Scratch coding is an interactive tool used to build stories using blocks. It is used to develop one’s critical thinking skills that can be applied to game design and animations.

In this article, we will be exploring those features that make Scratch the perfect starting place for kids 7-16 years of age to learn the basics of computer programming. We will discuss 5 tips every Scratch programmer should try and next steps in how to learn more.

You’ll never believe the capabilities of Scratch coding and the endless fun in store when you begin to understand what you can create with code!

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Discover Scratch coding

Scratch is an introductory programming language for young students to learn who are interested in exploring the field of Computer Science and creating fun projects to tell their stories. Scratch teaches students the basics of coding and makes it easy to learn about foundational concepts like for loops and functions.

What is Scratch coding used for?

Scratch coding is used to

  • Build games, animations, and stories.
  • Learn the basics of computer programming.
  • Build a solid foundation for children to learn text-based programming languages.
  • Understand how functions and loops work.
  • Teach children how to think like a programmer.
  • Allow children to bring their creativity to life through building fun projects.

Scratch coding is best suited for kids ranging from 7-16 years old.

What is ScratchJr coding?

ScratchJr coding is used for children between the ages of 5-7 to build projects where they can design their own project and use blocks to build it. The blocks make stories come to life by giving children the option to move their character, add sound effects, make their character speak, and create their own blocks. In the example below, we have created our own background and animated three ballerinas to perform in sync together.

What is Scratch coding?

ScratchJr coding makes complex programming concepts understandable for young children to comprehend by building their own project with blocks. You can learn even more about it in our fun Scratch Junior virtual class.

Explore the features of Scratch coding

Scratch coding is a fun tool for children that will allow them to make their stories come to life through the creation of animations and games. Scratch takes a simple block-based approach to coding that makes it easy for kids to learn basics to building a really cool program.

1. What is block-based programming?

Block-based programming allows for children to interact visually with their code by stacking loops and functions on top of each other to build a grand project. Block-based programming allows children to easily build a program with little bugs or errors compared to text-based coding which may be more challenging for younger students to engage with.

2. What is the drag-and-drop feature?

Scratch programming offers a drag-and-drop feature that allows you to choose your blocks and stack them on top of each other. To start building, find the “When green flag clicked” block and drag-and-drop it into the center of your screen. Now, find the “move 10 steps block” and  drag-and-drop it underneath of the “When green flag clicked” block to make your character move. To run your program, you can either click the green flag at the upper right hand side of your screen or click on the block itself.

3. What is parallelism?

Scratch uses parallelism to allow multiple events to take place concurrently. An example of when parallelism is used in Scratch is building a program that requires more than one character to perform an action simultaneously. An example of parallelism can be seen below. When the green flag is clicked, the blue dinosaur will move forward until he reaches the green dinosaur and asks him “What is your name?”

Scratch coding parallelism

The blue dinosaur is able to move and say hello all at the same time. Both sets of blocks seen in the image above are run simultaneously once the green flag is clicked. In addition, the green dinosaur will change colors and reply back with “My name is Bob” once the space bar is pressed.

Scratch coding for kids explained

Discover the benefits of Scratch coding

The perfect language for kids to kickstart their understanding of computer science is Scratch coding. Scratch offers children the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills and teaches them the basics of functions, for loops, and parallel programming. They start to understand how to communicate with computers and build programs that expand upon their imaginations.

After learning Scratch coding, children are able to pick up other programming languages more quickly such as Python, Java, or C. Scratch coding works as a great springboard for children to explore game design, development, and deployment. After they finish building their project, they will have the opportunity to publish their projects for others to see and view other kid’s published projects as well.

Get started with 5 Scratch coding tips

It's fun to learn to code with Scratch. Here are five tips to take your learning even further!

1. Discover new blocks

Want to make your character perform a certain action or learn how to add background music? Scratch has so many blocks to choose from. Familiarizing yourself with the blocks Scratch provides will help you understand how to make your story just how you envisioned it.

Having trouble finding the perfect block for your character to perform a certain action? Don’t worry, you can create your own block!

See what Scratch coding is

2. Customize your character

Customizing your Scratch sprites can help add to the plot of your story. Try clicking on “Costumes” to start designing your very own accessories for your character. Do you like the purple hat drawn for this dinosaur?

Customize your Scratch coding character

Maybe you want your character to show off a certain personality. With the dinosaur’s mouth wide open, it looks like he is about to attack the blue dinosaur!

Change your dinosaur in Scratch coding for kids

3. Add sound effects

We wanted to make our dinosaur roar as he opened his mouth, so we clicked on the “Sounds” tab and added the “roar” sound effect.

Add sound effects for Scratch coding

Sound effects can add to the tone of your story. Check out all of the sound effects you can add to thicken the plot and make your project more exciting.

4. Create your own background

Have trouble finding a background that’s perfect for your story? Try creating your very own using the tools under the “Backdrops” tab.

Make your own backdrop in Scratch coding for kids

5. Have fun!

Scratch coding is used to bring your imaginations to life and to teach you the basics of coding while doing so. Try creating your own animation and share it with your friends. Be sure to have fun while you’re programming your story to make it the best it can be.

Now that you know what Scratch coding is, get started!

Start with a free Scratch coding for kids class. This class is great for students who are interested in creating stories and animations through block-based programming. Sign up today to unleash the endless world of opportunities coding for kids presents to young students of all ages.

Up next, discover fun Scratch projects for kids!

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Erica Gregg, an instructor with Create & Learn, is less than a year away from earning degrees in Computer Science, Applied Mathematics, and Statistics from Purdue University. She loves watching her student's eyes light up when they run their program and watch their characters do what they programmed them to do.