Oakland's video game museum, the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) has 10am to 11:30am Saturday morning game programming classes for kids. No previous experience is needed. Kids use the free Scratch programming tool (which you can check out at https://scratch.mit.edu ) to create a simple game project. The minimum participation age is 9, and the usual age range is 10 to 15 years old.
More info here: https://themade.org/scratch
The class is free but seating is limited to 15 students. Please register before attending.
* * What is Scratch? * *
Scratch is a free programming environment from MIT especially design for kids. It runs in your browser: just go to https://scratch.mit.edu. (While Scratch runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, it requires Flash, so it will not run on phones or tablets.)
By snapping together code blocks, kids can make games, cartoons, or science simulations. This design makes Scratch a great choice for learning how to program.
* * Do we need programming or math experience for the workshop? * *
No experience is required. In each workshop we go through, step by step, making a simple video game project. We work on a different project every Saturday, so your child can drop in as often as they're available.
It's a common misconception that programming requires being good at math. Your child will only need to be familiar with addition, subtraction, and possibly multiplication and division. Being familiar with Cartesian coordinates (X and Y coordinates) is helpful but not required.
* * What is the age range for the class? * *
The minimum age is 9. Participants are usually between 10 and 15.
* * Can I sit with my child during the workshop? * *
Yes, if there is room. If your child is younger or might not have the confidence to attend on their own, you can sit next to them and follow along with the projects yourself. You can learn at the workshop and help them at home. Parents are also welcome to wait in the lobby outside the classroom and use the museum's WiFi. If the class is crowded, kids will get priority for classroom seats over parents.
* * Where can I park? * *
There is metered parking on Broadway (in front of the museum) and Piedmont (in the back). Street parking is free on Sundays.
* * Should I sign up for a Scratch account? * *
You can, but it is not required. It is free to sign up on the https://scratch.mit.edu site. It only requires an email address. Signing up for an account makes it easy for your child to continue working on their projects at home after the workshop.
* * Do I need to bring a laptop? * *
No, we have computers for students to use. But bringing your own computer would let your child easily continue working on their projects at home.
* * How can I download my child's games on our home computer? * *
At the end of each workshop, if students don't have a Scratch account they can save to the MADE's Scratch account. All projects will be available shortly after each workshop at this web site:
Under the "Shared Projects" area, find your child's project and click on it. Then click "See Inside" to view the code editor for the project.
If you have a Scratch account, you can click on the Remix button at the top-right of the editor to copy the project to your Scratch account.
If you install the Offline Scratch Editor, in the browser-based editor click on File > Download To Your Computer to download the project file. (The file name will end with .sb2) Then in the Offline Scratch Editor, you can open this .sb2 file to continue working on it.
* * Where can I find other resources for learning Scratch? * *
There are some beginner videos available at https://scratch.mit.edu/help/videos/
Our instructors have also made video tutorials of the same game projects we do in the workshop at https://inventwithscratch.com.
About the MADE:
The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (The MADE), is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) video game museum located in Oakland, California. We focus on the preservation of our digital heritage through playable exhibits of significant works, and inspiring the next generation of game developers through free classes, events and meetups on software development, art, audio design, and other topics.
Address: 3400 Broadway, Oakland, CA