Hannah Codes for Causes She Cares About!
Hannah is a homeschooled 5th grader from California who loves reading books and learning about animals. In her words, “Dogs are my favorite. We have a dog who’s four and he still hasn’t outgrown his puppy phase. He’s really energetic – you should see him!”
Hannah dreams of a career as a writer, artist, or some other creative role! What else is in her future? “I’m just going to have a bunch of foster children. I’m going to be an old maid! I’m going to live on a farm and have lots of foster animals and help them bond with the foster children – help them heal their pain.”
Her projects have really caught our eye (next up, she’s planning to create a communication device for kids with different abilities), so we chatted with Hannah to find out who she is and why she loves to code!
What do you like to code? Whatever comes to mind – although I’ve got like 100 unfinished projects from when I just stop or get sick of them and leave them there. The published ones aren’t that many of the ones I’ve created.
What makes you choose to publish something? As long as it’s done, I publish it.
How did you feel when you found out your project had been featured? Well, I didn’t quite realize it until I logged in and then I realized it! I was like, “MOM mom mom!” She put her email address in and I was crazy excited! It was the day after my birthday so it was kind of like a birthday present!
How did you get introduced to Tynker? Well, when I was eight there was this app I came up with, a school app for kids who were homeschooled to get a virtual public school experience! I wrote down all the little details. You could chat with your friends, and parents could filter it to only let them chat with certain people. At the time I didn’t know coding existed!
Over the summer I decided to make my own apps and dad’s like, “Well, you have to code it!” and I was like, “What’s coding?” I looked on the web and found an app. I learned how to code and all. I thought every adult knew how to code. I didn’t think of it as coding – I thought of it as making games!
Did you use any Tynker courses or tutorials to learn to code? I asked my parents if I could get a subscription on Tynker and once they realized I was pretty serious about Tynker, dad signed me up. I pushed myself into Python; I like to try the different courses. One of my favorites is Glitch Manor – there’s like magical stuff that you get to code! It’s imaginative.
How do you get inspiration for your projects? I might get an idea from the published projects or I’ll see something on my web safe browser. It’ll give me an idea like, that’d be cool to turn into a kid version. Like, a password generator or something. I realized there was only one password generator for kids out there, so I decided to make my own.
“Passcode Generator” Check out more of Hannah’s projects here!
How do you use your creativity when you code? Yes – I like creating things for it! I like drawing the characters and stuff and choosing the backgrounds, so it’s fun to make them do different things. I wanted to learn animation so this is like a simple version of animation.
What is your favorite project you’ve made so far? The Generator or My Talking Angelina! Dad said the game on the app store is fluff so I can’t download it, so I decided to make my own. I also have a cat one with kittens – I’m going to update it when I get enough likes. I’m just itching to update it!
Is there anything you’re planning to make next or currently working on? I’m going to make a communication device. My brothers have Down Syndrome, so it’d be kind of cool to have something they could communicate through, or a communication device that keeps you company, or a fun communication device for kids with CP (Cerebral Palsy). I’ve grown up in a disability community; I’ve been going to a camp for kids with special needs since I was four. My dad started helping around there so I’ve grown up going around making different friends. Now, it’s my 6th or 7th year and I’ll be going this summer again. I look through a book for kids learning English and use the words from there, essential things for kids who are learning English. I’m also going to make a project where I’ll record myself saying different things.
What do you do with a project when you’re done with it? Well, I like to look through it to make sure there aren’t any bugs. My sisters love testing my projects – they take it as a chance to try out new games. Our family has a rule against fluff games, so I make them the fluff games! I’m going to ask my sister if she wants me to make her a cooking game or something. They’re both adopted from China. They’re seven and eight. Whenever I tell them, “I just coded a new game!” they’re like, “Ahhh!” It’s pretty cute.
“My Project 32”
What’s your favorite feature in Tynker My favorite feature is that some of the courses are very imaginative, and they kind of guide you through them without making you feel like you’re being forced to do it. It doesn’t feel like school and doesn’t feel like you’re actually learning something – they put it together like a video game.
Do you ever Tynker with your friends? Right now I’m working on teaching my sisters to code, and I want to make a lesson for younger kids who can’t read to teach them how to use Tynker. I don’t have friends who Tynker, but I help my sisters and Ellie really wants an account.
How do you think learning coding now might help you in the future? Apparently it helps with your mind and stuff, and I think it’ll also be a cool skill to have because I can do whatever I want with technology. Maybe I can be like the character in a show I like who can hack into any computer! She can grab her computer and then put her face on TV.
Do you think other kids should try coding Yes! It’s fun, it’s useful, it helps you. Like I said before, if you’re not allowed to have certain apps you can just make your own versions of those apps and use them as much as you want!
What advice would you give to kids starting out with Tynker? The advice I’d give other kids: if you’re allowed to look at the published projects then you can see the code. Look at the code, because when I was confused by Tynker, I decided, “Okay, I’m going to check out what is this part called community. Is it like Facebook or what?” That ended up helping me – I’ve learned different codes from it. It’s kind of like kids are teaching other kids without meaning to, so I’d give kids that tip.
What’s a fun fact about you? I’ve been all over the world! China twice, Albania twice, London twice, Korea, Germany – I could go on and on! A fun fact is that when I was little, my parents took me to Hong Kong Disney and for a while I thought that was the only Disneyland. So when my grandparents told me for Christmas I got a surprise, you get to go to Disneyland, I thought we were going back to China until they drove me here to the LA Disneyland and I was like, “Wow, there’s one here!” It makes for a fun story. I have a lot of stories I could go on and on about!
Hannah’s dad Brad thinks Tynker is great for Hannah! “As you gather,” he said, “Hannah is very self-directed, so I think Tynker is a really good platform for her.” She agreed, saying, “It’s not one of those things where you don’t have any freedom!”
He shared a great insight, saying, “We’re raising all our girls to try to figure out what their interests are. One of the things that’s really cool in our society is that there are so many more options for young women to develop different interests.” To this, Hannah interjected, “I’m not a young woman, I’m a girl!”
Brad also spoke about how their family balances Tynker and screen time. “One of the things about computer time is that kids get sucked into it. Tynker is one of those things where you don’t really have to justify what you’re doing the same way you have to with other types of screen time.”
When asked what skills coding helps kids learn, Brad answered, “Problem solving! We haven’t given her a lot of guidance, so when she gets frustrated with figuring stuff out, she has to think, ‘how do you figure it out?’” Hannah confirmed this with, “Yes, Mom actually likes to make me solve it on my own – not because she’s being mean or anything, but it’s more of a test – and then if I can’t figure it out she’ll tell me.”
According to her father, Hannah is “really verbally creative,” and even writes some poetry! Brad thinks “[Coding] actually seems to be able to support that – those elements fit really closely together. The ability to create an additional world is really beneficial.”
We’re so glad to hear that coding has been so beneficial for Hannah and that she loves creating her own games and worlds! Thanks for chatting with us, Hannah and Brad. It truly was a pleasure to get to know you, Hannah – keep coding!