Scratch vs Tynker – Which Coding for Kids Platform is Right for Your Child?

Last Updated: March 17, 2023 8:12 am
Scratch vs Tynker – Which Coding for Kids Platform is Right for Your Child?

In this review, we’ll compare two of the top online coding for kids programs – Tynker and Scratch – to assist you in determining the most suitable option for your child’s educational path. We’ll start with a quick overview of both, then give a side-by-side comparison of major features and curriculum, followed by a pricing analysis and final recommendations. 

Tynker Coding for Kids Overview

Tynker is an online coding platform that offers an extensive curriculum covering a wide range of subjects, including Python, JavaScript, Game Design, AI/ML, and Minecraft Modding. Tynker caters to children of different ages and skill levels – from pre-readers (Tynker Jr.) to block coders just learning the ropes, through advanced text-based coding for high schoolers. With its integrated development environment and kid-safe user community sharing and remixing their apps and games, Tynker is an ideal platform for young coders who want to start learning at any skill level, and grow all the way through advanced, text-based coding to build immersive games and real world applications.

What sets Tynker apart is its emphasis on live instructor-led sessions, two of which are included in all of its paid plans. This feature provides young coders with a confident start and gives parents the support they need. Tynker’s courses are designed to be immersive and user-friendly. Block coding makes it easy for young learners to create working projects, and sets a solid foundation for later skills development as the child progresses. 

Tynker’s extensive collection of coding activities is curated based on feedback from millions of children, ensuring that the content is relevant and keeps kids engaged. This makes it an ideal platform for self-paced learning, allowing children to learn at their own pace and level based on what they find fun and interesting. Additionally, Tynker provides a range of tools and resources, such as step-by-step coding courses, projects, and games.

Tynker is an excellent platform for kids of all ages and skill levels who want to learn coding. With its comprehensive coding curriculum, live instructor-led sessions, and user-friendly interface, Tynker provides young coders with the tools and resources they need to succeed in the digital world.

Scratch Coding for Kids Overview

Scratch is a visual programming language and online community developed at the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. The goal of Scratch, a block coding language, was to create a programming language that was accessible to young children, allowing them to learn how to code in a fun and engaging way. Scratch allows users to create animations, games, and interactive stories by dragging and dropping graphical blocks that represent programming concepts.

Since its launch, Scratch has become popular among educators and students around the world, and has been used in classrooms to teach children as young as five years old how to code. Scratch is an online community that provides a safe, inclusive space for kids to develop their coding skills. The platform is specially designed for children ages eight to 16, with a simplified version, ScratchJR, available for ages five to seven. 

Scratch is also a programming language with a simple user interface and block-based coding system that empowers children to create digital stories, games, and animations without having to learn complex syntax. Instead, kids are able to focus on developing their problem-solving and logical-thinking skills. 

The platform itself is free to use, available in over 70 languages and is supported by the Scratch Foundation. With ties to education through co-founders Mitchel Resnik of MIT Media Lab and David Siegel of investment management firm Two Sigma, Scratch has a variety of resources for educators such as lesson plans and a community of like-minded teachers to bring coding into the classroom.

Scratch vs Tynker: Quick Comparison 

While both offer web-based and mobile versions, Tynker stands out with its unique approach that combines a deep curriculum, progression path from pure novice to expert, and two sessions of live instruction with each paid subscription to get kids coding fast. The optional instruction makes Tynker the perfect choice for students who need a more hands-on approach to learning.

Scratch is also user-friendly, but it is best suited for in-person classroom instruction before students use the platform independently. By contrast, Tynker’s more in-depth courses can be accessed at any time and cater to a range of age groups. What’s more, Tynker teaches coding through popular games such as Minecraft and its own games, keeping the “fun quotient” high enough for the most fidgety of kids. Overall, both platforms are great for learning to code, but Tynker’s live instruction sessions, deep catalog, and learner-centric approach make it a standout choice for students who want to learn coding in an interactive and engaging way.

