In this article, we're going to explore Scratch coding camps. How is a camp different from a class? While the curriculum between a coding camp and a class might be very similar, camps happen in a much smaller time frame, effectively immersing the student in the subject matter.
Due to the more intensive pace, camps are generally offered during school breaks, and make sure that having fun is a priority. There are so many options to choose from these days, whether it's a virtual camp, or a traditional, in-person camp. We'll cover some great ones, as well as how to pick the best format for your child.
If you're looking to improve your coding skills with a fun challenge, don't miss out on our fun Easter Scratch special one-hour small group class!
Discover Scratch coding camps
Here are 5 awesome coding camp providers that utilize Scratch to provide a compact, educational, and most importantly, fun experience for your child.
Our Scratch, Scratch Jr, and Advanced Scratch camps are a compacted version of our normal Scratch classes; instead of meeting once a week, they meet at the same time everyday, meeting 4 days in a row for each unit. Our curriculum is designed by Google, MIT, and Stanford experts to take kids from no coding experience to building advanced projects in just 3 units! Each small-group session focuses on building a new project, and even after class, our teachers are dedicated to helping students with suggested homework to expand on what they learned. We have a free intro camp available so you can see what it's all about before committing. Our camps are available in the new year, summer, fall, and winter.
Camp size: Up to 8 students
Where: Online live
iD Tech offers in-person, 4-day camps in the summer at universities across the country. The Scratch course open for enrollment at the moment is focused on robotics, great for kids more interested in the hardware side of STEM topics. id Tech also guarantees small class sizes to ensure that every student can participate and ask questions as needed, and kids will walk away from the camp with a take-home project.
Camp size: "Small group guarantee" but no specifics listed
Coding with Kids offers a variety of 5-day Scratch camps mostly with a focus on building games. These camps range from beginner to intermediate, and there are no more than 8 students per camp. While they offer regular classes year round, camps are just in the Winter, Summer, and Spring.
Camp size: Up to 8 students
Where: Online live
Lavner Education offers both in-person and online Scratch camps for beginners. Camps are scheduled weekly, Monday through Friday, and are probably the most involved, in terms of amount of time that needs to be committed, of anything on this list. Virtual camp days are 3-hour sessions, while the in-person camps are more like a traditional 'camp,' featuring a full 8-hour camp day at universities throughout the country!
Camp size: Not specified
Where: In-Person and Online live
Outschool offers a plethora of 4 to 5 day virtual camps for both Scratch and Scratch Jr., making this an awesome choice for students who want to experience what an online live camp is like, but don't want to commit too much up front or don't want to follow a learning path. Classes vary from 30 minutes to an hour, and there are anywhere between three to ten students per class. With the variety of pricing options and ability to select a class by teacher, this is more of an 'à la carte' experience than other camps on our list.
Camp size: Varies
Where: Online live
What to expect to learn at Scratch coding camps
The best camps find a balance between learning and play. They provide a chance for kids to build with and learn from the experts, not just sit through a dry lecture. Education ultimately needs to be a priority of any successful camp though, so here are some things students can expect to walk away with from Scratch Coding camp:
- Familiarity with block based programming languages, specifically of course, the Scratch platform developed by MIT.
- Foundational programming concepts, such as If Statements, Variables, and Loops.
- Fundamental logic skills, such as a comfort with true or false statements and logical operators.
- A portfolio of projects that they can access from home and use as a reference for future projects.
- Take home projects, or creative assignments to expand on what they’ve already built.
- Curiosity! Now that they know what’s possible, how can they apply their newfound skills to bring their ideas to life.
How to evaluate Scratch coding camps
Here’s how to pick the best Scratch coding camp for your child.
1. In-person or virtual
First, determine whether you want an in-person camp or a virtual camp. This depends on a few things, certainly including whether or not there's an in-person camp happening near you. But it's also worth considering how your child performs in a virtual setting, especially if you won't be able to attend with them. Are they easily distracted by themselves? Are they able to troubleshoot computer issues that don't have anything to do with coding, like signing into accounts, or working with platforms like zoom?
2. Live or on-demand
If you decide to go virtual, you do have the option of 'live' camps or 'on-demand' classes. 'On-demand' classes, effectively tutorials, are a great option for students who want to go at their own pace, whether it's fast or slow. Being able to pause and rewind can really benefit students who need extra time to process the lesson, or on the flip side, students who want to augment what they're learning by checking extra resources during a lesson. If you think an on-demand setting is more appropriate, you'll be able to find plenty of free options out there, though perhaps not with cohesive and pointed curriculums.
"Live" classes, with an expert instructor there in real time, are ideal for students who want the ability to ask specific questions, and get immediate help with their problems. Live classes can be a lot more personal, and, unlike a pre-recorded class, keep students more focused, and adapt to any particular student's needs and interests.
3. Skill level requirements
One of the most important things to check when looking at coding camps, no matter what route you decide to go, is the required skill level. Signing your child up for a camp that's beyond their level will often have a negative impact on their willingness to learn going forward. There are plenty of options out there for beginners, and if it's too easy, you can always 'upgrade' later!
Virtual camp programs
If you're looking to give your child a fun and educational experience during an upcoming school break, give Scratch coding a shot because it's so beginner friendly! We offer camps for Winter Break Camps, Summer Break Camps and Thanksgiving Break Camps. Your child can learn Scratch if they're new to coding, or choose from one of our more advanced camps that peak their interest, like Micro:Bit or Minecraft Modding. Summer break in particular provides a great opportunity to advance all the way through our multi-leveled courses.
Fun Scratch projects
Can’t wait for Scratch camp? Get started right away building games with a few fun Scratch projects!
This is a great project for beginners, and a good blend of creative and coding skills. It's all about creating and solving mazes. You'll learn how to draw sprites in Scratch, and also move them with the keyboard. Once you find out how easy it is to build one maze, you wont be able to stop making them!
Skill level: Beginner
This project takes inspiration from the ever-addicting arcade game genre. As platforms fall from the sky, you have to keep jumping to stay afloat. This game is all about getting the high score, and teaches some great Scratch skills you can apply to many other games.
Skill level: Intermediate
This is a Scratch version of the classic strategy game. This project uses some slightly advanced Scratch blocks to make a simple yet fun Tic Tac Toe game in Scratch. Great for playing with friends, or challenging family!
Skill level: Advanced
Save your spot for Scratch coding camps
In this article, we covered what a coding camp is, how to pick the best one for your child, and some great options to choose from. Especially when it comes to Scratch and new coders, having fun is the most important quality of a good camp. You'll know the camp did a good job if your child is so excited about the project they built, they didn't even realize they just learned computer programming. Enroll in a summer Scratch camp or winter Scratch camp while spots are still available, and check out some advanced Scratch coding tips to keep learning.
Written by Ian Kuzmik, a Create & Learn instructor with a Bachelor's Degree in English from Tulane University. He's been teaching grades K-8 since 2019, with a focus in the subjects of ESL and Computer Science.