Tynker Summer Code Jam Winner: Autumn Doesn’t Clown Around with Coding!

Tynker Summer Code Jam Winner: Autumn Doesn’t Clown Around with Coding!

Our 2020 Summer Code Jam is almost over, and we’re so excited to talk to some of our winners about their awesome projects and experiences with Tynker!

Autumn is our Week 2 and Week 6 Top Prize Winner! She is eleven years old and loves to animate, draw, and write. Also, she loves going to circus camp where she learned to master aerial fabrics, stilt-walking and even the unicycle! But, when it comes to coding, she’s not clowning around!

When Autumn grows up she has aspirations of becoming an artist, specifically an animator! In fact, it was her hand-drawn animations that particularly impressed the judges in Week 2. 

How did you get introduced to Tynker and how long have you been coding? We got introduced to Tynker by the website. My brother really wanted to code so that’s pretty much how we all got introduced by just coding! And I’ve been coding for about a year and a half.

How did you feel when you found out your project had been featured? I was really surprised, I had no idea I would be the one winner out of thousands of people!

What is your favorite project you’ve made so far? It’s an animation I did! I really like that it’s really smooth! 

Where did you get the idea for your project and how long did it take you to make? I got inspiration from my brother and it took me a couple of days to make it!

How do you get inspiration for your projects? Things just sort of pop up in my head sometimes and sometimes from my brother!

Why do you like to code? I just like how the animation brings my drawings to life. And how coding can make a game and anything can happen!

Do you have a favorite code block? I think Broadcast and Receive are really cool, but I like all of them!

What do you do with a project when you’re done with it? I make a project and then I want to show it to my mom and dad first to get permission! Sometimes I have my brother test it out for me!

What are you planning to make next? I plan to continue doing the Summer Code Jam Challenges. Also, my brother, mom and I started to make a game together called COVID-19 Chomp where you are supposed to eat dandelion leaves and not eat or touch COVID bugs. You try to make your health better with a health bar!

What’s the best thing about Tynker? The animation button! It is easier to animate with Tynker than other coding platforms I know of.

Do you think other kids should try coding? Yeah, it’s a very great experience! You can make all kinds of games with animation and everything can just come to life!

What advice would you give to kids starting out with Tynker? I would say, look at other people’s projects and just start out slow. Don’t get ahead of yourself, just try some blocks or just see how they work by clicking on them and see what they do!

Have you done a Tynker Code Jam before? No, I have not actually! I just joined Tynker 2 months ago!

How long did it take you to complete the project? About 4 days!

Did you have any interesting challenges that they had to figure out – like how to move legs or add the right music? Well, first some bugs in there like if things come too early or too late!

Are you going to do other Tynker Code Jam Challenges? Yes, definitely!

Autumn’s parents, Alicia and Brian, joined in on the conversation and expressed how they felt about Autumn learning to code. “I think it’s great because [Autumn and her brother] were taking some acting classes, and so they’re able to kind of voice act in their projects and put everything together,” Alicia said. “Using drawing and coding and voice acting, they just come up with whatever inspires them.  I’m always surprised to see what the heck they have put together.”

Autumn is homeschooled and learns at her own pace with things that she is interested in. Brian adds, “They learn all kinds of different skills from just this one coding type of program.  They are doing their interests of drawing, but then they’re animating it, then coding with it, and they’re expanding upon what their interests are.  So I think that’s really, really cool.”

Alicia notes that Autumn likes to just explore freely, while her brother likes more structured things, so Alicia expresses the fact that since Tynker has both, it helps them out no matter how they like to learn. As far as what kind of skills it helps them learn, Brian says, “I think it utilizes their imagination, their artistic skills, their way of getting into that creative place.  So, if a child has a more structured orientation or more artistic one, they are able to move to that creative mode using their imagery to able to express it on a program, and that is really nice.”

Both Brian and Alicia believe that Autumn, as well as her brother, are better prepared for the future, especially in the direction the world is taking, being more technological. “She has this dream of drawing and becoming an animator.  If she does want to pursue it, she can build on her skills and take it up a level using JavaScript or a program like that,” Brian said. “It may change, but you know it’s good to open doors for her and support what she enjoys.  Our main focus (and hers) is not winning any competitions.  Our focus is on keeping their curiosity and interests alive, while her focus is playing and creating; the rest will fall into place.”

We want to thank Autumn, Alicia, and Brian for taking the time to speak with us about their experience with Tynker. We’re looking forward to more of Autumn’s projects and wish her luck for the rest of the Summer Code Jam. Happy coding!

Tynker enables children to learn computer programming in a fun and imaginative way. More than 60 million kids worldwide have started learning to code using Tynker.