Nila Stands Out With Her Code!
Nila is a bona fide leader, teaching her own art class at just eight years old! This Featured Maker is from California and her favorite subjects are science and art. When she’s not in school, Nila loves to draw, read, watch TV, and of course code!
When Nila grows up, she would like to be an astronomer, because she loves space and has so many questions about it, or an app designer because of her affinity for coding, or an artist because she loves drawing cartoons, people, and animals!
How did you get introduced to Tynker and how long have you been coding? I would say I’ve been coding for a bit more than a year. And how I got introduced to Tynker is first I enrolled in this coding camp like two summers ago and they taught me Scratch. So one day, I found the app Tynker on my iPad and I started using it and realized it’s a coding app. So, now I love code and I have no idea how many self-made projects I have but it’s over 30, I love coding!
How did you learn how to use Tynker when you were first starting out? I just started looking and creating new projects. I just started playing around with the turtle star drawing thing. I kept doing it and changing colors. When I finished I just took pictures and played it again and again! What I like about the courses is that they’re super specific and it teaches you exactly what you need to know to make it so you can alter it in different ways!
How have your coding skills improved since you started using Tynker? From just doing Peep dance parties to dress-ups and interaction games. I think that’s how my coding skills have improved!
How did you feel when you found out your project had been featured? I was like, “Ohh my goodness. Dad! Dad! Dad!” I was super excited and asked my mom and dad if I could do the interview!
What is your favorite project you’ve made so far? At the moment it would be “Rescue It.” So you have a cat and a little person, you’re the person, and there’s an animal control guy in the corner, and there are cars going across the screen. You have to get your person around the cars, and get the cat, then the animal control guy runs away and rescues the cat, but if you touch one of the cars going across, then it’s game over, and you get run over by the car!
Where did you get the idea for your favorite project? Well, I like cats, and I was doing this pony thing where you’re flying and you have to get the princess out of the cage, so there are guys flying across the screen. You have to get through them and stop the evil guy’s plan and save the princess!
How do you get inspiration for your projects? Sometimes I might do it about my interests, things like that, sometimes I just feel in the mood for that, or I go into the community and just look around and think, “Ohh this is cool!” And I just look around and see what everyone makes. Sometimes in the community I like to save the projects. One of my favorite projects I’ve seen in the community is, “What does the Fox Say?” by Katie Cakes, so I saved it on mine. I like to listen to it with my cousins in the car!
Why do you like to code? Usually, so far I’ve made a lot of dress-up games, and the one that got the most likes is the one that got featured, which is “Dress Up (Summer).” So I did like swimsuits, beach balls, buckets, beach bags, I even did a snorkel and sunglasses with beach dresses and skirts! I drew them all myself! Before I used to pick something from the categories but then I figured out that I can draw my own.
“Dress Up (Summer)”
What is your favorite way to use code? My favorite code block would probably be the broadcast block because it’s like starting a conversation. It’s like, the center of attention, like your brain, you’re sending a message from one thing to another!
What do you do with a project when you’re done with it? First of all, after I’ve accomplished what I’m doing, I make sure I have everything I want in it, do everything I want, it does everything I’d like it to, and making sure it has no random things popping up, so I make sure have just what I like. I’ll debug it, but before I publish it, I’ll usually show my mom and dad or my cousins if they’re over. Or friends, if a friend comes over I’ll ask, “Do you want to see one of my coding projects?” And they’ll say, “Sure!” Then I’ll show them the coding projects, they love playing it, especially my cousins.
What are you planning to make next? Well, I’m still working on the “Rescue It” game, but I’m thinking about doing more dress up games. One of my other dress up games is “Pusheen Dress Up,” the one with the little cat and button that you dress up.
“Pusheen Dress Up”
What’s the best thing about Tynker? Probably having fun and realizing what other code blocks can do. I like when you have Codey in the corner and then you’re like, “What does he do?” You tap on him and he’s like, “If you need help, drag code blocks on me,” then I started looking up code blocks and I took them and dragged them onto Codey, and he showed me, and that’s how I learned how to use most of the code. Another thing is, you can actually write notes on Tynker to other coders.
How do you think learning to code has prepared you for the future? Well, in the future I’m thinking about, you know how people have disabilities? I’m thinking of coding wheelchairs or something, to have mechanical arms to help people with disabilities get something, like help them drink or eat.
Do you think other kids should try coding? Yeah, it’s something for everyone! Next time my friends or cousins come over, I’m going to say, “Do you guys want to learn how to code?” Hopefully they say yes and then I’ll show them some of my projects and if they ask about them, I’ll get them a blank project and show them how I do it!
What advice would you give to kids starting out with Tynker? I would show them how to do different things, like which code blocks to use, and who knows, they might even see my project in the Tynker community and say, “Ohh that’s so cool!”
When we asked Gerald, Nila’s father, how he feels about Nila learning how to code, he told us: “I’ve really been amazed with her learning curve and her progress. It kind of started a year ago, she’s had an iPad for 4 years now, and there are studies out there that say that iPads may have some inverse effects on children with social capabilities and so forth, but we’ve managed to limit the exposure to allow her to explore her creativity. A year ago I was in the app store, I saw that there were a couple apps and I was reading some articles on Facebook about engineering (I work in the tech industry myself) so I downloaded those apps and lo and behold, she kind of just discovered it on her own and started getting immersed in it. That translated into other school activities like after school clubs and summer camps. We just offer her anything else she is interested in like science, art camp, or coding camp. She likes to try them and so far she’s been really happy with it.”
Gerald told us about some advantages learning to code has given Nila: “I think a couple things come to mind, like problem solving. Exploring all the possibilities with coding. Preparing variables and QA and debug, that helps her with preparing herself, double-checking her work, and going back and refining her process and improving upon it. Like she mentioned with her game, ‘Rescue It,’ it’s already invented ideas for her to improve and helps her with the planning stages. Essentially coming up with an idea and evolving that into an execution.”
Thank you, Gerald and Nila, for sharing with us your experiences with coding! We can’t wait to see more of Nila’s artistic projects!