Scratch is an innovative and interactive way for children to learn how to program animations. It provides a platform to express creativity while also developing valuable technical skills. Your child will be able to bring their imagination to life by creating animations, games, and stories using blocks that can be dragged and dropped onto the screen.

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Not only is Scratch fun and engaging, but it also helps with problem-solving skills since coding requires the ability to break down a problem into smaller parts, think logically, and find creative solutions. Learning to code with Scratch can also improve your child’s critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills, making it a well-rounded educational experience.

What is Scratch animation?

Animation is the method by which still figures are manipulated to create the illusion of movement. Besides film and tv, animation is also widely used in websites, games, and apps.

Scratch is a great option for kids who want to learn animation because it provides a fun, accessible, and interactive way to learn the basics. The Scratch platform is designed specifically for young people and provides a visual interface that makes it easy for kids to get started with coding.

With Scratch, kids can create animations by simply dragging and dropping blocks of code. The blocks represent actions, such as moving a character or changing the background, that can be combined to create a complete animation.

One of the great things about Scratch is that kids don’t need any prior experience with coding or programming. The visual interface makes it simple for kids to understand how the code works and the drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to build animations without getting bogged down in complex syntax.

Another advantage of Scratch is its community aspect. Kids can share their animations with others, get feedback, and even collaborate on projects with other Scratch users from around the world. This makes it a fun and social way for kids to learn and create together and provides a supportive environment for them to explore and develop their coding skills.

Create your first Scratch animation!

Running Unicorn Animation

Let’s take a unicorn image and animate it in Scratch.

Step 1 – Login to Scratch

Login to your account at scratch.mit.edu. Click the Sign In button located in the top-right corner of the page, then input your username and password.

scratch animation step 1 sign in

Step 2 – Create a New Project

Start a new project by selecting the Create button on the top of the screen.

scratch animation step 2 create project

Step 3 – Name Your Project

Give your project a name using the textbox at the top of the page.

scratch animation step 3 name project

Step 4 – Delete Cat Sprite

Delete the cat character by navigating to the sprite section at the bottom-right of the page and selecting the blue trash can icon next to the sprite.

scratch animation step 4 delete cat sprite

Step 5 – Search Backdrop

Click the blue backdrop button on the bottom-right of the page. This is so you can choose a background for your animation!

scratch animation step 5 backdrop

Step 6 – Add Blue Sky Backdrop

Choose whichever backdrop you’d like by clicking it. For example, we are using the Blue Sky backdrop.

scratch animation step 6 select backdrop

Step 7 – Add Sprite

Click the Sprite button at the bottom-right of the page next to the Backdrop button. Then click the Magnifying Glass from the list of options. This is so we can add the unicorn sprite.

scratch animation step 7 choose sprite

Step 8 – Search and Select Unicorn Running Sprite

In the search bar, enter Unicorn and select the Unicorn Running sprite from the options.

scratch animation step 8 select sprite

Step 9 – Position Unicorn Sprite

Position the unicorn on the screen where you would like by clicking and dragging it in the stage area. Make sure to click the Save Now button on the top-right of your screen, near your account picture.

scratch animation step 9 position block

Step 10 – Add When Green Flag Clicked Block

Go to the code blocks on the left of your screen and click the Events category. From there, you will click and drag a When Green Flag Clicked block into the script area.

scratch animation step 10 add green flag

Step 11 – Add Forever Block

Go to the Control category, then click and drag a Forever block into the script area. The Forever block repeats a set of code forever, or until the Red Stop Button is clicked.

scratch animation step 11 forever block

Step 12 – Switch Costumes

Go to the Looks category and select a Next Costume block. Then, Go to the top of the page and click the Green Flag to test your project.

scratch animation step 12 costume block

Step 13 – Add Wait Block

Great job, your unicorn runs now! You might notice that it runs quickly, so to slow it down we can use a Wait block. Go to the Control category, click, and drag a Wait block into the Forever block. You can change the value in this block by editing the number in the textbox. This allows a short delay before each costume change, creating a smooth animation.

scratch animation step 13 wait block

To view or remix the finished animation, click here.

Bonus Round: Make a scrolling background

Use the same project and try animating the background too.

Step 1 – Add New Sprite

Click on the New Sprite button on the bottom-right of the page and click the Magnifying Glass from the popup menu. Then, search for Tree in the Textbox and select one of the options.

scratch animation bonus step 1 add sprite

Step 2 – Position Tree Sprite

Click and drag the tree all the way to the right of the page. This will be the starting point every time the tree goes by.

scratch animation bonus step 2 position