Helen Is Preparing For A Career In Space!
When asked why she loves to code, this week’s Featured Maker told us, “I have so many reasons but this is the one that I like the most: it’s because I can use my mind to create things that I can actually do!”
Meet eight-year-old Helen, a 3rd grader who discovered Tynker on her own! She’s from New Jersey and likes to read any kind of book, has her own YouTube channel, and loves to knit. “I knit a hat,” she told us, “but it turned out to be only the right size for a Barbie doll or something like that!”
We had a great time catching up with Helen and learning all about why she loves to code. We also had a great conversation with her mother Rosaline, who’s a programmer herself!
What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be an astronaut or a space doctor!
What’s your favorite subject in school? I like art, science, and I also like my knitting club.
How did you feel when you found out your project had been featured? I was really, really happy!
How do you get inspiration for your projects? Well, I got the idea for one project called Mouse Dressup from a book. It was a book of craft ideas and one of them was a mouse paper doll. My colored papers went missing so I coded one!
What are you planning to make next? Well, I want to make something where there’s a conveyor belt with all these animals. They’ll be stuffed animals except somebody forgot to put stuffing inside! Because all the stuffed animals will be clear, all the stuffing will be different colors. There will be a machine that pours the stuffing inside and you’ll get to choose the color.
What is your favorite project you’ve made so far? I like them all, but my favorite one was called “Colouring Pages” and my second favorite was called “Disco Lights.” I made a whole animated video with music and that.
“Colouring Pages” – see more of Helen’s projects here
What do you do with a project when you’re done with it? I publish it, or I just leave it and try to make different changes later when I get ideas.
How did you get introduced to Tynker? I searched up on the internet Coding for Kids and then what I found was a website called Tynker! I’ve been coding for three years!
How did you learn how to use Tynker? Well, at first I used the beginner tutorials, then I used intermediate, and then advanced, now I do projects on my own! I do Tynker at home, not at school.
What’s your favorite feature in Tynker? My favorite part is the pen blocks to draw. In my project called Write, I did not use the pen blocks to write, I found out how to do a writing thing on my own. I also like to do art!
Do you look at the Tynker community projects? Sometimes I like other people’s ideas so I remix them. One of my remix projects was Disco Lights. Before Disco Lights was black and white but I changed it into colors and added music.
How do you think learning coding now will help you in the future? I don’t know, what if my spaceship broke and I need to code it again?
Do you think other kids should try coding? Yes, I have a friend who I think should code because I love her drawing ideas and I love her thinking ideas, too!
What advice would you give for kids starting out with Tynker? I want to make a guiding project sometime when I get a little bit better. I want to learn how to use the motion blocks. When I first started Tynker I got so confused with the motion blocks, but then the tutorials helped me.
Helen’s mom, Rosaline, is “very happy for Helen” and supports her coding endeavors! She’s a programmer but elected to refrain from teaching Helen to code herself. “I wanted her to learn in her own way,” she explained. “I just see how she’s doing, but I never interfere with her learning experience because I want it to be more exploratory.”
“I see there are newer ways of learning coding,” she said, “and I just want her creativity to flow. I don’t say, ‘this is how you have to code’; I let her figure out how to solve her problem and see what Tynker has to offer to solve her problem.”
Rosaline continued with, “I think it’s helpful to have logical thinking! It helps alongside math.” We loved what she said about how learning is fun with Tynker – “[Helen] says she doesn’t like logic puzzles, but I see her solving puzzles all the time!”
She also shared a great insight about creativity – Rosaline noticed that coding comes more naturally to Helen when she’s solving a problem or expressing a creative story she’s been thinking about. According to her mother, Helen “has a lot of creativity and loves to write, so she has all of these creative thoughts.” We were excited to hear that “with Tynker, she can get a feel for actually bringing those ideas to life. It’s a good way to bring programming and creativity together. Children have a lot of original ideas and they can certainly bring in their creativity to a larger community.”
Rosaline also has ideas about how to best teach coding, saying, “I feel like coding and programming should be integrated into the larger curriculum so they have a more immersive learning experience, not in isolation.”
Thanks for speaking with us, Helen and Rosaline! We had fun learning more about Helen and enjoyed your insights about coding, Rosaline. We can’t wait to see what Helen creates next!