Tynker vs. Scratch: What Is Best For Your Young Coder?
So your kid wants to learn to code, and you’re confused between the many options available online. You’ve probably come across Scratch and Tynker as well. Both are quite popular platforms, but which one is right for your little prodigy?
Well, this article will explore both platforms, finding out the similarities and differences between the two. Hopefully, at the end of it, you’ll be more informed to go with one of these platforms.
Coding has become an essential skill in today’s super-connected world. As a parent, you want to ensure that your kid is prepared for the future. What better way to do that than to teach them coding?
So let’s see Tynker vs. Scratch; which one is better for your kid?
What is Tynker?
Tynker is a paid teaching platform for kids to learn how to code. It’s designed for kids five years and older, based on a monthly subscription model.
It features a wide range of courses delivered through guides and videos, with some of the most frequently used programming languages. It uses both block coding and text coding to teach children programming.
What is Scratch?
Scratch is both the name of the platform and the block coding language developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab for kids. It’s a programming language that uses visual blocks to teach kids the basics of computer software and applications.
Scratch is a free platform, good for kids as young as eight. However, for kids younger than eight years, there’s a simplified version called ScratchJr.
It’s web-based as well as available as an app for Android and Mac.
Scratch language and platform is developed and maintained by the Scratch Foundation, which is made of coding experts who want more kids to learn how to code from a very early age.
There’s also the Scratch Online Community, where kids can share their work, get feedback, and learn from other members’ projects.
Tynker vs. Scratch: The Similarities
Let’s first discuss some of the similarities between the two:
While Scratch is entirely based on visual block coding, Tynker also has its very own block coding courses. These courses serve as the basis for learning coding, included in its first-tier subscription.
Scratch is the language on the Scratch platform. Tynker has its own proprietary block coding language. Tynker’s block coding also includes famous games like Minecraft, as well as cartoons like Barbie.
Another similarity between the two platforms is that they are completely web-based. This means that kids can use them on any device. However, there are apps as well for a better mobile interface.
With all the courses and lessons available online, there’s no need to download any kind of software or tool that restricts usage to just one device.
There are tutorial videos for both platforms. However, the main chunk of learning comes from working on projects. This hands-on approach makes it easier for kids to learn coding, as they directly start working on their own projects.
Unlike a lecture, this learning model imparts a deeper understanding of concepts as children explore the programs themselves.
Both Scratch and Tynker have active, safe, and engaging online communities where kids can share their work. This way, they can get feedback on their work and learn even more.
Tynker vs. Scratch: The Differences
There are some significant differences between the two coding platforms as well:
Scratch platform only offers the Scratch visual block coding language. While Tynker also has a block coding language for the young ones, it also has other text-based programming languages courses.
That said, since Scratch is solely about visual block coding, the language is unique in its ability to teach kids the basic concepts of coding. Through stacking and controlling the functionality of each block, kids can learn loops, conditionals, and variables.
However, once they have mastered visual block coding, they will need to transition to text coding, which Tynker does provide.
So, while Scratch as a language has the edge over Tynker’s visual block coding, it’s limited to gamified, visual lessons.
Ease of Use
If we compare the overall ease of use, Scratch is even more user-friendly than Tynker. Tynker’s block coding is for children aged five, so it may be a little bit too basic for kids, say, eight years or older.
Scratch has solved this problem by introducing an easier ScratchJr. version. This is ideal for kids six to seven years. So the actual Scratch language is easy yet captivating enough for kids as young as eight and as old as 12 years to learn coding concepts.
It also helps that it’s a single project-based, web-based platform that is more experimental in nature. It doesn’t feel like a classroom lecture, and kids are able to learn at their own pace.
Tynker, on the other hand, while easy, has a set course of a learning trajectory. This may be good for older kids.
The most significant difference between the two is that Tynker has a fee, whereas Scratch is free. Your kid can use Scratch through the Scratch website or the Scratch app to create projects. They don’t necessarily need an account to use it but making an account can help save projects and work on them later.
Tynker only offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. Plus, it’s a monthly subscription model, so you’ll be paying every month based on the plan you have chosen.
While it does cost money, Tynker has a wider range of courses and materials than Scratch. However, the courses can take up to months and even more than a year to complete, especially during a school year. That adds up the cost.
With the cost in mind, Tynker is better for very serious kids, and especially older kids who are now ready to learn text-based coding.
Tynker vs. Scratch: Which is Better?
For young kids who are just starting out learning how to code, Scratch is a better option. For starters, it’s free and easy to use from any device. Plus, it’s been designed to be very fun, so kids do enjoy using it.
Tynker has its benefits, too, like offering text-based language as well with many courses. However, it’s the best option for kids wanting to learn coding online.
If you’re looking for an alternative to both, Tekkie Uni is also a great option. They have separate courses specializing in different areas. They also offer a Scratch learning course, where kids can learn even more with Scratch. This platform differs from both as it offers one-on-one classes that can prove even more helpful and allow them to learn even faster.
It boils down to how old your kid is, how interested in coding they are, and whether you want something free or you’re willing to pay for a paid course. Some kids may still prefer to attend coding classes in their city.