Scratch Programming Language for Youngsters

My 4th grade daughter signed up for an elective based on the Scratch programming language. To prepare, I downloaded Scratch to our home PC, and pointed out some video tutorials and getting started guides available on the Scratch website. Then I left it to her.

When I returned, she had made her first Scratch animation:

ScratchScreenshot

So it takes me several months just to get a handle on Objective C programming terms, and it takes my daughter one hour to build her first program. Gotta love kids.

The Scratch interface has different windows for building your program, and by dragging and dropping commands into place, you can “run” different scenarios with sound, variables, and animation. My daughter’s first effort was a flying unicorn who danced to music and then said a few messages out of a word bubble at the end of its flight.

If you have a youngster interesting in learning to program, here are the resources from Scratch:

Watch out – they may pick it up sooner than you expect!

11 thoughts on “Scratch Programming Language for Youngsters”

  1. It looks like your daughter picked it up really fast! It’s amazing how our kids can pick things up so quickly. Scratch is really neat. Our kids have used it, too. I love that your daughter’s school is offering a programming elective. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Gotta love Scratch. My now 16 year old son has been programming in scratch for over 5 years. It’s amazing what Scratch can do. It’s biggest negative is, being Java based (and the next version will be flash based), there is no iPhone viewer (and no Android viewer that I’m aware of either). Mobile Scratch would give kids an amazing platform for code development.

    –Woof!

  3. Hi Mindy! The funny thing is that the school is offering the elective, and the instructor has been out for the first week. So we were so excited to get going, that I just went ahead and “homeschooled” to get her started until the class is back on track. No holding back! 😉

    Hi Woof!, yes, blending this with output on mobile would be so so hot. I’d love to encourage this.

    Lorraine @momswithapps

  4. Scratch is pretty cool, thanks for spreading the word Lorraine! Oscar has made a few things in scratch and he also played with Codea, which is not targeting kids but lets you code and make apps on the ipad.

    I also just read about hopscotch: http://gigaom.com/2013/04/16/hopscotch-ipad-app-looks-to-teach-building-blocks-of-coding-to-girls/

    Sounds like scratch for the ipad. This category of code for kids is heating up fast! I had planned a workshop for kids at he end of last year (teaching code to kids) and its all changing very fast, I am rethinking the workshop now 🙂

  5. @mich if you hosted a workshop teaching kids to code, I might just slip onto that roster.

  6. Scratch is absolutely amazing. We go into schools in the UK, and kids will be making games in under an hour. Incredible!

    If you are interested, we have developed an iPhone app to help parents and children alike learn Scratch. It’s called Start Scratch. You can check it out on the App Store (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/start-scratch/id536929503?mt=8) or on the official Scratch Ed education website (http://scratched.media.mit.edu/resources/start-scratch-app).

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