By Stephanie Prato
Director of Play to Learn Services
Fayetteville Free Library
At the Fayetteville Free Library (FFL) we are working to offer coding opportunities for all ages through the public library’s informal learning platform. We introduce young children to programming logic, we teach elementary and middle school children coding languages, and we support adults in skill building and career shifts. Normally we break up our participants by grade: kindergarten through second graders, third through fifth graders, teens, and adults. However, we recently decided to try a multi-age “Family Coding” program.
Family coding is advertised for parents and their children, and attendees have ranged from preschoolers to grandparents. For our first program, we chose to code using Scratch and we worked together to create interactive greeting cards. Each family was given one laptop to work with; some families had one parent and one child, and some brought brothers and sisters as well. While we were initially cautions about offering a program for such a large age range, it actually came together very nicely. Kids who had experience in our other coding programs helped siblings and parents with their code. Parents played referee to make sure kids were taking turns and provided guidance for the project, and everyone had a great time. Our program was scheduled for an hour, but many participants stayed beyond that time to add additional components to their cards.
It was a great introduction to Scratch for everyone, and a wonderful opportunity for parents to see what their kids are learning at the library.
Have you offered multi-generational coding programs at your library? How did it go?
For help planning a program around interactive greeting cards in Scratch, try the following resources:
Read this to formulate your lesson plan
Check out this handout
Use this tutorial
Remix this project