Scratch Jr. is a great platform for younger students who are still learning to read. They don’t even need to be able to type to code games and animations! Scratch Jr. was designed as a visual programming language to introduce coding to children ages 5-8. Scratch Jr. Coding is a great way for children to think creatively and reason systematically! It is available as a free app for iOS, Android and Chromebooks.
Children create code in objects called sprites – which can be characters or other objects. Scratch Jr. comes with a library of sprites, and sprites can be edited or new ones created using the “Paint Editor”. Many of the sprites are animals such as dogs, cats, or horses.
Code is created by dragging blocks into a coding area and snapping them together. All the blocks are completely icon-based (no text) which is how children can use this language before they can read or type. Blocks are connected from left to right, like words.
The user interface is much simpler than that of Scratch. Both the number of categories of programming blocks and the number of blocks within each category have been reduced, so that only most basic ones were retained. Scratch Jr. is a great preparation for students who will be using Scratch when they are a bit older.