What is Scratch?
Scratch is a visual programming language with a drag and drop block system. It also includes a pretty powerful paint editor, as well as world-wide community of users.
Scratch was created by the MIT Media Lab for the purposes of teaching people of all ages how to code.
Learning how to use Scratch
Creating a Scratch account is easy and free. An email account is required to activate the account and parents should monitor the community activity when their children are using Scratch.
Many schools and communities host Scratch classes and workshops, but it is possible to learn on your own. There are lots of resources for educators to teach Scratch, and coding experience is not required.
Using Scratch to Create Games
One of the best books I’ve found to teach game coding is “Coding Games in Scratch“, by Jon Woodcock. This book is perfect for kids, ages 8-12, and it has step by step instructions for creating races, mazes, puzzles and multi-player platforms. Coding concepts are explained throughout the book and kids love to collaborate and help each other.
In my experience teaching Scratch to kids, they not only love the program, but they learn how to solve problems and think creatively. Gaming adds another layer of fun and challenge to the learning process. I would suggest starting with a basic Scratch workshop to get the fundamentals before moving on to coding games. However, it really doesn’t matter where you start, Scratch is a great programming language for kids or anybody interested in learning how to code.