How do you design Scratch Day activities?

A deeper look into designing and facilitating four Scratch activities.

By Saskia Leggett

This post is the third in a series on tips for hosting a Scratch Day. This year, Scratch is celebrating our 10th Anniversary during the month of May, but you can celebrate any day of the year!

In our last Scratch Day post, we gathered a list of activities that we’ve facilitated at our own Scratch Day events for you to try at yours. In this post, we’re taking a closer look at four activities you can try to engage kids in the digital world, the physical world, as a group, or to help younger audiences with getting started. Each activity includes step-by-step guidelines you can follow to design your activities, and ideas for remixing and adapting the activities for your audience and your space.

Scratch Days are by no means one-size-fits-all; events come in all shapes and sizes, with participants of all age ranges and levels of expertise. However you decide to celebrate, make sure to keep your community’s needs in mind. You can adapt these activities for groups of any size in any setting, or remix them to make them your own. Your Scratch Day is yours to design!

Digital World Activity: Getting Started with Things To Try

For new Scratchers, you can design an activity based on one (or many) of the tutorials on the Things To Try page, which offers 10 interactive tutorials with free, printable Activity Cards for kids and Educator Guides for facilitators. Learn more…

Physical World Activity: Makey Makey Music

Scratch Day’s festive atmosphere presents a great opportunity to connect Scratch with the bright colors, fun sounds, and curious objects of the physical world. By pairing Scratch with the Makey Makey, a separate piece of hardware that can be purchased online, participants can use any conductive object — like a banana, a spoon, or another person — to make music in Scratch. Learn more…

Group Activity: Interactive Dance Party

No celebration is complete without plenty of dancing. At Scratch Day @ MIT, we always make sure to include a version of the interactive dance party project. During this activity, participants can code a dancing sprite alone or in pairs, add it to a communal dance party project, and watch it dance with other sprites from the group. Then display the Scratch project on a wall so that others can watch, and even dance along too! Learn more…

Scratch for Younger Children: ScratchJr

If your Scratch Day includes families with younger children, you can try ScratchJr or PBS KIDS ScratchJr app activities. Parents and children can work together to create their own themed interactive stories and games on tablets. Learn more…

For all activities, these questions can help guide your planning:

  • How will newcomers know what to do to get started?
  • What roles should facilitators play in the activity?
  • How will participants share their work with each other?
  • What will people take away from the activity?
  • What resources or guidelines can you provide participants for taking Scratch back into their homes, schools, organizations, or communities?

Saskia Leggett is Outreach Manager for the Scratch Team.