Tynker: Coding Games for Kids

Ages: 4 and upDeveloper: TYNKER

Tynker is a well-designed app for children ages four and up and it features step-by-step, visual instructions for children to learn code. There are numerous activities (including the creation of Minecraft mods for more experienced users), but the main draw of the app is the visual representations and manipulations of the individual commands. Children are shown the steps in the code as interlocking puzzle pieces that they select and assemble to achieve different results. They can then execute their codes and immediately see how/if they worked; this combination of visual and trial/error learning is very effective. And, when things don’t work out quite the way they intended, users are given additional guidance/suggestions and opportunities to try again. Users begin with block-based programming and can then advance to JavaScript, Python, HTML and CSS. Yes, there’s a lot to learn by doing.

These skills are taught and developed by games and activities such as Dragon Spells where users must write code so that a dragon can move through the world, avoid obstacles, and collect treasure. Or, kids might have to write a code to have their hero collect power-ups and destroy enemies. There are varying levels of difficulty so the app can grow with children as their skills increase. In addition to coding, the app inherently teaches problem-solving, logic, spatial awareness, patience, and creativity.

The app is entertaining, educational, and versatile. The free version has plenty to get children started, but if they really find themselves interested in exploring the activities more, parents can purchase a subscription for $60.00 for 3 months, $120 for a year, or $180 for a lifetime.

Sharon Heuscher ©2018 Parents’ Choice

Sharon holds B.A.s in English Literature and Ancient Studies as well as a B.S. in Psychology. She is currently a masters-level trainee in Clinical Psychology specializing in neurodegenerative diseases. For the past thirteen years, Sharon has focused primarily on raising, educating, and nurturing her five children who range in age from three to thirteen.

Available here