Hello, ScratchJr!

A blank Scratch screen

What the Scratch screen looks like: lots of building blocks and options.

A blank ScratchJr screen

What the ScratchJr screen looks like: more colors and bigger blocks, but fewer options.

We’ve been using Scratch to create animations, games, and art in the MAKESHOP for a while. Scratch is a programming language that teaches kids how to develop things that can be played with and looked at on a computer, and we love to use Scratch to make interactive pieces around MAKESHOP.

Scratch can be a little tricky to understand, and until recently, older kids (8 to 16 years old) were usually better at making things with Scratch than younger ones. However, this summer, the people who made Scratch made something new just for kids who are around 5 to 7 years old: ScratchJr!

ScratchJr is pretty neat because you can make cartoon movies and games with many of the same instructions that Scratch uses. For example, both Scratch and ScratchJr will let you program the main character, Scratch Cat, to move across the screen and change into different outfits. ScratchJr doesn’t have as many buttons to make more complicated features like a scoreboard that will keep track of points in your game, and so far, it only works on iPads, so you can’t connect it to a MaKey MaKey circuit board and design your own controller to play a ScratchJr game. Still, it’s cool to use the app to try programming in different ways. Although ScratchJr doesn’t allow makers to share their projects online yet (they’re working on it!), you can check out some of the things MAKESHOP has made with Scratch here.

Molly joined the MAKESHOP team in November 2013.
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