Warning: This is an image/video heavy post. I wouldn’t recommend viewing it on data. Wait until you have a stable internet connection.

Because my final project is about coding, I decided to take some time to look at different coding apps. Also, because the coding I’ve been focused on it higher level, I wanted to try out some junior coding apps, which led me to ScratchJr and Hopscotch.


Hopscotch (2).png

I played around with ScratchJr more than Hopscotch, so I’ll review that one. (But this isn’t the last you’ll hear of Hopscotch…)

ScratchJr started out as a Kickstarter campaign in 2014, where it raised over $77K (which is incredible for a crowdsourced campaign).

Now, it’s available on mainstream sites like PBS as foundation educational tool. PBS offers different lesson plans for ScratchJr using their channel’s characters, like The Kratt Brothers.

ScratchJr is available on the App Store for iPads (recommended iOS 9+) and on Andriod tablets (Kit Kat or higher). It is only available for tablets, not for phones.

When you launch, you’ll notice the colourful interface immediately:


It is obvious this is geared toward a younger crowd through it’s primary subject matter (locations of animals, dealing with friends etc).

I went through the intro video in the app and got started “coding”:



What I noticed right away was the similarity to the Codeapillar, which started me on the whole coding journey.

Think   Learn Code a Pillar™   Shop Think and Learn Toys   Fisher Price.png

Both use direction arrows to get their character moving (caterpillar or cat). I think this could be a good feature for a preschooler moving into more advanced coding because it allows for familiarity with controls and commands.

Also, entering arrows instead of >>>print(“hello world”) commands was a huge shift. It struck me how diverse coding is.


My end result was a nonsense story about a cat, a chicken, and a grandpa having a fun day outside, playing. I wanted to try as many characters in a variety of strings of commands as I could while trying to maintain some coherence. It worked, for the most part.


  • ease of use
  • can be as difficult or as easy of a product as the user wants (to a point, obviously)
  • layout is easy to use
  • cheap (can’t get any cheaper than free!)


  • export — couldn’t figure out how to export my final product to another source (maybe it’s me? Is there a way to upload the video to Youtube from the app? Or email it as an mp4?)
  • once you’ve figured it out, the novelty wouldn’t last very long and kids may want to move onto something more complex quickly

Potential for the Classroom:

  • I can’t see why a teacher wouldn’t want to use this as a jumping off point for teaching primary students about coding. It’s free, easy to use with very little prior knowledge needed (the prior knowledge I do have about coding — i.e., Python, was not a help in figuring this out)
  • Using this is perfect timing as Hour of Code is December 4-10, 2017



6 thoughts on “ScratchJr

  1. Hey Kelsie! Thanks so much for this comprehensive review of Scratch Jr. I am so excited to give this a try now that I know a little more about it. This was one of the app’s that was pushed through on all of the Regina Public School’s Ipad’s. 🙂 My intern is doing some simple coding with my class using the site so I think this would be an awesome supplement for that. Love that it sounds pretty easy and…not going to lie, that free is pretty tempting too! Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s really cool! Are there other coding apps that were pushed through? We don’t get iPads in high schools 😦 I’d be really interested to see what’s being done in elementaries because there isn’t much done — at least where I am. It will be neat to see how coding becomes embedded as this cohort moves on!


  2. Hi Kelsie, great post. I have heard of scratch, but had not heard of scratch junior. It looks great. I also have a codeapiller so I love that you mentioned it. I am going to have to try out hopscotch as well. I love to collect kid friendly coding programs so thank you for this review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hopscotch looks a little bit geared for older kids than ScratchJr, but I think once they’ve figured out ScratchJr, Hopscotch wouldn’t be a problem. Both are engaging, brightly coloured, and easy to use


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