The Best of Tynker’s Summer Code-A-Thon
This summer’s Code-A-Thon was a huge success! 15,361 kids wrote 3,595,276 lines of code following themes like “How Would You Change The World?” “Lights, Code, Action!” and “Teach Us Something!” Over the course of 10 weeks, we received 38,141 project submissions, and we were blown away by the depth and breadth of projects we saw. Everyone was welcome to participate – some users published their first project as a submission to the Code-A-Thon!
Young makers are catching onto the vision of coding as a creative endeavor – they’re using it as an art medium and a way to spread their messages! That’s why as we looked at each project and selected the best of the best, we evaluated them based on the quality of their code, but also using metrics like artwork, originality, and overall function.
Kids used Tynker in ways we never expected – they created a virtual spelling bee, a heart rate simulator, and an intricate replica of a computer – complete with apps and games! With the hilarious dancing banana animation and projects teaching other kids how to use Tynker, our community of coders truly impressed and entertained us this summer!
From generating ideas about how to combat poverty to teaching us how to make pancakes, kids’ contributions to Tynker’s Code-A-Thon helped foster creativity and community while preventing summer slide.
How Did Kids Code to Change the World?
Summer can easily fade into a boring, hot haze – but with the Code-A-Thon, creativity was sparked and ideas expressed! Each week, we chose a theme and asked kids to submit projects. They caught on quickly, submitting over 550 projects every day for the duration of the 10 weeks!
The themes helped them come up with amazing ideas, and the community helped them learn from each other’s grand plans. For example, one inspiring project is full of great tips for reusing household objects rather than throwing them away! Our favorite idea? Filling an old bottle with beans and starting a band!
Young coders are the world’s future young leaders and makers, so it’s imperative that they collaborate! As Heather, Code-A-Thon winner Madelyn’s mother, said, “Tynker inspires her to try new things and share with others what she’s created, while also gaining ideas and insights from what others have created.”
Some makers expressed their ideas with words, coding virtual “speeches”; others used Tynker characters and their own animations to illustrate the effects of pollution or their vision for a better world.
Kids were empowered by the response from the Tynker community – Code-A-Thon winner Chloe was incredibly excited when she was featured, telling us, “I was very shocked and I was literally staring at my iPad. I went to tell my dad and we were both very happy as well as my mom. I was actually very surprised because that was the 2nd or 3rd project I ever did.”
This positive feedback encouraged kids to continue coming up with important ideas about how to impact our changing world, in addition to keeping them coding and building the skills that come with it.
How Did They Expand Their Creativity?
While all of the Code-A-Thon themes encouraged some great ideas, the “Create A Pet” theme, and the “Lights, Code, Action” themes generated some particularly creative animations. Kids agreed – one winner said, “The show/movie scene one was my favorite because you get to put your own spin on something.”
We saw hundreds of unique renditions of books and movies like this version of The Secret Life of Pets. One user even coded Dr. Suess’s classic “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”! As winner Julian’s mother Emily said, “Coding is a great way to combine Julian’s interest in creative art, music, and design. Programming allows Julian’s ideas and imagination to come to life.”
What Did Kids Teach Us?
The themes encouraged kids – even coding beginners – to step outside their comfort zones and put their coding skills to the test by creating tutorials, stories, activities, and more. They enjoyed diving in and tackling themes week by week!
Mary, a Code-A-Thon winner, told us, “My favorite theme was the one where we taught you something – this made [me] think a lot.” The “Teach Us Anything” theme was one of our favorites, too – we learned a lot from the Tynker community! One project taught us how to make money! (Among the suggestions are “buying a lottery ticket.”) From another funny, well-animated take on the theme, we learned how to make toast!
What Did They Learn?
Kids made games, but that’s not all they created! During our Code-A-Thon, 50% of submitted projects were virtual toys, activities, stories, and animations. Kids aren’t coding in the traditional manner – they are learning through project based learning. When kids focus on a project and follow it through to completion, they build skills like focus, problem-solving, and resilience.
With Tynker’s Code-A-Thon, kids worked toward a goal each week, fostering ingenuity and new ideas. This summer, they were given the educational tools they needed, and they gained motivation and excitement at the prospect of winning.
Validating kids’ ideas kept them excited about their goals and encouraged them to continue coding, keeping them up to speed on math, writing abilities, and logical thinking in preparation to return to school.
As your kids anxiously await next summer’s Code-A-Thon, supplement their transition back to school with Tynker’s easy, fun approach to coding!