Scratch Jr is a free app from the developers of Scratch at MIT. It is designed for younger children to learn coding. Different from other coding apps for young children, it encourages storytelling as well. With the many interactive functions, parents and teachers can use it as a customizable tool to teach kids many other subjects, such as following instructions, counting, coloring.
When you first start the app, there is a tutorial video. I highly suggest going through the video with kids together. You might even have to watch the video more than once to remember all the functions. Once you go through the video, the app just becomes a playground for kids to create stories – using coding blocks.
There are different settings and characters for kids to choose from. Kids can change each setting or character using the painting tools. They can change the colors, add objects, or add text in the setting. Among the 30 provided settings are 4 seasons, different sports background, different room settings. There are over 120 characters for kids to add to the stories: animals, people of different ages, different transportation tools, plants, buildings, furniture, and more.
kids can use different coding functions shown in the tutorial to create their stories: moving a character forward or backward, making a character jump or turn around, having two characters carry a conversation, making a character disappear, … These are just some examples of things the program is capable to do.
When kids want to be more precise on the steps of each character moves, they can turn on the x-y coordinate grid on the screen. This is a good place to set up a program to teach numbers and location.
Having kids adding narration and conversations to the story will be a great way to develop language and storytelling skills.
Here is an example how one school used Scratch app to have kids challenge each other in coding and math.
Give Scratch Jr a try. It is a programing and coding tool, but it goes beyond coding. You can use it for so many different skill areas. Both you and kids will enjoy it. It is available on iPad. It is Free.
If you would like to check it out or purchase it, please use the App Store link provided below. The cost is the same to you, but iGameMom gets a small percentage. Thanks for your support! Note: The link works for all countries.
Looking for more learning tools for kids to learn computer coding? Check out Best Learning Tools for Kids to Learn Computer Coding.