Scratch — programming for the youngest

25 October 2021

Scratch was created especially for children and teenagers who want to start their life adventure with the programming. It is an educational and object-oriented language available to children that are 8 and over. It gives the possibility to create interactive games, music, stories and animations. It acquaints young people with the basics of computer programming and introduces them to the world of programmers.

Children develop quickly, so they easily absorb all kinds of technologies. That’s why it is so important to properly direct their attention to the world of the latest scientific achievements. One of the most diverse and dynamically developing areas is programming. Learning to code appeared at the very beginning, when computer science was introduced into schools. The sooner teenagers start moving in the computer and programming environment, the sooner they can reach new heights in coding. Scratch is perfect for that.


Scratch in practice

Scratch was developed by MIT (MIT Media Lab – Lifelong Kindergarten Group). Its important advantage is that you don’t need to write code (language syntax is not written commands, but pictures). The components are “blocks of code”, which just need to be properly connected. This language allows you to get the programming effect very quickly. It is also important that this language does not require the installation of additional programs, a web browser with any operating system is sufficient.

Children have the option to save their work in the cloud, which gives them easy access to their project also from outside the school. Importantly, it is based on a visually attractive graphic design. It significantly encourages learning the program, everything is clear, simple and legible. The child’s task is to move the element and place it in the selected place. It is a simple and intuitive tool, even for younger users.

The whole thing is visually attractive, the design is colourful and allows you to add new characters that work according to the intention of a small programmer, and in addition, the child himself decides about their appearance and the selection of sounds made by them. Generalizing, the toddler creates his own world and the only limitation is his imagination. Therefore, it is worth considering whether you should enroll your child in programming, definitely yes! Introducing young people to the world of computer science is not difficult at all and can be extremely fun.

What are the benefits of introducing children and teenagers to the world of computer science:

  1. Development of logical and spatial thinking
  2. Ability to search for new, interesting and original solutions
  3. It stimulates the imagination and creativity
  4. Builds patience and perseverance in achieving goals and results of work
  5. Provides the foundation for further learning towards computer science

It is worth bearing in mind that in the modern world, technological progress is so ubiquitous that it forces children to be properly prepared and able to find and navigate the Internet not only in everyday life, but also to have better chances for work in the future.


Requirements to start learning

No wonder that the best time to start studying is probably school age. It guarantees comprehensive development and creates the basis for further learning and exploring the mysteries of computer science. As for the use of Scratch itself, you can use two options Online vs Offline and both versions have both advantages and disadvantages. Using the online editor doesn’t force you to install any software on your device and always uses the latest version as it requires a constant internet connection to save your work.

The offline editor is a better choice, especially when there may be a problem with access to the network. When we have free access to the Internet, by entering the website, you can start creating your first programs and be able to write and read. However, it is worth making a copy of the project at least once a week in case of any failure.

As for the offline editor, you need to download and install it on your computer, the way you work is no different, but you need to be able to save your work on your device. However, if you have access to the Internet, projects can be submitted online from the offline editor, as long as you have an account on the Scratch website.

It is also a social networking site that allows anyone to post programs created in this language, download other users works or discuss them with all participants of this site. If the child is under 7 years old, remember that Scratch also has an option for this age group called Scratch Junior and the main difference is that instead of commands, there are blocks with pictures, and the commands are lined up in one horizontal line under the pictures.

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