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Best Courses Guides

8 Best Scratch Courses for 2024: From Blocks to Code

Here is a guide with the best self-paced online courses to learn Scratch for beginners and non-programmers. Learn how to program by dragging and dropping blocks!

In this Best Courses Guide (BCG), I’ve picked the best online courses to learn Scratch, a high-level visual programming language. Instead of writing text, you drag and drop blocks that fit together like puzzles to code. This ease of use allows kids, teens, and non-programmers to dip their toes into programming. Scratch also has an active community full of learners who share their creations to the world. All of the courses are beginner-friendly!

Click on the shortcuts for more details:

Here are our top picks

What is Scratch?

Scratch is a high-level visual programming language created by MIT to introduce kids, teens, and non-programmers to the wondrous world of programming. Being a block-based language where you can drag and drop code together like puzzle pieces instead of writing and memorizing text commands, it is significantly easier for anyone to learn and play with the language. The Scratch interface itself is also easy to navigate and contains a lot of tools including animation and sound which are often harder to implement in other languages.

But what makes Scratch even greater is its amazing community. You can find and play other people’s creations on the official Scratch website, and it is easy to share your own creation with others. You can find a lot of support and inspiration just from taking a look at other people’s projects.

BCG Stats

  • All of the courses are free or free-to-audit
  • All of the courses are beginner-friendly, that means no programming experience required!
  • Also, most of these courses can be taken by kids or teenagers
  • All of the courses in this ranking use the latest version of Scratch, Scratch 3.0
  • Around 2K people follow Scratch Courses on Class Central.

Best Course to Learn Programming Fundamentals With Free Certificate (Harvard University)

My #1 pick for the best Scratch course has to be CS50’s Introduction to Programming with Scratch by Harvard University.

This free course with a free certificate is designed for students with no prior experience with programming. You’ll learn the fundamentals of programming and computational thinking, whose concepts will transfer over to every other programming language you’ll learn throughout your career. Among the things you’ll build are visual stories, animations, interactive art, and even games! Watch the lecture videos, read the notes, and work on the projects. You’ll be awarded a free unverified certificate of completion, or can pay for a verified certificate, if you score at least 70% on each project.

What you’ll learn:

  • You’ll be introduced  to sprites as character images on the screen, then make them dynamic by using functions to instruct them to speak, move, and respond to events such as mouse clicks
  • Variables allow the program to remember information, so you can give the program your name and have the sprite greet you
  • You can also have the program perform computations and make decisions based on the value with conditionals and loops, which means you can express what you want your program to do even better!
  • Think computationally starting with abstraction, which is simplifying concepts by hiding complexity. Abstractions allow you to keep track of what is going on without getting lost in the details
  • Learn how to approach building big projects from scratch (in Scratch).

David J. Malan has been teaching CS50 since 2007, first on-campus at Harvard, then also on edX since 2012. Brian Yu is a Software Engineer at Automattic. He works alongside David to deliver the best programming educational experience.

Institution Harvard University
Provider edX
Instructors David J. Malan and Brian Yu
Level Beginner
Workload 6–18 hours
Enrollments 163K
Certificate Free and Paid

Best Introduction to Programming for Complete Beginners (University of Edinburgh)

Code Yourself! An Introduction to Programming is a free-to-audit course, a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and Universidad ORT Uruguay. It  introduces beginners with no programming experience to the fundamental principles of programming, computer science, and computational thinking. By the time you finish this course, you’ll be able to think like a software engineer ready to embark on more advanced programming adventures. The lecture videos are accompanied by code examples and in-video pop-up questions. Optional interviews with computer experts and professionals in other fields are included. You’ll gain theoretical knowledge from answering the quizzes and practical knowledge from completing two peer-graded programming projects.

This course can be taken by both adults and teens and although you need to pay to receive a certificate, graded items are free.

You will:

  • Create your very first computer program after being introduced to a few computer science concepts: algorithms, sequences, selections, and iterations, all of which you’ll use later on
  • Learn how to use control-structures including loops that allow you to repeat blocks of code, conditionals that allow the program to choose between two blocks of code, and event-based programming for reacting to user events
  • Learn about software engineering principles for designing software
  • In the real world, you’ll most likely work on code others have already written rather than write your own from scratch. Learn how to modify code while maintaining good practice of testing and documenting
  • See why code reuse is useful and how modularity and flexibility makes code much neater
  • Create and publish your own game
  • Use software development principles to guide your process, and learn more advanced programming concepts coordination, concurrency and message broadcasting, and computational complexity.

