If you have noticed that your child has a tendency to use computers with ease, check out these Scratch projects for kids! Scratch is a website that allows students of all ages to learn basic, intermediate, and advanced coding concepts through the use of coding blocks. When it comes to Scratch coding, visually, the kids put together what looks like puzzle pieces. But each piece, or coding block, gives a different function to the character or object they are using.
Don’t let the word “coding” turn you off, though. Scratch makes it very easy to pick up and learn. As you begin helping your child with this first project, you will see how user-friendly coding with Scratch can be so much so that you might start building your own!
In this article, we're going to cover what the most popular Scratch project is, steps on how to make your first simple Scratch game, and recommend 7 websites where your future coder can level up their coding skills!
What is the most popular Scratch project?
The most popular Scratch project is called Appel (v1.4). This type of game is in a genre known as a platformer, which the video game Super Marios Bros., popularized back in 1985. For this reason, Appel has great appeal among old and young audiences, as it is immediately a familiar genre that is easy to pick up and play.
What games can you make on Scratch?
Some of the games that you can make on Scratch can be fun to play, but complex to create. However, a new Scratch user would want to start with more approachable and easy to build games such as a ping pong game, a game of tag, or even a predator vs. prey game.
How do you make a simple game on Scratch?
To make a simple game on Scratch, we must first set you and your child up for success. Follow the steps below to get started with making your own Scratch game!
1. Create a free Scratch account
First, go to the Scratch website and create a free account for your child. Though you don’t need an account to start a new project, doing so will allow you to save the progress, if your child decides to start and return to it at a later time. Create your own free Scratch account.
2. Choose a backdrop and sprite
Now that you have a scratch account, let’s choose a background and a sprite which can be either a character or an object. After logging in, on the main Scratch page, you’ll see an option that says “Create,” to the right of the orange word “Scratch.”
Click on it and you’ll come across a page that looks like the image below. In that image, you will see two blue icons in the bottom right corner (circled in red). The cat icon allows you to choose a new sprite. The mountain icon allows you to choose a backdrop. Go ahead and choose a backdrop and character at this time. When choosing a character, try to pick one that looks like it is moving when you place your mouse over it. If you wish to delete the cat that has been pre-chosen for you, you can do so by clicking on the trash can icon on the cat (circled in green).
3. Make your character move
Now that we have a backdrop and a character, let’s make it move. First, click on the yellow circle labeled “Events”. You will see a code block with a green flag labeled “when (green flag) clicked”. Drag and drop that code block to the Work Space (see image). This code block allows your code to run by pressing the green flag next to the stop sign.
Next, click on the orange “Control” and find a code block called “forever”. Drag it and connect it to the “when (green flag) is clicked” block. After that, click on the blue circle labeled “Motion”. Under motion you will add the following code blocks in this order: “move 10 steps”, “if on edge, bounce”, and “set rotation style left-right”. These motion blocks go inside the mouth of the “forever” block.
Lastly, go to the purple circle labeled “Looks” and add the code “next costume”. Click on the green flag to run your code and check if your character is moving. If it is going too fast, click the stop sign to stop your character and add the code block called “wait” under “Control”. See the picture below for reference.
4. Add a second sprite
Now that our character is moving, let’s add a second sprite. In our example, we have a parrot and we want it to eat some bananas. So our second sprite will be bananas. Think of what type of story you want for your game.
After we've added the bananas sprite, we want to make it move randomly. To do that, we will once again start under the “Events” circle and add “when (green flag) clicked”. Next, we’ll go to the “Control” circle and add “forever”. From here, we’ll look for a “Motion” block called “go to random position”.
Finally, we’ll return to the “Control” circle where we will add the “wait 1 second,” block. Try changing that number to see various effects. In the image provided, we set my bananas to wait three seconds before moving to a new random position.
5. You did it!
Congratulations! You have successfully made your first simple game in Scratch. Your project should be able to do the following: one character moves from left to right nonstop and a second character moves randomly around the screen. This simple game covers the basics on how Scratch works.
