What can you do on Scratch Day?

Activities and ideas to try during your celebration

By Saskia Leggett

This post is the second 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!

At the heart of Scratch Day — a global network of events that celebrates Scratch — are the workshops and activities planned by event hosts. Whether you’re designing an event for Scratch newcomers, curious about new workshop ideas, or looking for ways to engage participants at a variety of experience levels, there are plenty of activities to offer that you can tailor to your community.

In this post, we’ve gathered a list of activities that we’ve facilitated at our own Scratch Day events for you to try out in yours. You can mix and match the activities in this list to find new ways to engage Scratchers, or use the list to spark your imagination and create a unique activity of your own.

The activities are arranged by theme, starting with workshop ideas to welcome newcomers and working towards ideas to engage more advanced Scratchers. We’ve also included thoughts on creating a festive atmosphere and how to support adult participants with resources for educators and parents.

What will your Scratch Day look like? Jump in and start planning with the ideas below!

Activities for newcomers

Show new Scratchers how to create their first project using Scratch or ScratchJr by demoing these activities.

New Scratchers can get started by trying out a tutorial on the Things to Try page, and younger Scratchers can create a project on ScratchJr.

Scratch (ages 8–16): Get started with Scratch by having participants choose among ten interactive tutorials. Each activity is accompanied by a set of Activity Cards and an Educator Guide that you can use during the workshop.

ScratchJr (ages 5–7): For 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.

Group activities

These activities encourage participants to connect with each other and create together.

Engage groups of Scratchers with activities like interactive dance parties, activities involving interactive projects using the video camera, passing a computer between Scratchers to add on to projects, or sharing and explaining favorite projects.

Interactive Dance Party: 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. Consider projecting the project on a wall so that others can watch too!

Use a Webcam: Use video sensing to insert yourself and others into an interactive Scratch project with a webcam, like popping bubbles or saving mini-figs. Participants can remix and code their own webcam projects for others to try.

Pass It On: Build collaborative projects by setting up a few computers and having kids move from station to station, adding new code to each project. One option is to make a collaborative musical project: participants can add sounds, loops, or beats from Scratch or their own recordings, pass it on to a friend, and layer additional sounds to make a song. Check out this project and this studio for example beat makers.

Share and Tell: Encourage participants to sign up to show their favorite projects, or even new projects created during Scratch Day! You can set up a large projector for participants to demo their projects and talk about how they made them, or set up a gallery-style space for guests to walk around and talk to Scratchers individually.

Physical world activities

Participants can make connections to the physical world with these hands-on activities.

Scratch Day participants can combine Scratch and the physical world by creating a musical instruments with MaKey MaKeys, by joining a Scratch concert, by making a chain reaction with LEGO WeDo 2.0, or by programming flying structures.

MaKey MaKey Music: Use a banana, a metal spoon, or other conductive objects to interact with Scratch projects to make music! Participants can follow along with this tutorial and project to create their own interactive instruments. You’ll need MaKey MaKeys for this physical world exploration.

Scratch Concert: Conduct a cacophony of interactive sounds made by Scratchers! Like the Interactive Dance Party activity, participants can code noise-making sprites and add them to a collective concert Scratch project. Consider adding music controllers with conductive objects and MaKey MaKeys so others can play and interact too.

Scratch + LEGO WeDo Chain Reaction: Create a Rube Goldberg style chain reaction using Scratch extensions to program a LEGO WeDo. You can learn more about using LEGO WeDo with Scratch here.

Scratch + LEGO WeDo Sky Parade: Construct flying structures controlled by LEGO WeDo 2.0 and Scratch. You can create pre-made “gondolas” with WeDos and LEGOs that participants can add to and program to move across a suspended string. Check out the documentation for the Sky Parade activity that the MIT Scratch Team facilitated in 2015 for more inspiration.

Advancing Scratch knowledge

Help advanced Scratchers extend their knowledge.

Seasoned Scratchers can explore ScratchX.

Scratch Extensions: Experienced Scratchers can explore experimental Scratch extensions to connect with physical devices and online data. Participants can browse the ScratchX gallery to try out projects and get inspired.

Festive activities

Create a celebratory atmosphere by incorporating festive activities into your event.

From photobooths to decorative hats to Scratch Cat cupcakes to Scratch cat ears, there are many ways to create a spirited atmosphere at your event.

Photobooth: Set up a photobooth with Scratch-themed props for participants to take fun photos to remember their day. You could also set up a Scratch project like this one to take silly photos directly in Scratch. Consider printing out photos for guests or adding photos to an online collection to browse later (if so, make sure your guests sign media release forms so that their photos can appear online!)

Storybooth: Ask Scratchers to tell their Scratch stories by setting up a storytelling booth. In the booth, you can record videos of Scratchers talking about their favorite projects, how they got started with Scratch, what Scratch means to them, or describing Scratch in three words. For a low-tech version, consider creating a space where Scratchers can write their answers to prompts.

Scratch Crafts: Set up an area for participants to create handmade Scratch-themed swag to celebrate the day. Participants can decorate Scratch Day Hats, create Scratch Cat ears with felt and headbands, or create a craft of their own choice.

Snacks: Celebrations are always better with snacks! Consider offering snacks or a meal to your guests. You could even get festive with Scratch Cat-themed cupcakes or DIY cookie making. For larger meals, you might ask a local vendor or restaurant for donations. Consider offering a variety of options (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy free, nut-free) to accommodate different dietary needs.

Fun Extras: The festive possibilities are endless! You can add to your event with Scratch-themed decorations, balloons, Scratch t-shirts and stickers, temporary tattoos, face painting, or even a custom Scratch Day Snapchat filter.

Resources for educators and parents

If your Scratch Day involves educators, parents, or people interested in learning more, consider offering these resources and/or providing meeting space to talk more.

Scratch in your School: Explore the Educator Meetup and Creative Computing guides to brainstorm ways to bring Scratch to your school.

Family Creative Learning: Use the Family Creative Learning Facilitator Guide to start planning creative computing workshops for whole families.

Scratch in your community: Start a conversation: How might you bring Scratch to your children’s clubs and camps?

In the next few weeks, we’ll take a deeper dive into four activities from this list to examine how you might implement Scratch Day workshops incorporating the digital world, the physical world, younger children, and collaboration within groups of Scratchers.

Saskia Leggett is Outreach Manager for the Scratch Team.