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Sean's Scratch Programming Resources

I've collected together my Scratch tutorials, free book chapters, sprite packs and more, to help you learn to program in Scratch. I hope that these will prove to be valuable teaching resources, as well as useful for students teaching themselves Scratch, community code club leaders, and parents.

What is Scratch?

Scratch is a programming language, popular in schools and education. You can use Scratch to build your own games, stories and other projects. Over 40 million projects have been shared on the Scratch website, and over 45 million users have registered an account.

Here's an example Scratch script (or program) that hides a sprite (a picture) when you click the green flag button:

Scratch code: when green flag clicked, hide

As you can see, the instructions use plain English as much as possible. Instructions are prewritten on blocks that you drag and drop, so there's minimal typing involved. Blocks lock together like jigsaw pieces, so Scratch guides you to combine instructions in ways that make sense.

The Scratch catScratch provides images (sprites) and sounds you can use in your project, so it's easy to get started. Every Scratch project starts with a cat sprite, and the Scratch cat (pictured here) has become a widely recognised icon of the Scratch community.

The latest version of Scratch is Scratch 3, which was released in 2019, and which runs in the browser on most devices (opens in new window). Earlier versions were Scratch 2, based on Flash, and Scratch 1.4, which was highly optimised for speed on the Raspberry Pi. Scratch 3 runs well on the latest Raspberry Pi models, so there's no need to use Scratch 1.4 any more unless you're still using older Raspberry Pi devices. Scratch is free to use, so get stuck in!

Scratch is designed for children and young adults aged 8 to 16, but I've taught it to adults (who had a lot of fun with it!) and have used Scratch with younger children, working with them side by side. It requires reasonably good mouse or touchscreen skills.

If you haven't used Scratch before, why not download Chapter 1 from Scratch Programming in Easy Steps to get started today! This chapter will walk you through getting started and creating your first script. The first chapter from Cool Scratch Projects in Easy Steps provides a fun first project too.

What is ScratchJr?

ScratchJr is a programming language aimed at children aged 5 to 7, which enables them to create interactive stories. It's free to download as an app on Apple and Android devices. It uses icons for the instructions, so you don't need reading skills to use the app. I've written a review of ScratchJr, aimed at those familiar with Scratch, but with the code of a game you can build.

Screenshot of ScratchJr


Free chapters from my books about Scratch

Photo of Cool Scratch Projects in Easy Steps I've written and co-written a number of books about Scratch, including Scratch Programming in Easy Steps, Cool Scratch Projects in Easy Steps, and Coder Academy.

Get free PDF chapters from my Scratch books here:


10 Block Scratch demos

Screenshot showing graphic effects from the sprite explosion demo I've been creating small Scratch demos, using up to 10 blocks, to provide simple tutorials and building blocks for bigger projects. Find them here:


Scratch programming tutorials and articles

Here's a selection of articles and tutorials I've written about Scratch. Some articles are reproduced from back issues of The MagPi, the official Raspberry Pi magazine, under a Creative Commons licence. You can support The MagPi by buying it in print, or subscribing here.

Discover my Scratch audio game for micro:bit


Get some free Scratch sprite packs

Here are two packs of sprites you can use in Scratch to create your own projects.

Coder academy sprite pack Red Noses sprite pack

Download my ransom font to use in your Scratch projects, as shown below.

SCRATCH


Scratch music notes infographic

I created this infographic showing the musical note numbers in Scratch to make it easier to program tunes. The same numbers are used in Sonic Pi, the music programming language popular on the Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi Scratch and Sonic Pi note numbers.

To play a note in Scratch, enter its number into the Play Note block, shown below. You can join multiple Play Note blocks to play a tune. In Scratch 3.0, the music blocks are an extension, so you'll need to go to the bottom of the Blocks Palette first to add them. For more tips on music in Scratch, check out the free PDF sampler from Coder Academy.

Screenshot of the Play Note block in Scratch 3.0


Play my favourite Scratch project I've made

I couldn't really finish this page without sharing my Scratch projects with you. You can find all my shared Scratch projects on the Scratch website here.

Here's Gribbet, from Cool Scratch Projects in Easy Steps. It's a pattern repetition game: the frogs sing first, then it's your turn to play the sequence back by clicking the frogs in the same order. I like the characterisation in this project, with the frogs watching each other sing and following your mouse pointer with their eyes. There are some fun facial expressions too.


Scratch community links

Credits

© Sean McManus. All rights reserved.

Visit www.sean.co.uk for free chapters from Sean's coding books (including Mission Python, Scratch Programming in Easy Steps and Coder Academy) and more!

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Scratch Homeschooling resources

Scratch cat with balloons invites you to visit my Scratch resources

Sean's Scratch Resources

Tips, tutorials and free book chapters for Scratch, a coding language widely used in schools.

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