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Code a Grandparent Card in Scratch

Educators & parents: You can do this Hour of Code Activity as a class or students can work on it independently. If you have any questions or need help, email

One of the hardest things for many people about the COVID-19 pandemic is social isolation. Our elders and others who are at high-risk may be feeling very lonely because they have to stay away from others to avoid germs.

One great way technology can help during this challenging time is to help us connect with people even when we cannot see them in person. What are ways that you've connected with others using technology?

You can take it one step farther by using your computer science skills to bring joy to someone's life. Today we're going to code a card in Scratch: These instructions will have a lot of ideas / tips, but it's an open-ended project-- ultimately you are the card designer and programmer and your ideas are what will make the card special! Pick and choose what you like and add to and experiment as you wish.

You can choose who the card is for-- it can be for a grandparent, a teacher, a neighbor, a friend! All you need is a way to send them your project over email or text with the help of a grown-up. Think for a moment: who do you know who might be a little lonely or appreciate a boost of happiness today?

Once you decide, watch this video on how to get started.

In the video, we showed you how to upload a photo into a Scratch project. This works great if you have a photo of you and the person you're sending the card to. If you don't have a photo, you can upload any photo or image you think they would like! Does the person you're thinking of have a "happy place" you could put as the background of the project? A forest, the beach, your neighborhood park?

In the video, we coded the letters to change colors. If you want step-by-step instructions with more options on how to animate Letters as individual sprites, check out this video.

Another option is you can design your own image that you upload into Scratch. In the video below, we use the Make 8-bit art website. Another more advanced, still web-based option is Piskel.

Once you have your design, you can upload it as a sprite in Scratch and animate it any way you want! Check out the example below (Click on the Green Flag to start). And don't forget to write a special message to the person you're sending it to.

How will you make your Sprite move? There's more than 1 way. Check out the options under "Motion". You can see the code behind the example project here to get more ideas.

If you want to animate your Sprite, consider drawing different versions of your Sprite in Piskel. Then, you'll just need to use a Next costume block and combine with a loop. If you want step-by-step instructions on how to animate Pixel art using costumes, watch this video on designing it and this video on coding it.

However you decide to code your project, it will be filled with your love, care and attention. Your special person is sure to appreciate it!


If you want to go beyond one Hour of Code, check out our YouTube channel for more coding projects like these!