Have you always wanted to help your child learn to code with Scratch, but not been sure where to start? Don't worry, we're here to help. At Create & Learn, we aim to make coding understandable and fun for all students — just explore our free coding classes for kids (including a free, award-winning Scratch intro class) to get started.
Today, we're going to walk you through the basics of beginning Scratch coding including how to set up your account. We'll also share what the different types of blocks are, and how to think about putting them together to create something great, such as fun projects with Scratch. Let's get started!
What is Scratch coding?
Scratch is a free block-based coding platform that allows you to create your own games, stories, and animations. On Scratch, you can program many different types of projects, such as a Magic Pen, Wizard Tag Game, Geometry Dash, Basketball Game, Pacman, or Snake. Scratch is designed for students age 8-16, but can be used by everyone.
How do I learn to code with Scratch?
Here we'll get started learning Scratch coding with a few simple steps.
1. Start a new project
To code in Scratch, first open the page on Scratch at MIT. Next, click on the “create” button to make a new project. You should have a screen that looks like this:
2. Drag the code blocks
The code blocks are on the left hand side of the screen. To code, click and drag the blocks to the large center space. On scratch, the characters and objects are called “sprites.” You can add or delete as many sprites as you want. Each time you add a sprite, it will appear on the stage.
3. Click on sprites to code for them
Click on each sprite to code for that particular sprite. There are hundreds of fun sprites to choose from. Whether it’s a soccer player, a butterfly, or a ballerina, our students in our Scratch Ninja course never cease to amaze by their creative choices and story lines.
To code, you can drag blocks of code from the left hand side and connect them together. Each sprite, as well as the background, will have its own code.
These blocks can make sprites move, make sounds, and change color. And when connected together form a series of actions to build your games, animations, and other projects.
4. Watch your code run
After you’ve coded your project, you can click on the Green Flag to see your code run on the Stage.
If you want to save or share your project, make sure it’s saved under your account. If you already have an account, click “Log In.” If you need to make an account, click “Join Scratch” and follow the instructions (make sure you have a parent with you!).
Explore basic coding blocks to learn to code with Scratch
There are many different types of blocks on Scratch and we're always excited to learn which blocks are our students favorites.
Notice how most of the blocks are shaped with a special notch at the top and the bottom; this is so that they can connect together! Here are some of the most important blocks:
Events blocks in Scratch
These yellow colored blocks have a special shape, with the bump at the top. These blocks are “starting blocks,” meaning they must go at the top of any chunk of code we create. They tell us when the code will be run.
Scratch motion blocks
These blue colored blocks allow your sprite to move, rotate and glide.
Try combining a motion block with an event block to see what happens!
These purple colored blocks change the appearance of your sprite.
Loops - Control the flow of your Scratch code
These blocks are found in the “control” section, colored in orange. Like the events blocks, they also have a special shape. Loops enable the continually run and repeat.
Sounds - Blocks to enable “talking” sprites and more
This section allows you to add sound to your program. Each sprite has different sounds, but you can also add your own from the “sounds tab”. For example, get your dog sprite to bark or record some sounds to have it “talk”.
That's how you learn to code with Scratch
And that’s it! Scratch coding is fun and easy. There are infinite possibilities for your child to create with Scratch. Your child can learn beyond the basics in our award-winning Scratch for kids coding courses (there's even a free introduction course).
Brought to you by Carolyn Qu, Instructor at Create & Learn.