Programming Tools for Kids

Scratch – programming environment

Scratch is a multi-platform, open source, easy, interactive, collaborative programming environment designed for creating interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art — and sharing these on the web. Scratch is designed to help young people (ages 8 and up) develop modern learning skills.

When developing Scratch projects, students learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also gaining a deeper understanding of the process of design.

Scratch is a graphical programming environment implemented in Squeak that works in a very Lego-like fashion. Testament to the popularity of Scratch, there are nearly 3 million projects that have been created with this programming environment.

Features include:

  • Limited hardware / operating system access which helps make Scratch a safe programming language to learn.
  • Build programs by snapping together colorful blocks of code.
  • Turing complete.
  • Visual Graphical User Interface.
  • Basic programming constructs are supported and grouped into different block categories:
    • Motion.
    • Looks.
    • Sound.
    • Pen.
    • Control.
    • Sensing.
    • Operators.
    • Variables.
  • Variables and lists for data storage, and arrays can be replicated.
  • Floating point scalars and strings are supported.
  • Primarily event-driven.
  • Many simplified casting rules.
  • Small stage / Full stage / Presentation Mode.
  • Compress sounds.
  • Compress images.
  • Upload programs to the Scratch Web site.

Developer: Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab
License: GNU GPL v2 OR Scratch Source Code License


Scratch is written in JavaScript. Learn JavaScript with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

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