There are few skills as in demand today as the ability to code. While coding used to be a skill that was only used in a handful of very computer specific jobs, that’s no longer the case. Instead, almost anyone from an accountant to a zoologist can benefit from having a working knowledge of programming.
Learning to code early can give kids an advantage when it comes to developing their coding abilities and there’s no platform that’s better for beginners than Scratch.
What is Scratch Coding?
Simply put, Scratch coding is a block programming language that is really easy to learn.
MIT developed Scratch in 2007 as a visually-based coding language for kids. It works by taking smaller snippets of code and grouping them into colorful blocks that can be snapped together to form longer, more complex codes. The more blocks that you use, the more complex the code becomes.
According to the creators, Scratch is and always will be free. There is no license required to use Scratch in your school or at home.
It is a fantastic idea that has helped literally millions of kids learn the basics of coding since it was first created.
What Coding Concepts Can Scratch Teach?
- If-else statements
- Game development
- & more!
Scratch itself is like a blank canvas for learning coding concepts. It’s the place where young coders can create their art, and where they can improve their skills through experimentation and practice. As kids explore what Scratch coding has to offer, they can learn a variety of different coding skills, from problem solving to analytical thinking, that will grow with them on their coding journey beyond Scratch.
Basic Programming Concepts
A large part of working with any coding language is understanding the basic concepts that make coding work. Whether it’s being able to think systematically about how the code will function, or diving deeper into how the different pieces of code interact with each other, Scratch coding will help kids to get a grip on the basics that support all kinds of coding languages.
The main purpose of all coding languages is problem solving, and Scratch coding is no different. It could be building a straight-forward line of code to move a sprite across the screen or working through what they’ve already written in search of an elusive bug. Almost every step in Scratch coding involves learning to problem solve in some way.
Building lines of code to make something happen is the one thing, but understanding how those lines of code should go together to make a cohesive whole is something else entirely. Coding on the Scratch platform can give kids the opportunity to think at a systems level as they work to perfect their project’s design.
Recommended: How to Make a Game on Scratch
Why Should Kids Learn Scratch?
Of course, a lot of these coding concepts are things that can be taught on a variety of platforms. After all, part of the draw of Scratch is that it has the same functionality as a lot of traditional coding languages. For example, you can find loops and variables in Scratch, just like you would in Python. So what makes Scratch coding such a good place to start?
Ease of Access
A large part of it is just how accessible Scratch is. It doesn’t require any specialized programs to run, just a web browser and an account. And because it uses block-based coding, it doesn’t require nearly as much attention to detail as text-based languages. A misplaced block of code can still cause bugs, but it is a whole lot easier to find than a misplaced period!
It breaks coding into chunks that are more easily grasped so that kids can build up their understanding at the same time that they are actively building real code.
Scratch makes it much easier to make a cohesive project than traditional text-based languages. That’s actually a lot more important than you’d think!
Being able to hold up a project that they’re proud of can be a huge motivational factor for kids, and Scratch makes this possible way earlier in the process than most coding languages. In large part, that’s because of its visual nature.
Part of what’s included in the Scratch platform is access to their library of sprites and backgrounds. It’s part of what allows kids to dive in quickly and make a real finished project, and it’s a feature that other coding languages often lack.
One of the best reasons for using Scratch coding for kids is simply because it’s a whole lot of fun.
Kids, and adults, are far more motivated to do things that are pleasant to do. Scratch makes learning to code a challenging puzzle instead of a chore by removing the burden of learning a ton of coding terms and focusing instead on the concepts. That makes it a lot simpler to get from work to reward.
It’s a great strategy for keeping students engaged in the coding process.
Scratch Coding Activities and Resources
Interested in learning how to program in Scratch right away? Here are some great zero experience-needed activities to help you check out a bit of what Scratch can do!
Holiday Scratch Activities
Best Scratch Games
A large part of the learning process on Scratch comes from looking at the projects that others have made. Check out some of the best games on Scratch to get some inspiration!
Enroll Your Child in the Best Scratch Coding Classes for Kids
Of course, while Scratch makes it easy to learn through experimentation, it’s always easier to learn if you have someone to guide you through the tricky bits. CodeWizardsHQ has some of the best Scratch coding classes for kids to help make the learning process both fun and effective.
Our classes start out at the elementary school level using the Scratch coding language and grow with your child as they level up their coding abilities.