Scratch vs Tynker: Side-by-Side Comparison

Appropriate for GradesK-12Scratch Jr. K-2, Scratch Grades 3-11
Offers Live InstructionIncluded with Paid Plans (two sessions); optional live instruction available for purchase
Curriculum Overview300 lessons in six progressive levels covering block coding and text coding. 33 electives including Minecraft Modding, game design and AI. 5,000+ coding activities, puzzles, and games; all skill levels.Create digital stories, game, and animations. Scratch promotes computational thinking and problem solving skills; creative teaching and learning; self-expression and collaboration; and equity in computing. Available in more than 70 languages.
PricingFree + Paid plans availableFree
Progress Tracking & Reporting
Used in SchoolsYes, 100,000+ schoolsYes
Peer Support / CommunityKid-Safe community, summer camps, competitions like CodeJam, etc.Community Guidelines, Scratch Community, Scratch Camp
Trusted by Leading BrandsApple, Google Education, NASA, Microsoft, BBC Learning, Lego, Mattel, Minecraft, Hot Wheels, Barbi, SMART, etc.LEGO Foundation, Siegel Family Endowment, National Science Foundation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mobile AppsThree available:Tynker: available for iOS and AndroidTynker Junior for ages 5-7: available for iOS and AndroidMod Creator: available on iOSCannot create or edit projects on mobile phones at this time can create only on web browser on desktops, laptops, and tablets.
AwardsCommon Sense Media LearningNational Parenting AwardsParents ChoiceSmart MediaDigital Education AwardBrain ChildMom’s ChoiceParent’s Pick

Scratch vs Tynker: Curriculum Comparison

Support for Pre-ReadersAppropriate for introducing very young children to coding concepts and computational thinking.
Digital LiteracyAn essential skill for any child growing up in today’s digital world.
Block codingA good starting point for young children learning coding concepts and a foundation for more advanced coding concepts.
Creativing coding, music and animationAllows children to express their creativity while learning coding concepts and building practical skills.
Minecraft modding, mobs and skinsA popular application of coding concepts, but may be of less interest to children who are not already Minecraft fans.
Game DesignA popular and engaging way for children to learn coding and a practical application of coding concepts.
STEMEncourages children to explore science, technology, engineering, and math through hands-on coding projects.
Web Development / HTMLA practical skill for children interested in creating websites or web-based applications.
PythonA widely-used programming language with many practical applications, including data science and machine learning.
Data ScienceA growing field with many practical applications, including business, healthcare, and scientific research.
AI/MLA rapidly growing field with many practical applications, but may be more appropriate for older children with a stronger coding foundation.
Robotics and IoTA specialized area that may be of interest to children with a particular interest in these fields, but may require additional equipment and support.
AP Computer Science CoursesAP Computer Science courses are designed to be equivalent to college-level computer science courses, providing students with a challenging and rewarding educational experience that can earn them college credit and demonstrate their readiness for higher education.
Option 1= Short term plan$20 per month billed quarterlyFree
Option 2= Annual plan$16 per month and $192 billed annuallyFree
Option 3= Lifetime plan$360 as one time paymentFree

Scratch vs Tynker: Which one should you choose for your child?

Tynker and Scratch are both excellent platforms for kids interested in learning how to code. Scratch is recommended for those who have additional support from a tutor, parent or in-person classroom setting. Scratch offers a deeper dive into the language of coding and computational basics for those who seek a challenge.

Tynker, however, is the ideal platform for introducing coding to children of all ages and skill levels, with or without additional instruction. Tynker offers a wider range of curriculum, including popular languages like Python, AI, data science, and web development, and also features a highly rated coding app for pre-readers, Tynker Jr.

The inclusion of live coaching sessions with every paid plan makes Tynker an excellent choice for long-term learning and engagement. Additionally, Tynker’s integration with popular games like Minecraft, and its vibrant user community, makes learning to code a fun and engaging experience for children. Ultimately, choosing between Tynker and Scratch will depend on your child’s age and learning preferences, but Tynker is the more comprehensive and engaging platform for kids of all ages.

More Coding for Kids Reviews & Comparisons

We hope you found our head-to-head comparison of Tynker and Scratch helpful in your search to discover the best coding education resource for your child. If you’re eager to dive deeper, don’t miss out on our other insightful comparisons that can help you make a well-informed decision. Check out our head-to-head comparison of Tynker and codeSpark, a review of Tynker vs. CodeWizard, a look at how Tynker compares to IDTech, comparing Tynker with CodeMonkey, and we take a look at how Tynker stacks up against Still curious? You can check out our head-to-head review of Tynker vs. Kodable and Coding with Kids

We want every child to learn how to code before they graduate high school, so we welcome you on this journey and hope you find the ideal coding education platform for your child. Happy coding!

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About Teri Llach

Teri Llach is Head of Marketing for Tynker. Teri is an experienced growth marketer with a highly successful track record in B2B and B2C, deep experience with start-ups, brands, and all functional areas of marketing. Teri lives in Palo Alto, CA.