Featured Maker: Penelope Likes Reading and Skateboarding!
Meet our newest Featured Maker, 6th grader Penelope from Washington! Her favorite subject in school is math. And when she grows up, she wants to be a lawyer! Penelope talked with us about her experience coding with Tynker:
How did you get introduced to Tynker?
My librarian taught me how to download your app. And I wasn’t really into it at that time, but then during quarantine, I started getting a little bored and once I started coding I just didn’t want to stop coding!
How did you learn to use Tynker?
I looked at other people’s projects and then I took their code and I looked at them, then I went and made my own game!
Have your coding skills improved since you started using Tynker?
I think they’ve improved a lot because I started with little animations, and now I’m doing more difficult things to code.
How did you feel when you found out your project had been featured?
I’ve seen other featured projects but then it had that little award thing that’s asking for my mom’s email. I was like, okay so maybe I got something a little more than just a feature!
What’s your favorite project you’ve made so far?
I do like my dress-up Nico which is a good project, but I also made another dress-up which is dress-up the cat, which is my grandma’s cat. He’s a little kitten, and I did that one because I want to dress him up in a little top hat and bow tie!
Where did you get the idea for your project?
I got the idea from my grandma’s cat, and it took me one and a half days, because I could just take my other dress-up game and just use that code and then just draw new things, but that was the first game I did a little code box where you have to enter a code and then more things pop up!
How do you get inspiration for your projects?
Either I take things from other people’s games like, oh, that’s a good concept. Or I take things like my grandma’s cat, and I make games out of that!
Why do you like to code?
I like to code because it’s good to pass time, and it can be frustrating when you’re just like, that’s not a good code block for that. You really have to figure it out!
Do you have a favorite code block?
No, but I think the hide and show block has been very useful for some of my projects!
What do you do with a project when you’re done?
Some projects, when I get really proud of them, I’ll show them to my family members, but there have been a few that I just post and then show them like my drawing games where I did little spirals!
What are you planning to make next?
I just made a little maze game so I might make a second maze game!
What’s the best thing about Tynker?
That you can see other people’s projects. It’s a fun way to share things, but you don’t really have to communicate like face-to-face. It’s a good way to kind of make friends.
How do you think learning to code has prepared you for the future?
It helps me kind of work around roadblocks, and it calms me down sometimes. Like sometimes, I’ll get in a fight with my sister and I’ll go code for a while, but it’s definitely helped me for my future. I can focus more at school, so it’s definitely helped!
Do you think other kids should try coding?
Yeah, I do think other kids should try coding. It’s a good way to work your brain in a way, like after watching a couple hours of TV or something. People say, just go on a walk but it’s like more. Where I live it’s always raining, so I recommend staying in and coding because your brain just calms down!
What advice would you give to kids starting out with Tynker?
Look at other people’s projects. It will definitely help you. And if you ever do feel stuck, what I do is I take the game I’m trying to figure out, and I search for it, and then most likely there are other games that are just what you’re trying to make and that really helps!
Bonus: What’s a fun fact about you?
I’ve been known as the cat girl!
Penelope’s mother, Heather, spoke with us about her daughter learning to code with Tynker:
I think it’s really awesome. We’re a teacher family, and so I spent some time as a substitute in the fourth grade where they start a lot of coding, and it’s just so good for even just logic and how things work.
She’s like, well it doesn’t really fit with being a lawyer and I’m like, no because lawyers have to do this step and then this step and then this step, so it’s really good to learn how to do things in the right order.
We love her little projects and they just show who she is so much, like she mentioned the cat ears. Her main project is you get to pick cat ears for the person’s outfit, like it’s just so much a part of who she is.
How do you support her coding endeavors?
I try to help her where I can if she asks for an idea sometimes, like her newest game is really cute. It’s an ice cream game where you have to fill the orders, and I’ve said like, hey look like there’s an actual game on my phone that is very much fulfilling orders. And it’s a much more complex version of it but like you’re hitting the main things on your own.
What benefits do you think coding has for her?
I think being willing to keep trying when things aren’t successful and when things aren’t easy. Things have come pretty easy for her, you know, she learns things very quickly and picks them up and so having something where you have to struggle through but something that you’re passionate enough that you want to struggle through. I think that that persistence and perseverance is really something that she’s taken out of this.
Do you feel that your child is better prepared for the future?
I’m not ready to send her off to college, just yet, but I do feel like it helps her to see another side of the world. She’s very much a reading, writing kid and then having something that pulls her into STEM and makes her excited about it. We have an art school and a STEM school in our district, and it’s always been about the art school.
And now it’s like, oh, I think I want to go to that stem school where I get to code robots, and so I think giving her just another view of, yes, theater is great, but you know so are robots. It’s made more options available to her, so I think that in that way it’s prepared her for that next step which is middle school and college.
We want to thank Penelope and her mother for taking the time to speak with us about coding with Tynker. We can’t wait to see what Penelope creates next – HAPPY CODING!