In this post, you are going to learn a few amazing ScratchJr project ideas! Scratch Junior, an introductory programming language, is a fun and fantastic way to introduce young children (ages 3-7, including kindergarteners and first and second graders) to programming. This amazing platform allows young minds to create their own animated stories and games.
ScratchJr is a block-based programming language, where students pull blocks and arrange them to perform actions. Children can alter a character's appearance, add their own voices, and even add customized backgrounds by importing their own photographs. Before putting together the programming blocks to make their characters come to life! So today, we're going to take a look at some fun ScratchJr activities for kids.
What is the difference between Scratch and ScratchJr?
ScratchJr was inspired by the popular Scratch programming language. Scratch was designed for kids ages 8-16 years old. Meanwhile, ScratchJr was developed keeping younger children in mind. So that it helps enhance young children's cognitive, personal, social, and emotional development.
ScratchJr has a simpler interface
ScratchJr's interface is much simpler than that of Scratch to reduce the complexity to entry for young children. For example, the number of blocks used in ScratchJr is comparatively less than Scratch.
Instead of stacking block top to bottom, in ScratchJr blocks are stacked left to right. ScratchJr also has fewer types of blocks than Scratch coding, for example there are more operators and variables blocks in Scratch.
Only one “pop” sound is available to use in ScratchJr. However kids can record any sounds they want. Though the recording time is limited to a minute.
ScratchJr has a limited number of broadcast blocks: up to six on each page. Instead of passing a message in the form of text, each broadcast block contains a letter indicating a color associated with its specific message.
Optimized for mobile
ScratchJr is optimized for mobile and tablet devices, as opposed to Scratch which is built for computers. The ability to touch the screen of an iPad or an Android tablet helps make ScratchJr more accessible, too.
ScratchJr's stage is divided into a grid that is 20 x 15 squares in size. Unlike Scratch's stage, which uses regular pixels that are not broken into a grid.
In ScratchJr, there's a paint editor where kids can alter pre-existing sprite/backgrounds or draw something of their choice. This feature helps kids learn how to create and express themselves.
In ScratchJr, pages are "scenes" that hold their own sprites, background, and broadcasts. And you can only have up to 4 pages per project. Whereas in Scratch, students can make many more backdrops.
How do you create a project on Scratch Jr?
ScratchJr was specifically designed for young minds. So the interface and instructions are quite simple. Today, we'll walk you through the SratchJr app.
Just download the ScratchJr app to your device. Launch the app. And click on the Home icon to start a new project.
That will take you to your My Projects page. Click on the little “ + “ icon to start a New Project.
Here's how to make a game on ScratchJr
When you start a project, the default ScratchJr sprite will appear. If you want to change this default sprite, just click and press on the sprite until an “x” appears. Click on that “x” to delete the sprite from the stage.
1. Choose your sprite.
Select a new sprite by pressing the “+” icon on the left side to open up the characters gallery.
2. Change the background.
Once you have the sprite of your choice up on the screen, change the background by clicking on the “landscape picture” icon on the top of the screen. This will bring up the background gallery.
Choose whichever background you want. And tap on the check icon on the right corner of the screen to set the background.
3. Add your character to the stage.
Select the character of your choice by tapping on them on the stage. You’ll see the image on the bottom left corner - to double-check that you have selected the right sprite.
4. Run the code.
Hit the yellow block (the triggering block) and select the flag icon, which is the start button for the code.
Now you can explore the other colored blocks to create your own script. These programming blocks are divided into these categories:
- Triggering (yellow block): Starts the code and sends messages to other scripts.
- Motion (blue block): Where to move a sprite, how long a sprite moves, and changes angles.
- Looks (purple block): Controls visibility, appearance, and text output.
- Sound (green block): Plays a predefined “pop” sound or a recorded sound.
- Control (orange block): Repeats a certain part of the script with a specified number of times.
- Endings (red block): Controls when and how to end the script.
ScratchJr project ideas for kids
Explore fun ScratchJr projects, and discover a quick way to learn how to do new things it!
