Scratch Day for Younger Children

By Saskia Leggett

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. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Before you begin, consider reminding participants to bring tablets with them to Scratch Day if they plan to participate in the ScratchJr workshop. ScratchJr runs on iOS and Android tablets.
  2. Think through what your space will look like. At our Scratch Day @ MIT, we’ve found that ScratchJr activities work best in their own space, where parents and kids can spread out on the ground or around tables and work together. In our space, we set out a big carpet with beanbags, have a projector and screen, and include tables for materials. We have found that having a separate space can help younger children relax.
  3. Decide on your activity. Do you want parents and kids to choose among a range of activities from the ScratchJr and PBS KIDS ScratchJr offerings, or to guide the group as a whole with one activity? In our Scratch Days @ MIT, we include a range of activities for parents to chose among. You could arrange your space to have separate sections for each of the activities that families can move among, or you can encourage families to stay in one spot and retrieve activity cards and materials from a single table.
  4. Gather extra tablets if possible, and print out accompanying ScratchJr cards (included in each activity here) and PBS KIDS ScratchJr cards.
  5. Before you begin, you can explain the activity by modeling how to use the apps or by showing a brief video. Encourage parents to work with their children to create together. You can also remind parents to allow their kids time to explore, create, and touch the screen on their own.
  6. During the activity, you can walk around to help parents and kids troubleshoot, and point out helpful tips included in the activity cards. One fun feature to point out is how to insert yourself with the video camera into projects.
  7. As families complete their projects, you can encourage them to try out different activities together.
  8. Before you complete the activity, consider gathering families together to share their work with each other and talk about what they liked, what they learned, and what they want to do next. Consider including resources for families to take home with them to continue learning and exploring in their own spaces.

For other detailed activity ideas, check out the post How do you design Scratch Day activities?