Featured Maker: The Cat’s in the Bag for Caitlin’s Coding!

Featured Maker: The Cat’s in the Bag for Caitlin’s Coding!

The Cat’s in the Bag for Caitlin’s Coding!

Caitlin loves her cats! She loves to draw ‘em, play with ‘em. .  She can’t get enough of ‘em! Caitlin is also our newest Featured Maker, a 9-year-old from Pennsylvania. She aspires to be a pastry chef or a teacher, but most of all she’d love to own a pet daycare! We think a pet daycare/school where you can also pick up some freshly baked pastries sounds pretty purr-fect to us. 

As befits a burgeoning young pastry chef, Caitlin loves to bake, especially her famous banana bread! And, when in school, Caitlin’s favorite subject is art. Why? Because that’s when she has time to do her cat drawings! With so many hobbies, it’s hard to imagine that Caitlin has time for code, but she sure does! Let’s find out more.

How did you get introduced to Tynker and how long have you been coding? About one to two years, I got introduced when my second grade teacher allowed us to get Tynker. I didn’t get it right away but then I saw that people were playing it on and I wondered what makes this so special that everyone likes it so much? So, I downloaded it and my friend actually introduced it to me. At first, I didn’t know what to press or anything like that, but later I tapped the workshop button and I saw all the different projects I could try and I started trying it! Later on, I realized you could make your own projects and that’s actually mostly what I do. Nowadays, I make super fun projects and I use the code to just work it out and get all the bits in there!

How did you learn how to use Tynker when you were first starting out? What are your favorite Tynker courses or tutorials? Yes, I used the courses and tutorials! I don’t know which are my favorite!

Have your coding skills improved since you started using Tynker? Yes, a bunch! I didn’t really understand ‘broadcast’ and ‘when I receive.’ Now I know exactly what they do and what I do is broadcast and now I know that you actually type what you want to broadcast out.

How did you feel when you found out your project had been featured? I was like, “Oh my goodness!”

What is your favorite project you’ve made so far and what do you like about it? It’s really tough, but in terms of like the one that’s most special to me, I would say it’s the mirror doodle game. I edited it a little bit, like added music and background stuff, because it was the first project that I ever published!

Where did you get the idea for your favorite project and how long did it take you to make? I don’t think it took that long. I was just doing a cool idea because it sounded fun! 

How do you get inspiration for your projects? My brother! He codes with me and sometimes we get inspiration from each other, like he even came up with the idea of one of my projects. It’s not published yet, but we’re working on it. It’s called, Escape the Bandit!

Why do you like to code? Because it’s fun! That’s my answer!

Do you have a favorite code block? I’d say my favorite code blocks are show and hide, I use them often!

What do you do with a project when you’re done with it? Do you debug it? Show it to someone? Publish it? Usually I test it and if there’s anything wrong or fix it. Well, my brother and I test it together and then we just get it ready and finish it!

What are you planning to make next? We’ve been working on this cool new series called shape monsters. These shapes are another player and they’re made of shapes and they found out that she’s really yummy so they decided to try to eat it and while they were moving there they actually bounced off Earth over and over again and turned it into a cube, and they moved around the continent!

Is there anything we should change or add to Tynker? My brother and I both want this feature where you don’t make it so if you don’t want someone to copy or remix your project, you can add that feature and it will allow them to copy your remix for you, but they’ll still be able to like it, or report it.

How do you think learning to code has prepared you for the future? Well, I started a program called code ninjas where we do JavaScript. it’s really helpful especially because I recognize x and y which is actually one of the commands in Java! Code Ninjas is a class in our area where we live, so it’s like this program that you can join and it’s really neat!

Do you think other kids should try coding? Why’s that? Yes, because coding is a big thing. It helps you to learn in school and also because it’s just fun and it helps you make a new hobby!

What advice would you give to kids starting out with Tynker? Start with the projects provided by Tynker, and then you can move on to harder things like making projects from scratch and stuff!

Kathy, Caitlin’s mom, joined us to speak about what she thinks about Caitlin learning to code, how she supports her, and whether or not she is better prepared for the future. “I am thrilled to see her code! I like seeing her brother code too,” Kathy said. “They both get really into it and get really creative, and I just like to watch the brains work. I like seeing something come forth creatively from Caitlin.”

In terms of support, both Kathy and her husband have a strong focus on STEM in their household and vehemently encourage them to code, if that’s what they like. “My husband is a software engineer also,” Kathy said. “So, if they want to do extra coding or if they want to take a class we want to enable them to do it. If they have a question, to the best of our knowledge, my coding knowledge is not great, but I have a tiny bit, I’ll help out.”

Problem-solving and patience are skills that Kathy loves to see Caitlin improve on. “Whenever you hit a brick wall or whenever something isn’t quite working the way you want it to, she can stop and look at it objectively and step outside and try to figure out what she wants to do,” Kathy told us. “And it’s not just a technical skill, that’s a life skill, the patience to get it to where you want it to be, those are really big skills, the fact that she and her brother get along also.”

Kathy is positive that this skill will help her in the future because she knows that you can implement the drive and focus onto other useful aspects in life. We want to thank Caitlin and Kathy for taking the time to speak with us about their experience with Tynker! We look forward to more projects from Caitlin. 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.