1. Racing: ScratchJr project idea
Use 2 characters/sprites to move across the screen from left to right.
Challenge: Get the characters to move across the screen at different speeds.
- Why do we use the green flag?
- How can we make the characters move?
- How do we join the blocks together?
- What do the numbers below the blocks mean?
- What does the end block do?
- How can you use different speeds for different characters?
- Start your program with a yellow-colored flag block.
- Use the speed block to set the speed of each character.
- Make both the characters move forward from left to right according to grid almost 16 numbers.
- Use disappear block to hide your character once it reaches another end.
- Use the red color end block to finish your code.
2. Size up and down: Scratch project for kids
In this ScratchJr project, make your character change size by clicking on it. One character should increase in size, and one character should decrease in size, when you click on it. Also, the character will come back to its original size when the green flag is clicked.
Challenge: Make your character change its size by clicking on it. And also return your character back to its original size by clicking on the green flag.
- How can you make your character change its size?
- How can you start a project by clicking on the character?
- How can you bring my character back into its original size?
- Start your program with yellow-colored START on tap block
- Make your character increases or decreases by adding the shrink or grow block from the looks category.
- Use another yellow-colored flag block.
- Reset the size by putting the reset size block from purple blocks.
3. Jumping challenge: ScratchJr project for kids
In this ScratchJr project, you'll find out how to make your character jump from one place to another. Plus, reach a certain position!
Challenge: Make your character jump, and then reach a specific position.
- How can you make you character jump?
- How to do two tasks together?
- What is the meaning of the numbers written under the move and the jump blocks?
- Start your program with two yellow-colored flag blocks.
- Make your character jump using a blue-colored jump block.
- You can change the jump height by changing the number written under the jump block.
- Make your character move forward and up at the same time.
- Use the red color end block to finish your code.
4. Leaving for Earth: ScratchJr kids' project
When you click on the astronaut, they're supposed to get into the rocket and disappear. Plus, the rocket will start moving upwards.
Challenge: Make your character disappear when you click on the character. And make another character start moving upwards.
- How can you start the project by clicking on the character?
- How can you make you character move from bottom to top?
- How can you use the orange color wait block?
- For the astronaut, start your program with a yellow-colored flag block.
- Show some text on the screen.
- Use another Trigger block: start tap on character.
- Make your character move across the screen left to right using the blue-colored move block.
- Use another yellow-colored start tap on character to make the astronaut jump and get into the rocket.
- Another trigger block start on bump is used to disappear the character.
- For the rocket, use the trigger block start on bump and use the orange-colored wait block to wait until the astronaut sits in the rocket.
- Use the move up blue color block to move the rocket upwards.
- Use the disappear block.
- Use the red-colored end block to finish your code.
5. Underwater game
In this ScratchJr project, you will learn to change the background when two sprites/characters bump into each other.
Challenge: Make your character (a fish) disappear when it bumps into another character (a stone). Plus, change the background!
- How can you make your character move from left to right?
- How can you use the repeat block?
- How can you switch the background?
- Start your program with yellow-colored flag block.
- Make your character move across the screen, left to right, using the blue-colored move block.
- Use repeat a few times.
- Use a yellow-colored start bump with a character block.
- Use the red-colored goto block to switch the background.
Don't limit your imagination! Using ScratchJr you can do much more than these projects. These solutions are just to give you an idea of how you can make fun interactive projects using ScratchJr.
Make the best ScratchJr projects for kindergarteners, and first and second graders
ScratchJr is a great way to elevate your child's skillset. To further develop their coding skills, explore live video chat virtual ScratchJr classes for kids with expert instructors and lots of fun! During class, your child will create a series of animations and games, while learning more about core coding concepts.
Up next, discover Scratch projects for kids.
Written by Apoorva Rastogi, a Create & Learn instructor who has worked as a coding instructor for more than 6 years. Apoorva has a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics and a Master's Degree in Computer Applications.