It is easy to drag codes of blocks to the workspace and connect various pieces so that your sprites do what you want them to do. Of course, with more exposure and practice, you can figure out more game-like features such as how to control your characters with the arrow keys, how to make them speak, and how to get a score. Check out our final Simple Parrot Game so that you can challenge yourself to make the parrot speak when it touches the bananas.
Scratch projects for beginners, step-by-step
Below is a list of other simple Scratch projects you can try on your own. They all have their pros and cons, so feel free to skip around and try what best suits your learning style.
1. Starter projects
One of the best places to start learning more Scratch coding is from the Scratch website itself. There is a section called Starter Projects that houses many pre-made projects.
Why it’s unique: When you click on any of them, you can see inside to find out what code blocks the author used.
Pros: There are plenty of projects to choose from.
Cons: Other than seeing inside each project's code and a few notes, the instructions are lacking for most activities.
2. Changing a sprite’s color
In this website, you will see some videos and instructions on how to change the color of the starter cat you see when you create a new project.
Why it’s unique: This project focuses on changing the color of a sprite versus having the sprite do something.
Pros: It’s a very basic project that even 1st and 2nd grades can tackle.
Cons: All the learning takes place through watching videos and you can’t ask anyone for help.
3. Scratch projects for kids
Here, we have a site with various projects all by the same author.
Why it’s unique: The benefit of learning from the same author is that you can see consistency throughout the various projects in terms of how block codes are used. This is important because in coding, there is more than one way to make a sprite do something.
Pros: Same author for all projects.
Cons: Requires you to download the projects and upload them to your Scratch account.
4. Scratch taught by kids
In this site, you can find several videos where a kid teaches you how to build several simple games.
Why it’s unique: Hearing the voice of a kid may encourage your child to follow through with the project because they may more easily relate with the author.
Pros: Videos that show you how to put each project together.
Cons: Little to no explanation as to why each code of block is being used.
5. Editing effects
Many video games today have the option to edit your characters. This YouTube video will show you how to create a simple editing tool to edit the Scratch cat using sliders.
Why it’s unique: Though this isn’t a game, it is part of a video game mechanic that gets used a lot in modern video games.
Pros: The video is under 5 minutes.
Cons: The author doesn’t explain the purpose of variables. Additionally, the microphone used has a lot of background noise as you listen.
6. Scratch games in PDF
There are many types of learners! Some are great at following along with videos while others are best at following written instructions. If your child is the latter, look no further than this site.
Why it’s unique: Downloadable PDF instructions for you to print.
Pros: Very detailed typed instructions and images.
Cons: No videos to follow along or anyone to ask questions if stuck.
7. Predator vs. prey Game
On this site, you will learn how to make a shark move with your mouse and eat fish on screen.
Why it’s unique: This video is unique because it covers the concept of duplicating sprites to make more characters without having to remake the same code over and over.
Pros: The project is fun to watch and kept simple for beginners.
Cons: This project doesn’t allow the learner to self-discover what other codes of block do.
Try the best Scratch projects for kids
As you can see, together, we made a simple Scratch game to learn the basics of Scratch coding and we’ve introduced you to other sources for projects you can try with your child.
If you are interested in having your future coder learn with a live teacher who can answer your child’s questions as they think them up, enroll your student in an advanced Scratch programming class with Create & Learn. Up next, learn advanced Scratch coding tips.
Written by Noe Monsivais, a Create & Learn instructor, and lifelong learner with over 12 years of teaching experience in low-income communities with a focus on English learners. He is also the 2016 Teacher of the Year at Valley View Early College Campus. In 2000, he set a goal to learn one new skill yearly. He has kept up with this goal. All of these skills have formed an amalgamation of the person he is today: Señor Renaissance. To see the projects he is currently working on, follow him on Twitter @MrMonsi. B.A.E, Full-Stack Certified