If you are reading this, you’re probably curious about the craze behind Scratch coding. Many teachers and educators recognise it as an effective way to introduce kids to the fundamental concepts of computer science, and also foster the soft skills necessary to thrive in the 21st century.
Before diving into the factors that make scratch such a compelling platform for childhood development, let’s start by defining scratch coding.
What is Scratch Coding?
Scratch coding or Scratch, as it is commonly known, is a visual programming language and an online community that allows kids to program and share interactive media such as stories, games and animations.
It was designed by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at MIT Media lab to help children learn how to think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively.
What is the Best Age to Introduce Kids to Scratch?
Although Scratch is now used by people of all ages, it was initially designed for young people between the ages of 8 and 16. That said, the best time to introduce kids to coding languages such as Scratch is between the ages of 5 to 7.
This is the period during which they can learn how to create and express themselves with computers, instead of just interacting with them.
Scratch Jr, which was released in 2014, makes this possible. It has a simpler interface compared to its older brother, and the only requirement to get started is basic reading skills.
The Scratch Community
Much of the appeal behind Scratch has to do with its large community. As of today, it is used in more than 200 countries and territories and is available in over 70 languages.
Members of various ages and interests come together to share ideas, progress, and knowledge. Through this peer-to-peer engagement, kids learn how to acknowledge different perspectives and solutions, and also develop their communication skills. These interactions go a long way in preparing them to succeed in life.
What Makes Scratch So Compelling?
Apart from Scratch’s rich and diverse community, what draws millions of people around the world to the platform is its ease of use and extra features. For example, educators have access to a sub-community which they can use to share stories as well as consult other educators. They can also open accounts that allow them to manage their students more easily.
But that only scratches (no pun intended) the surface of what Scratch is capable of doing. It can also be used together with other play learning tools such as Lego Mindstorms Ev3 and BBC Micro:bit, which provides greater room for kids to develop in areas that interest them
How Much Does it Cost to Use Scratch?
One of the biggest benefits of Scratch as a coding platform for kids is that it’s free. In addition, it isn’t resource-intensive. It can run smoothly on web browsers, desktops, laptops, and even tablets. However, it is worth noting that pairing Scratch with external devices such as Lego will involve some costs, since they need to be purchased separately.
Why Should Parents Let Their Kids Play With Scratch?
Apart from being free to use, Scratch is beneficial in several other ways. It is fun, engaging, and interactive, all of which are helpful for kids when they are absorbing new material.
Outside of being a healthy source of entertainment, it fosters creativity through the sheer number of design options available for kids to express themselves.
Best of all, it also teaches kids how to think. As they develop games, animations or stories, they learn how to break down big problems into smaller components, or how to leverage other resources such as peers or mentors for problem-solving.
Scratch coding can go a long way in preparing your kids to succeed in life. In fact, each day, more and more parents are introducing their kids to Scratch.
STEM Genius provides one of the best Scratch classes for kids. We place a strong emphasis on the quality of our education, going as far as to be the first institution in Singapore to be accredited by STEM.org.
Our curriculum is designed by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and incorporates elements from Stanford Design Thinking to help kids develop creative problem-solving skills.