Let us guess. You think that your child spends a lot of time playing computer games. Or they have already started using social media, and you are concerned about it. Of course, you want your kid to learn more.
But what if they play and study programming at the same time? You may ask how this is even possible. And we answer that it’s pretty easy with Scratch. In this blog, we gathered some facts about why Scratch is an ideal coding language to start with and how to approach learning it.
What Is Scratch Programming?
What is the Scratch program? It’s a block-based visual programming language designed for kids and their parents. The primary audience is children from 8 to 16 years old. What is Scratch used for? It allows users to learn coding skills while creating simple animation projects and games in an easy and playful form.
Scratch is based on the use of block coding. What does it mean? Block coding turns programming into a drag-and-drop process. During this activity, text code is converted into visual blocks, and each block performs a different task, similar to a function in code languages. Thus, kids create games and animations by combining blocks.
Scratch is very popular. Meanwhile, most players are from the United States. About 33% of all users, or as they call themselves, Scratchers, are concentrated here. Just imagine that their number is almost 39 million, which is equal to the population of a country like Canada. Since 2020, Scratch users have been creating from 1 to 3 million new projects monthly. Well, as you can see, Scratch is universal, but why? Let’s find out.
Top 3 Benefits of Coding With Scratch for Your Child
Scratch has many advantages, and we’ll talk about the major ones. Perhaps, this information will help you decide if to offer coding to your child.
First, Scratch develops creativity. When a child is involved in the process of creating an animation or a new game, they can invent something new. They can show their creativity and imagination to the fullest. Of course, at first, your kid will be learning and reproducing projects created by someone else. But as soon as they learn the Scratch basics and start working independently, they will have a chance to show their fantasy.
While working on their Scratch projects, your child may encounter some difficulties. Something will not work from the first try, or it will work but not as expected. Kids will have to make decisions and choices. More importantly, they will realize that these decisions will have consequences.
What color should they choose for the game background? What kind of music or sound should they take for a scene? Why is the character moving in the wrong direction? These and many other minor issues will teach your child to find a solution to any situation. Most likely, your kid will seek advice, first from you and later from the Scratch community. Even so, they will develop and practice their problem-solving skills.
Scratch programming language will introduce the world of coding to your kid. Although Scratch is used for creating simple programs, games, mobile applications, and websites, it shows Scratch students the logic behind programming. Kids see and understand how to develop something new.
Even if, in a few years, your child will prefer more complex coding languages such as Python or Java, the knowledge of Scratch will always be helpful. And if your kid doesn’t want to program anymore, the Scratch experience will only benefit them. What’s more? Solid knowledge of computer science will help your child pass the final exams successfully and get into a prestigious university.
How to Set Up Scratch in 4 Easy Steps
Getting started with Scratch is easy. We have made a list of steps you should follow:
- Go to the official Scratch website.
- Register to create a user account.
- Click the button “Create” on the top bar.
- Watch a short tutorial clip on how to work in Scratch programs.
You will find a workspace with all the necessary tools. And that’s it. Simple, right? Now, your kid can create their first animation.
5 Ways to Introduce Your Children to Scratch
All the above sounds like a good idea. But it’s easier said than done. What if your child doesn’t like Scratch or can’t understand it? Make acquaintance with Scratch a positive experience with the following five tips:
1. Understand Basic Concepts
Scratch language is quite simple, but don’t skip the basics. Your kid can start learning the language independently or with you. Alternatively, offer your youngster a programming course in one of the Scratch schools or hire a tutor.
What are the Scratch basics? The main idea is that each block denotes a single action. You can join it with other pieces like a puzzle. Thus, all the elements complement each other. For example, the “move” block allows the character to move in the space. The “turn” block turns the character at an angle of 45 degrees. And if you connect these two pieces, the character will move in space while evenly rotating. Scratch also offers other moves like “jump,” “show,” “hide,” etc. All other functions work according to the same logic.
2. Explore Scratch Features
How else do you get a kid interested in becoming a Scratch programmer? To discover the range of the program’s features and possibilities, look at the central panel and check what it consists of. Short tutorial clips explain the functionality in an easy-to-understand way.
Your kid should review all the shortcuts and functions several times and check how they work. The best way to do this is to combine theory with practice. Of course, a kid will want to start creating a game right away, but make sure to check the basic functionality first. Kids can start creating only after they remember the Scratch program interface.
3. Create Animation
The best way to get your child interested in Scratch programming is to show them the potential result of their work. For example, try to create a simple animation together. When your kid sees in practice how the blocks fit into a single puzzle, and the picture comes to life, most likely, they will be excited and want to try Scratch scripting.
4. Develop the First Game
So, if the kid has mastered the basics and codes in Scratch, it’s time to increase the difficulty gradually. Invite your child to create their first game.
It’s a good idea to start with a simple script. Let your child be the initiator and tell you what features they want in the game. Then, combine blocks in the Scratch program and revitalize your child’s imagination. By the way, Scratch also allows you to create a multiplayer game or develop a simple 3D game, which will surely attract your kid. Moreover, you can share the game in the Scratchers’ community.
5. Collaborate With Others
Communicating with others while Scratch programming learning is critical. Your child learns how to present ideas and justify their opinion. They can discuss Scratch topics with you, a tutor, or other Scratch programmers.
For this purpose, Scratch visual programming has a constantly growing community. Here, people share their ideas, work on projects, find solutions to coding-related issues, and spread their lifehacks. A great opportunity to find new friends, isn’t it?
Well, what do you think of Scratch now? As you can see, this is an elementary programming language that opens excellent prospects for young programmers. The fun and straightforward Scratch user interface has a simple functionality. Give your kid an opportunity to unlock their creative potential and develop new skills with Scratch.