See What Inspires Future Inventor Henry!
Brilliant innovator and Featured Maker Henry has big ideas! He is 10 years old and entering the 5th grade in Illinois, where he lives with his family and his cats. Henry loves his cats – he told us that he would own a hundred of them if it were up to him!
At school, Henry loves to code in the library using his iPad. He enjoys creating things and wants to be an inventor when he grows up. In fact, he already has an invention that automatically feeds his cats! We sat down with Henry and his father, Marcus, to learn more about how much Henry loves to code and invent new things.
How did you get introduced to Tynker? It was my dad who introduced me three and a half years ago.
How did you learn how to use Tynker when you were first starting out? My dad was helping me with it.
How did you feel when you found out your project had been featured? I was really amazed and happy!
How do you get inspiration for your projects? For one of my featured projects, a burger clicker, I actually got the idea from one of my friends that wanted me to make that! Sometimes I just go onto the web and play a game for some time, then I use that and modify it a bit so that it’s how I would like that game to be.
Why do you like to code? Because you can make whatever you want to make! It’s not just like, “oh, I’ve got to play Minecraft.” It’s like Minecraft could be too hard at the point you’re at, so then you just try to make a little Minecraft thing that’s easier or change it a bit so that it’s more how you would like it to be.
Do you have a favorite code block? All the starting blocks, because without them you couldn’t get anything to work!
What do you do with a project when you’re done with it? I play it, because usually I’m going to be pretty good at that game that I made because I know exactly what the code is. I see if there are any problems, and if there are, I modify them. Usually I publish it – sometimes I show it to someone first.
What are you planning to make next? Tynker inside Tynker. I just modify some of the projects that I’ve already made, like for the ‘Save Cats’ project, I actually made a working save code where you can get your progress back! That’s not to be confused with the one where you take care of a cat, though.
What’s your favorite thing you can do in Tynker? One of the things that I like that you can do in Tynker is when you’re on the actual game and playing, you can answer questions, and then if you get them wrong you can use the function block. It makes it like, “if correct, then continue,” then do that same code block again, ask a question, “if correct, then move on.” It just continues on and on.
How do you think learning to code has prepared you for the future? If I become an inventor, it’s not going to be like, “okay, so, this and this go together, so then I made a new thingy,” because that would probably would have already been invented. So they would have to be more complicated – you would have to have a screen on it that has some coding on it and perhaps some other stuff too, like an auto-drink machine. And maybe just to make some games as well.
Do you think other kids should try coding? Yeah, especially my brother who has done Tynker before but he doesn’t do it very often. He’s not very experienced, but he said he’s going to do more coding now.
What advice would you give to kids starting out with Tynker? Just try your hardest! And always have more than one device that you have a Tynker app on. If you only have one device and you have to delete Tynker on it for some reason, then some projects will not be there but they’ll still be on the other device. So if you go on to those projects on that device, then they’ll be back on both devices.
Henry’s dad, Marcus, has been learning to code since he was in middle school! Of course, he finds it was taught very differently from how Henry is learning it right now. “It’s nice to have a toolkit for him to develop his own projects and designs,” Marcus said. “Since he wants to be an inventor, he can look at all the tools he has around and put things together.”
Marcus understands that in order to solve problems, you must first identify the problem. He observes the benefits of Henry learning code this early, saying, “I think that there’s some brainstorming that goes on behind the scenes. It’s not structured, where you’re writing down all the problems and possible solutions, but I think the kids are probably thinking through that in their heads – identifying problems and learning the tools to help them solve those problems.” Kids are also learning to market their creations with things like catchy thumbnails, he notes!
“I expect that eventually, he’ll be moving from blocks to text or syntax coding here, actually picking up the language,” Marcus comments. “I expect that transition will come because maybe he gets bored with the selection blocks that are available and maybe wants to create his own subroutines or something.”
We know that Henry’s creativity and ingenuity will propel him to a bright future! We want to thank Henry and Marcus for sitting down with us and illustrating their love of coding. We can’t wait to see what kind of projects and inventions you’re stirring up, Henry!