It is also available in Spanish in collaboration with Universidad ORT Uruguay.

Institutions University of Edinburgh and Universidad ORT Uruguay
Provider Coursera
Instructors Areti Manataki and Inés Friss de Kereki
Level Beginner
Workload 12 hours
Enrollments 391K
Rating 4.7 / 5.0 (3K)
Certificate Paid

Best Course for Teachers to Learn Coding and Teach Scratch (The University of Chicago)

Are you an elementary or middle-school teacher, or a parent looking to introduce coding to children in grades 5-8, but don’t have programming skills? Teaching Coding in Grades 5-8 with Scratch Encore is for you! It’s free to audit and beginner-friendly, requiring no prior knowledge of coding or the Scratch programming environment. The University of Chicago has crafted this course to achieve three primary objectives: to teach Scratch, to impart effective pedagogical methods for teaching coding with Scratch, and to familiarize you with the Scratch Encore curriculum. You’ll learn both as a student of Scratch and as an educator, gaining hands-on experience with the curriculum that starts with basic programming concepts and progresses to more complex topics.

What you’ll learn:

  • The basics of Scratch, including the development environment, sequences, events, and basic loops
  • Intermediate programming concepts such as intermediate loops and synchronization
  • Classroom management skills specific to teaching Scratch: setting up student classrooms and studios, and grading assignments
  • Pedagogical strategies for teaching coding effectively using Scratch
  • Confidence to teach Scratch with the Scratch Encore curriculum or to guide students in independent projects.

This course ensures that by the end, you’ll be well-equipped to teach coding to young learners using Scratch, whether you follow the Scratch Encore curriculum or prefer to embark on different projects.

Institution The University of Chicago
Provider edX
Instructors Diana Franklin and Jen Palmer
Level Beginner
Workload 12-24 hours
Certificate Paid

Best Course to Create a Game in Scratch (Fuelvin)

So, you’re a beginner, or perhaps you already know some Scratch programming but are unaware of how to actually practice and use it. Well, look no further than Fuelvin’s free tutorial on How to Make a Tower Defense Game in Scratch. By the end of the tutorial, you’ll have a solid grasp of Scratch programming concepts needed for the game. You’ll have a fun tower defense game that you can improve upon and share with your friends. This course can be taken by both adults and children.

You’ll learn how to include:

  • Enemies that follow a custom path
  • Turrets that can be purchased and placed on the map
  • Several types of turrets that aim and shoot at enemies
  • Multiple enemy types with different health and move speed
  • Enemy health bars using pen
  • Shop that displays the turrets and turret descriptions
  • Enemy wave system, cash, player lives, and a lose screen
  • Custom and infinite waves with increasingly stronger and faster enemies.

Fuelvin posts in-depth Scratch tutorials for both beginner and advanced Scratchers. He has experience creating mobile games, having published two games called Flingy Fruit and The Last Chicken on Earth. You can join his Discord community here.

Channel Fuelvin
Provider YouTube
Level Beginner
Views >606K
Workload 5 hours
Certificate Not available

Best Game Development Course Designed for Kids (Little Apple Academy)

5 Projects In 5 Days – Scratch Game Programming For Kids is a free beginner-level game development course designed for kids aged 8 and over, with no programming experience. You’ll learn the basics of game development through fun, interactive hands-on projects. By the end of this course, you’ll have made five games to add to your portfolio, by watching the course videos and following along as the instructor codes the games. Harita and Sharada are the co-founders of Little Apple Academy, a non-profit organization that teaches free online coding classes to kids. They’ve been featured by PBS, Code(.)org, and Scratch.

What you’ll learn:

  • Your first project is Graffiti with Gobo, where you’ll learn how to place multicolored stickers of Gobo, a fish, on screen so that you can draw anything you want.
  • In Fortune Fish, you’ll turn Gobo into a fortune teller. Give it a yes or no question, and he’ll tell you what the future holds.
  • For Taco Chase, you’ll control a mouse whose goal is to grab all the tacos while avoiding nasty batts.
  • Berry Bounce will have you create a game where you need to catch all the strawberries falling from the sky and prevent them from touching the ground.
  • And in the final game, Battle At Bay, you’ll make a game where a shark must defend itself against jellyfish by shooting pufferfish at them.

Harita and Sharada are also the creators of 5 Projects In 5 Days – HTML, CSS, and JavaScript For Kids on Udemy.

