Scratch with Young Children

This is a first of a long series of post, documenting my "experiment" of introducing and using Scratch with two young kids, G, a four year old boy and M a three year old girl. First introduction

Taking in all I have learnt from other educators, I first introduce the Scratch environment simply by showing them the program. Since (unfortunately) both are familiar with games, they immediate ask whether it is a game and what game can they play. I redirected that by telling them that these building blocks like Legos that they can use to build things. I prep the workspace with several sound blocks, and the start block. I have to explain that since there is a green flag on the start block, it means if you build the blocks under the green flag, then press the green flag, you can see what you have made.

The Lego analogy works and the four year old very soon refer to his creation as a "tower". That held his interest for a little while but he keeps asking for what games can I do. We switched to the sprite drawing tool, since he loves to draw. He drew a car. So I decided to intervene and put in a little script to make the car move across the screen. Then I ask him to draw more cars and we ended up with a simple "racing game". Pressing the green flag and the cars glide across the screen with a randomized time, "racing".

That little game held his interest for about 10 minutes. Then he is distracted and went to do something else. I then added a sound sensing feature so that when you shout "go" (or anything) the race starts. Both kids got interested and played with it for a few more minutes then left.

Lessons learn: Lego analogy works fine. Still searching for a way to get them interested.