffany said. “We were surprised but we also weren’t surprised because it has such intersectionality, like the creative process, the artistic process, math and science, all of these things together kind of intersect with Tynker.” Tiffany also loves how the community is so positive and a safe place for him to navigate and she adds that Nathan even rewards himself at the end of his school day by going on Tynker and creating!
“Before he started with Tynker, he would create art, do creative things like that, create cities with his toys in the basement: an imaginary land with irrigation systems,” Jason added. “But the games he creates are representations of all these things that are in his brain, so that creativity gets to come out in a real focused, more tangible way where it’s truly interactive.”
Jason and Tiffany support Nathan by letting him run with it as well as offering their advice.
“He’ll show us things and sometimes every once in a while, not often, we’ll offer some kind of constructive criticism, which is not often well received, but he’s getting better,” Tiffany laughed. “You’re making something for yourself, but you’re also trying to appeal to other users so you want to kind of consider other people when you’re making a program even though you’re making something that’s yours, you want to think about if it’s playable, is it interesting?”
When it comes to Nathan’s future, both Jason and Tiffany feel confident that Tynker sets him on a beneficial path. “I think he has a different perspective and a skill that is going to be increasingly valuable,” Jason said. “As everything becomes more and more computerized, I think this definitely gives him an edge.”
Tiffany adds, “Not to mention, he’s evolving with the program, so as new things become available, he’s consistent with it. He’s learning these skills in real-time, so he’s staying current. And I like that too. I’m happy for him and that he has the world in real-time that we didn’t and that is really kind of a cool thing.”
We want to thank Nathan, Tiffany and Jason for taking the time to speak with us about Tynker! We are looking forward to the next chapter of Nathan’s coding story.