Institution Little Apple Academy
Provider Udemy
Instructors Harita Suresh and Sharada Suresh
Level Beginner
Workload 1–2 hours
Enrollments 2.3K
Rating 4.3 / 5.0 (70)
Certificate Not available

Best Project-Based Scratch Tutorial (Starcoder)

Scratch 3.0 Tutorial covers the basics of Scratch programming through three Scratch projects — animating cats, creating a maze game, and remaking the classic game Pong.

Anyone who wants to learn programming can take this course, no prior knowledge required! You’ll learn by watching the course videos and following along with the instructor as she codes. Short quizzes will test your knowledge, and you’ll also have the opportunity to share your creations with other learners.

In this course:

  • You’re introduced to the common blocks and concepts you’ll need to use in projects, then quickly jump into the first project so you’ll learn by doing
  • Move the Cat introduces you to user interaction, animating sprites, and making sprites move across the screen
  • The second project will let you create your first game: navigating a maze. Learn about event-driven programming and specify a win condition if your sprite manages to get to the exit, and a loss condition if your sprite touches the walls of the maze
  • In the third and final project, you will recreate the classic Pong game. Much more in-depth, you’ll use all of the concepts you’ve learned so far (as well as learn some new ones) to create a fun game of Pong.

CS Kitty is a student interested in programming, mathematics, physics, reading, and writing, who started Project Starcoder in 2019 to host her coding tutorial videos and writings. She also has a free Udemy course on Python.

Institution Starcoder
Provider Udemy
Instructor CS Kitty
Level Beginner
Workload 1–2 hours
Enrollments 5K
Rating 4.8 / 5.0 (239)
Certificate Not available

The Ultimate 2022 Scratch Programming Course is designed for kids and non-programmers who think programming is difficult.

Naveed Chaudhry is a software developer who is passionate about providing computer literacy to kids from a very young age. You’ll be introduced to the world of programming by creating fun animations in Scratch. You’ll learn programming concepts that’ll appear in every other programming language, so by the end of this course you’ll be prepared to learn more complex programming languages such as Java, Python, and C#. You’ll learn by watching the lecture videos, completing the programming challenges, and by hands-on practice making animations.

In this course, you will:

  • Become familiar with the Scratch interface, then discover the different code blocks within Scratch that allow you to animate characters on screen
  • Learn simple programming challenges to prepare you for event driven programming
  • Event driven programming makes your animations interactive by allowing them to respond to user or environmental interactions. You’ll change cats and parrots to look like they are walking or flying, and even make them meow and chirp!
  • Now that you have mastered animating, you’ll take your first steps towards mastering game development. Recreate the classic game of Pong by using blocks you’ve learned throughout the course.

A free partial version of this course is available on YouTube.

Provider Udemy
Instructor Naveed Chaudhry
Level Beginner
Workload 3-4 hours
Enrollments 1.6K
Rating 4.3 / 5.0 (44)
Certificate Paid

Why You Should Trust Us

Class Central, a Tripadvisor for online education, has helped 60 million learners find their next course. We’ve been combing through online education for more than a decade to aggregate a catalog of 200,000 online courses and 200,000 reviews written by our users. And we’re online learners ourselves: combined, the Class Central team has completed over 400 online courses, including online degrees.

Best Courses Guides (BCG) Methodology

I built this ranking following the now tried-and-tested methodology used in previous Best Courses Guides (you can find them all here). It involves a three-step process:

  1. Research: I (Elham) started by leveraging Class Central’s Catalog and the internet to find a variety of free and paid open courses, some with certificates
  2. Evaluate: I read through reviews on Class Central, Reddit, and course providers to understand what other learners thought about each course and combined it with my own experience as a learner. I examined courses and instructors that covered a range of presentation styles, including the basics and more advanced topics. I watched some course videos to sample courses I hadn’t already taken
  3. Select: Well-made courses were picked if they presented valuable and engaging content and fit criteria including comprehensive curriculum, affordability, ratings and enrollments. Ultimately, I used a combination of data and my own judgment to make these picks. I’m confident these recommendations will be a reliable way to learn Scratch.

Pat revised the research and the latest version of this article.

Best Courses Guides. Start Learning, Stop Procrastinating.

Elham Nazif Profile Image

Elham Nazif

Part-time content writer, full-time computer science student.
Pat Bowden Profile Image

Pat Bowden

Online learning specialist, still learning after 200+ online courses completed since 2012. Class Central customer support and help since 2018. I am keen to help others make the most of online learning, so I set up a website:  www.onlinelearningsuccess.org

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