Brought to you by Carolyn Qu, Instructor at Create & Learn

Looking for ways to make your child’s Scratch projects more advanced? Are you curious about how to create advanced games and animations in Scratch? Once your child has mastered the basics of coding with Scratch, you might notice that there are plenty of other blocks to explore! Even if you’re not familiar with Scratch yourself, you can support your child’s coding practice by familiarizing yourself with some of the more complex code blocks in Scratch. If you are just getting started with coding, be sure to check out our post “How do I Learn Scratch? Coding with Scratch for Kids, Explained,” where we describe what Scratch is and how to code in Scratch.

Intermediate Scratch Coding Blocks

Many of the more complex code blocks create more opportunities to bring your child’s sprite to life with costumes, motion, and control, while simultaneously fostering computational and mathematical thinking. Concepts like the coordinate system, conditional statements, and variables are all inherently embedded in the process while your child explores and experiments with code. Here are a few highlights for designing, controlling, and animating with Scratch.

Designing with Looks: How to Use Costumes

The “costumes” in sprite are different appearances that your child can choose to have for the sprite. Changing costumes in Scratch can create an animation, change the sprite’s pose, or give it different clothing. Access and edit the costumes by clicking on the “costumes” tab at the top left. There are also code blocks for the costumes, which can be found in the looks

section. Try giving your child challenges to create different poses or clothes for their sprite.

Costume Blocks

Types of Commands

Switch: These blocks allow you to switch between the sprite’s costumes. 


How to Hide Your Sprite

The show/hide blocks allow a sprite to appear and disappear on the stage. This can also be controlled in the “sprites” section of the screen, by clicking on the “eye” icons. Try having your child show/hide a sprite in the time it takes you to close your eyes and count to five.

Hide/Show Blocks

types of Commands

Show your sprite on the stage

Hide your sprite on the stage


How to Create Motion: X & Y Coordinates

Some of the blocks refer to “x” and “y,” which shows the position of the sprite on a coordinate grid. The x value runs from left and right, while the y value runs up and down. Challenge your child to move their sprite to different locations on the coordinate grid.

Motion Blocks

Types of Motion Commands 

Go To: This block allows you to set the x and y position of your sprite through code. This can also be done in the “sprite” section, next to the sprite’s name. 

Glide: This allows your sprite to move smoothly to the x and y position you choose

Change By: These blocks allow you to edit the x and y positions. They use the current location and adjust the x or y position based on where it already is. 

Set: These blocks allow you to edit the x and y positions. They allow you to set a value between -240 and 240. 

Position: These blocks allow you to access the x and y position of the sprite. 


Building Logical Thinking Skills with Scratch Coding

Using Scratch helps your child to develop an understanding of coding, but it also helps them to build logical thinking skills. Let’s look at how using different blocks can help your child to experiment and develop these key skills.

How to Control with Conditionals

Conditionals allow you to run a certain piece of code if something happens during the project. The conditional block has a diamond shaped hole; we can fill this with a sensing block. Encourage your child to experiment with using different conditionals.

Block

What it means

The “if… then…” block is called a conditional. It allows us to run a piece or chunk of code when a condition is met.

Sensing: These blocks allow us to “detect” when something happens, like when a key is being pressed, or when a sprite is touching another sprite. 

How to Use Variables

Variables in computer science are like a box, they hold values. With variables, you can change the value, name the value, and refer to the value.  In Scratch, variables hold numbers. They can be used for a score, size, player number, or anything else you want! To create a variable, click on the “Make a Variable” button,give it a name, and click “OK!” Challenge your child to create and change variables, noting what happens.

Block

What it means

This block allows you to set the number in the variable to whatever you want.

This block allows you to increase the number in the variable

These blocks allow you to show or hide the variable on the stage. This can also be done by clicking/unclicking the blue checkbox. 


This block allows you to refer to the value in the variable

Advanced Scratch Coding Blocks

What’s Cloning?

Clones allow you to easily make a copy of the sprite. There are 3 blocks for cloning: they are found at the bottom of the “control” section.

Block

What it means

This block allows you to create a clone. 

This block allows you to write code for a clone

This block allows you to remove a clone 

(Note: the clone will show up on top of the original, so make sure you move the clone!)

How to Code with Extensions
The extensions allow you to add even more special code. Some of the extensions include a pen, text to speech, and music. To add an extension, click on the button at the bottom of the code, and select the extension you want to add. A brand new section of code will appear!


  • Messaging: The messaging blocks allow your sprites to communicate with each other in code. Messaging is used to start running code in other sprites.

Block

What it means

These blocks allow you to broadcast a message to other sprites. Use the dropdown menu to name the message (each message must have its own name! 

This block allows you to run a chunk of code once a message had been received

  • Sensing: Sensing blocks allow you to interact with your project! We already have used some of the sensing blocks to create conditionals.

Block

What it means

These blocks allow you to ask the player a question. It will prompt the user to type in an answer, which will be stored in the “answer” block. This block can be used later in the code

These blocks allow you to add a timer to your project. The timer begins counting once the green flag is clicked, and it can be reset with the “reset timer” block.

  • Lists: Lists are similar to variables, but they can hold multiple values. To create a list, click on the “Make a list” button in the variables section and give your list a name. You should see a list appear on your screen, as well as a brand new set of code!

Block

What it means

Add a value to the end of the list

Delete a value from the list

Insert a value in the list at “1”

Replace a value in the list

Refer to items in the list (the top block allows you to get the value based on the order, the second block allows you to get the order based on the value)

Does the Order of Scratch Coding Blocks Matter?

Your child has probably discovered that the order they write their code in matters. But to get different pieces of code to run at the same time, we can create separate chunk of code to run simultaneously. This is called parallelism, and it allows your code to do many things without getting stuck.

Sequential coding is when you put blocks together and they run one after the other. Maybe you want a sprite to say something while moving across the screen. To make your sprite perform these tasks at the same time, you want to code this separately under a “when green flag clicked.”

That’s it! Now you’ve got a foundation to help your child master some of the most challenging Scratch blocks! Looking to learn more about coding? Join our free introduction classes in Scratch, Minecraft, Data Science, Python, and more. Or check out all 16 courses we offer, from beginner to mastery, where every child can find topics they love.


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