Developed at MIT, Scratch programming language is a fun & enriching way to learn coding!
Today, we're going to share the best ways to learn Scratch coding. Let's go!
Why Learn Scratch Programming?
Learning Scratch is so much fun! But that's not all. As a block-based programming language, it makes coding concepts simple to learn with drag-and-drop code blocks. There's no complex text-based syntax, so a kid 8+ can start their programming journey with ease.
Along with exercising their creativity muscles, kid coders are able to flex their problem-solving skills. Scratch serves as a great blend of logic and imagination. Want to build your own video game like Minecraft? It's both entertaining & educational with Scratch!
Along with gaining new skills in the basics of programming, Scratchers are given the opportunity to safely connect with a large online community. This allows them to explore other projects, find inspiration, and share their own creations.
Learning programming is a fundamental building block of the careers of the future. Scratch makes it easy, providing young programmers the head start they need for STEM curriculum and their future aspirations!
What You Need to Start
As a free, open-source coding language (created by the MIT Media Lab), Scratch is accessible to anyone with a compatible device, web connection, and Scratch account.
Once you've got your account and device ready, you'll be able to build your own games, animations, and interactive stories. Scratch blocks replace the need for complicated text-based coding, allowing you to bring your ideas to life more freely!
New to Scratch 3.0? Don't worry! Get comfortable with the following Scratch tutorials:
My First Scratch Project (intro to Scratch)
How to Make a Scratch Game (step-by-step tutorial)
How to Make a Platformer on Scratch (beginner level)
Want to learn Scratch terms, history, and more? Visit Scratch Wiki.
Best Ways to Learn Scratch
Scratch, with its colorful coding blocks and easy-to-use interface, is a great stepping stone.
We can break down the best approaches to learning Scratch into 4 categories: Create, Explore, Ideas, and Guidance. Let's take a look at each one!
Once you've created a Scratch account (more on that below), you can start right away! Scratch's intuitive, visually based interface makes it simple to create a project.
To start, go to Create a Scratch Project. Along with the interface, you'll be presented with a quick video introduction!
With the use of Scratch blocks, sprites, backdrops, and more, you can experiment with different approaches. Make a story. Design an animated scene. Build a platformer game. Whatever you want to do, you have the freedom to do so in Scratch!
If you're not ready to jump right in yet, that's perfectly fine! You simply always explore Scratch projects. This provides a better look at exactly how Scratch projects can function, as well as have fun trying out the various creations!
There are two categories to explore: projects and studios. You'll also find several categories to filter your search. These include Animations, Art, Games, Music, Stories, and Tutorials.
From starter projects to activity guides, you'll find great resources on the Scratch Idea page.
Even though Scratch is one of the easiest programming languages to learn, it can still feel a little intimidated at first. Don't fret! Take a look at the various tutorials and see if anything catches your eye.
Starter projects, for instance, allow you to dive right in. You can also customize them to make them your own. Once you feel more comfortable with sprites and coding blocks, you can try to make a Scratch project from scratch!
Exploring on your own can teach you a lot. However, it can go only so far. Plus, it can be easy to form bad habits if you don't know exactly what you're doing yet.
That's why it's helpful to find personalized instruction that can cater to your specific level and learning style. If you're looking for tailored 1:1 coding guidance, we offer friendly & knowledgeable instructors ready to provide you with the right fit for your needs!
Quick Scratch Tutorial
Now that we understand the best ways to get to know Scratch, let's now go over how to start coding with a few simple steps!
Step 1: Create Account
First, you'll want to go to the Scratch website and sign up for a new account.
Click "Join Scratch" at the top of your screen. Next, create a username and password.
It's helpful to come up with login info that's easy for a kid to remember. You'll then enter additional information, including the country you live in, date of birth, and email address.
Once you've completed this process, it's time to start coding!
Step 2: Start New Project
Logged into your new account? Great! Click on "Create" at the top of your screen.
You should see an interface that looks like the above image. This is where you will create backdrops, characters, and objects for your projects.
Characters and objects are called sprites. To the left, you'll find Scratch blocks. You use these blocks to code your project, allowing for movement and interactivity.
Step 3: Add Sprites
Scratch allows you to add or delete as many sprites as you want.
Above, you'll see circles around two elements: default sprite (Cat Scratch) and "Choose a Sprite" button. In order to select a new sprite, click on the button. This will give you several options, including Choose a Sprite, Paint, and Upload a Sprite.
In the image above, you'll see the "Choose a Sprite" page. Here, you can select from many different characters and objects.
These preset sprites make it easy to code. You can also click on the "Choose Backdrop" button (to the right of the "Choose a Sprite" button) to select a backdrop. For the purposes of this tutorial, we'll select Avery and the Spaceship backdrop.
Once you've gotten familiar with Scratch, you can incorporate your own custom elements. Either upload them or draw them directly in Scratch!
Step 4: Code with Blocks
Okay, so you have your sprites in place. Now it's time to code for them!
The above image shows an example of basic code for making your character rotate in four directions. To create this block script, you simply drag and drop blocks from the left side into the center portion of the interface for the corresponding sprite.
Now, try it with Avery! As you see, she rotates as you click on the arrow keys.
Keep in mind that you typically need a Green Flag block in order to run your project. This simple movement code example does not require a Green Flag in order to work.
For a movement lesson, read our tutorial on how to make a sprite move in Scratch.
Step 5: Run Your Project
Now, for the really fun part!
You've got your sprites and your code. Simply click on the Green Flag—this is the block that's typically found at the top of the code script, as shown above—and let your project run!
Make sure to name your project and save under your account. You can also share it with the Scratch community.
And there you go! With these simple steps, you'll be on your way to creating new worlds and characters. Let your imagination soar!
Scratch is a great first programming language for young people. With practice and guidance, you can build your own games, animations, and interactive stories while absorbing knowledge you can carry on to programming languages like Python, HTML, and more!
Now Keep Learning
We hope you've enjoyed this blog post on the best ways to learn Scratch coding! With new coding skills, a young programmer can build the confidence to move on to more advanced programming. From video games to web development, the sky's the limit!
Read about our online coding classes for kids, or contact our Advisor Team by calling (650) 263-4306 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to learn which courses are best for your student’s coding journey. You can also read more about how we use Scratch to teach coding.