In today’s world, children are familiar with digital products such as video games, online cartoons, educational apps, etc. from an early age. Many modern technologies are based on programming and realizing their key role in modern and future life, some countries, such as the Philippines, UAE, South Africa, Australia, and others, are already introducing programming lessons into the school curriculum. In Ukraine, too, in many schools, they study the basics of programming, Scratch for children, in computer science lessons.
Far-sighted parents are not limited to the school curriculum and offer their children to learn programming languages on their own. One of the first steps might be to learn Scratch, which is a completely free visual programming language specially designed for kids. In this article, we will talk in more detail about the properties and capabilities of Scratch.
WHAT IS SCRATCH FOR CHILDREN?
Scratch is a visual programming language designed to teach children the basics of coding in a gamified interaction format. The designers of the language had the idea of creating a fun space for kids where they can create their games or cartoons and learn logical thinking and the basics of programming at the same time. Learning to code with Scratch is ideal for kids and teens as they can immediately see and enjoy the results of their efforts.
Since 2007, Scratch has already registered more than 22 million users in more than 150 countries around the world. In addition to animations and simple video games, Scratch also allows you to dynamically create multimedia materials for school lessons in science or exact sciences, such as mathematics, geography, history, etc., which makes it a creative alternative to boring presentations and reports.
What age is scratch suitable for?
The standard version of Scratch is available for kids aged 8 to 16 without much difficulty. However, you can start learning a programming language from the age of 6-7, but for comfortable use, you need to have basic computer skills and be able to count up to 360, as well as know the basics of addition and subtraction.
For preschool age, there is also a simplified version – ScratchJr. It contains only visual objects and does not contain any printed letters, which allows children to start learning programming even before they can read.
What can a child learn by learning Scratch?
Scratch is a great start for little video game and coding enthusiasts as learning it is easy and fun. Scratch for Kids helps to develop creative, systematic, and logical thinking, as well as teamwork skills in children and teenagers. All of these skills are essential for life in the 21st century.
Also, along with the basics of coding, Scratch can be used as a powerful storytelling tool. It allows you to create fantasy stories and can also be useful for school or extracurricular activities. After all, Scratch can be used to visually and dynamically explain complex scientific concepts. Children and caregivers can develop quizzes, games, puzzles, and tutorials to help them explore and present complex topics.
One of the key features and benefits of Scratch is the ability to share your designs and adapt the ideas of others in your projects. To do this, the child just needs to copy someone else’s project and add variables.
Getting started with Scratch: description and characteristics of the environment
To start creating your own game or animation in Scratch for children, the little programmer first needs to get familiar with the program’s interface. This interface is very simple so it is easy to understand. It has four main elements:
- Stage area – the place where all the results of the project will be displayed.
- Sprite – the main character of the project or an object that can move and change. There are many sprite sets in Scratch, including cars, animals, and more. Who can also change their appearance with the help of costumes?
- The block palette is a set of blocks with commands located on the left side of the screen.
- The coding area is where blocks are dragged from the block palette. This is where the written project code is stored and edited.
Programming for kids: how to get started with Scratch?
To create the first project in Scratch, the little programmer should first become familiar with the coding area and its capabilities. It’s also helpful to start by looking at other projects and developments to better understand what Scratch is capable of.
Then you can copy other people’s projects and change them with your ideas. After that, you can try to create your project from scratch. The child may try to create an analog of their favorite video game or do something completely new.
Learning the visual coding language Scratch is incredibly fun thanks to the game format. However, some difficulties may arise in mastering some of the features and functions. In tIn this case, it is recommended to use individual programming lessons with a teacher. GoMother Programming School offers Scratch courses where a qualified teacher will help you master this visual programming language.
GAMES IN SCRATCH – FOR IDEAS AND LEARNING
By playing games created by other Scratch users, a child can find programming passions and motivation to start learning. Scratch games can be very simple, but every great success starts with small steps. It is important to show your child that Scratch games are not only fun but also an opportunity to review and improve their code following their ideas.
Here is a list of popular games created by Scratch users with many variations and adaptations:
- Slither.io v1.10 – A classic snake game created with Scratch. The player needs to eat as many colored balls as possible to become the biggest snake while avoiding collisions with other players.
- Fizmo – Puzzle Game – Use logic to help colored squares get to their homes.
- Appel v1.4 – Save the apple universe by collecting golden apples. Dangerous obstacles make your rescue task more difficult.
- Random Tycoon Thing v2 – Manage your teddy bear production and improve your infrastructure to succeed.
- Ball Blast v1.2 – Scratch Version – Your goal is to shoot flying balls and avoid them falling on your cannon, trying to score the highest possible number of points and beat the records of other players.
Playing and experimenting with such games can be a fun and educational experience for a child.