Tynker Junior

Variety and creativity come together to get early learners coding

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Price: Free to try
Platforms: Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch

Pros: A mix of games, puzzles, and creative tasks provide a well-rounded approach to learning early coding skills.

Cons: There's not much feedback for incorrect moves, just a suggestion to try something different.

Bottom Line: Early coders will enjoy the colorful interface and variety of activities as they progress through different worlds and develop foundational programming skills.

Take advantage of the visual and auditory appeal of Tynker Junior to spark kids' interest, develop early programming skills, and increase their confidence as they graduate to more complex coding apps and games (like Tynker). Whether you're using it as an introduction to programming concepts or a fun gaming activity for students to do with their free time, kids are sure to latch on to the different worlds as they complete puzzles, match shapes, and earn badges. Consider providing offscreen activities that reinforce computational thinking. While the app is geared toward prereaders, be aware that some students in the target age range (4-7) will know how to read.

Tynker Junior, a prereader version of Tynker, is a picture-based coding platform for early learners. Kids explore worlds with leveled puzzles -- Ocean Odyssey, Robots, and Wild Rumble, Puffball Panic, and Super Squad -- and advance through 30-plus levels on each board to learn the basics of block programming, sequencing, loops, and other coding fundamentals. Another set of play worlds are more like creative studios where students can experiment using different kinds of coding blocks to make art, music, animations, greeting cards, and simple video games. A voice-over guides users through each challenge, providing praise for successful completion and a simple message to try another way for combinations that don't work. Kids can earn badges and access to fun activities like designing their own aquarium as they progress through each world. Account holders receive email updates when a student achieves a new level. Upon completion of all activities, kids are directed toward the more challenging Tynker platform.


Programming with Tynker Junior involves learning basic concepts that, with repetition and practice, can provide a baseline for more challenging concepts later on. As with any language, the sooner a learner begins, the easier it will be to achieve fluency. Beyond concepts like loops, sequencing, pattern recognition, and variables, solving puzzles on Tynker Junior can help kids develop skills related to listening, critical thinking, logic, and perseverance. And the creative studios are a nice open-ended counter to the structure of the leveled puzzles. 

There's no way to skip levels, so kids who start off knowing a bit more might be bored and may not be motivated to continue. On the other hand, there's no help or hints for kids who get the wrong answer, which can lead to frustration even in the most perseverant learner. More rewarding activities like access to more games -- as well as some feedback or hints when kids get stuck along the way -- would give the tool more appeal. And it would be helpful to have text on the screen that follows the voice-over so that early readers can connect text to speech, and so that readers can opt to turn off the sound. Still, as it is, it's a neat introduction to coding that's sure to motivate kids to want to learn more. 

Learning Rating

Overall Rating

Colorful graphics and a clear visual progression toward more challenging tasks will entice kids as they master basic coding skills.


Students can develop critical thinking skills and perseverance as they practice flexible sequencing, loops, and block parameters. Sandbox type options let students learn more freely through exploration and experimentation.


There's quite a bit of praise for completing the tasks correctly but not a lot of help for kids who make mistakes. Students who learn quickly might be frustrated by the slow pace.

Community Rating

Great for those with no coding experience!

I believe this app is a really good resource for those that have little to none coding experience. It includes games and challenges that walk the user through how to solve them as a form of coding, to which rewards them upon completion. It does a fantastic job at explaining coding techniques and concepts in a fun and simple manner. One thing I liked about each challenge was the voice that explained the scenario of what needed to be done. It provided enough explanation to solve the problem without giving the user the answer. I also liked the concept of the user being able to see the code run. You don't just move the pieces around and then be told you are correct, you can actually see the result of the coding you are doing, and this for a young student I think is very engaging and fun for them. Students can also see where they might have gone wrong, and can self-learn as to how to solve the problem the right way. Overall, I think it is a great tool for getting students interested in coding.

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