Programming with Scratch

If you’ve never programmed before and are curious, try a language designed primarily for kids. Scratch is a visual programming language based on Blockly, which literally includes blocks of instruction to be placed sequentially. So for example, if you’re in your living room, and are walking to the bedroom, Blockly instructions might include “Walk forward 15 steps, turn right, walk 10 steps” etc. It’s that simple.

Scratch was designed for kids between 8 – 16, but ANYONE can learn it, use it, and feel empowered. You might be thinking, but what about all these trendy languages I keep hearing about – Swift, Java, Javascript? You might have no clue what I’m going on about. Guess what? That’s perfectly fine. Take a deep breath, keep an open mind, and delve into the world of Scratch.

Ways to understand Blockly

I would advise getting an online account at Scratch. It’s super simple and free. They have tutorials you can follow with very explicit directions. You can go on youtube and solidify your understanding. Also, create an account at Code.org. I like this site for its one-hour tutorials which are interspersed with great videos, inspiring you to give it your best shot. You can help Elsa from Frozen create intricate snowflakes or Steve navigate himself on endless adventures in Minecraft.

A cool Scratch resource I bought recently

My daughter’s really interested in Scratch, so I decided to see what was on offer during a recent visit to our local Barnes and Nobles. The children’s section had lots of Scratch-related books, but the one I liked the most is called ‘Coding with Scratch workbook’. It’s really well laid out and both her and I are using it together to learn more. It retails for under $6 on Amazon – what’s not to like?

Scratch programming
A great book about Scratch.

Benefits of using Scratch/Code.org

  1. They’re both super-visual, which makes learning to code interesting and fun!
  2. Because they’re mainly written for children, the tutorials are broken down into easy-to-understand chunks that sometimes books/resources written for adults fail to do.
  3. After completing a one-hour challenge on Code.org, get yourself a Certificate of Completion and feel ready to tackle anything!

Finally..

Just because Scratch is a resource for kids, doesn’t mean you’re not learning programming principles common to ALL languages, like Java, Javascript, Python, Swift, etc. If you see yourself getting interested and addicted to these websites and content, then you can begin to teach yourself the fundamental concepts of programming through these user-friendly resources. And that’s a great start towards learning a new skill, whether it be for a hobby or for a new career.

Are you with me on this new journey? What are your fears, if any? Drop me a line… and code away!

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