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Scratch is the world's largest free coding community for kids. We are megafans of Scratch here at The Learning Curve at Central Library! This free coding website is fun, tinker-able, and requires no special software or computer programs to run - all you need is a web browser and your imagination. Created and maintained by MIT’s Media Lab, Scratch went live in 2003. Over the last 20 years, countless kids, teens, and grown-ups have built up a thriving Scratch community.

Learning Specialist Barbara O’L created the awesome list below of IndyPL books full of Scratch tips and ideas. You’re sure to find something that catches your eye from our collection!

Want to know more? Our go-to things to make in Scratch are mini-movies and animations, like this book trailer we made for Emmy in the Key of Code. But the creative possibilities don’t end there! You can design and code video games, choose your own adventure stories, fun quizzes, and more. You can explore featured projects and studios from the Scratch home page for tons of inspiration.

Book Trailer for Emmy in the Key of Code

Here’s our book trailer for Amy Lucido’s “Emmy in the Key of Code”!

One of our favorite Scratch features is that you can look inside the code of any shared project. Curious to have a peek “under the hood”? There’s no mystery here - Scratch’s philosophy is all about sharing knowledge to help others learn and create! For example, here’s Learning Specialist Chris B’s Spooky Pumpkin animation. If you click “See Inside” from the project page, you will see all the code pieces he used to make his pumpkin float, flicker, and wobble. He also included some very handy notes that explain what the code pieces do. If you have a Scratch account, you can also save copies of other creators’ code to your account to edit and play with. Scratch calls that “remixing”!

Scratch Animation Code Example

Here’s a look at the code inside Chris’ Spooky Pumpkin animation. The different color pieces all do different things. Blue pieces change how the pumpkin moves and purple pieces change what the pumpkin looks like. The yellow and orange pieces affect how and when the code commands happen - kind of like when you play Simon Says, you listen for “Simon says…”, right?

We love Scratch because it brings STEM concepts together with an artistic outlet. Using math variables to make a movie? You bet! Whether you think of yourself as an artsy person or a math-y, science-y person, Scratch is a fantastic lab for trying new things and learning through relaxed, creative play.

Have questions? Call, text, or email Ask-a-Librarian. We are here to help you find what you need and make the most of Library resources. You may also call Central Library at 317-275-4100 to speak with a Learning Curve specialist about the Library’s children’s and teen materials and programs.

This guest blog post was contributed by Lucy Wortham, a Youth Multimedia Learning Specialist in The Learning Curve at the Central Library. When she’s not at the library, she loves to cook. She’s been very into making dumplings for the last couple of years - why not try making potstickers for your next family dinner or date night?

Coding with Scratch is Fun!

Are the kids in your life eager to make their own video games and animations? Scratch, a free, web-based, drag-n-drop coding environment, makes it easy for kids to code. The books in this list can help spark imagination and build coding skills.

Coding for Kids Scratch

Learn Coding Skills, Create 10 Fun Games, and Master Scratch

Highland, Matthew

This colorful illustrated guidebook offers clear instructions to get kids up and running quickly building games like Scuba Adventure, Dino Hunt, Space Jumper, and more.

The Everything Kids' Scratch Coding Book

Learn to Code and Create your Own Cool Games!

Rukman, Jason

The Everything Kids' Scratch Coding Book provides a thorough tour of the Scratch programming environment. Each chapter explores a different part of Scratch and wraps up with a fun activity, so you can dive in and enjoy what you're learning.

Make your Own Scratch Games!

Anthropy, Anna

Make your Own Scratch Games! includes Leaf Me Alone!: Scratch Basics, Weird Bug Chowdown: Collecting Items and Avoiding Obstacles, Hatlight: A Cave Exploring Platform Game, along with chapters about designing levels, creating sound effects and where to go from here. This useful guide doesn't just tell you how to build games, it helps you understand what you're designing and how to organize your code. Also available as an eBook on Axis 360.