Blog - Roboto Coding Academy

Understanding The Difference Between Scratch and Python

child programming through scratch and python

Coding can be overwhelming if you don't know where to begin. A good place to start when it comes to sparking your child's interest in tech is learning the different starter coding languages for children. The learning process of coding is a journey, so don't worry about finding the perfect coding language, project, or fit right away! 

As a starting point, if coding languages for children such as Scratch or Python seem entirely foreign to you, fret not. In this article, we will help to demystify two of the most popular programming languages of today.

As part of our guide, we will frame the learning of Python and Scratch using each of these elements to help you ensure your child has a great first coding experience. We'll explain the key considerations and key points in a learning-centred way that avoids confusing jargon, so you can visualise the best option for your child.  

Complexity and Appeal

Compared to Scratch, Python is a much more complex language for kids to learn. For beginners, both Scratch and Python are great, with Scratch being block-based, making it an excellent introduction to coding for younger students, and Python being text-based and an excellent introduction for secondary students.

Project potential and applications

Scratch programming for kids

Students of all ages benefit greatly from project-based learning, so both coding languages have great potential. What's important is for you to talk about your child's goals and interests together. 

With Scratch programming for kids, students can produce amazing art and games, and their learning can be enhanced with hardware. Scratch is a great tool for children to create a character for a game, and kinesthetic learners can engage in robotics projects with Scratch. Besides offering many interdisciplinary possibilities, Scratch lets kids code their own story or song using simple drag-and-drop tools or block-based tools as well. 

On the other hand, Python offers a more sophisticated and virtually limitless scope for project development. The possibilities for learning are endless, especially since it's used for academic and professional purposes. Maybe your child is fascinated by the recent developments in artificial intelligence or enjoys playing video games. The Python programming language offers a wealth of subject matter to explore, from creating arcade games to more advanced courses that encompass complex algorithms, machine learning, and cryptography. 

It helps to have a discussion with your child about what their goals are and what they’re most excited to build. This will help to get them started with Scratch or Python.

Duration of project

Similarly, the amount of work associated with seeing a tangible result is significantly different between Python and Scratch. 

A student who enjoys logical puzzles and seeing how a topic can evolve will enjoy Python coding, especially if they have an analytical mind. Consider starting with something simple, such as hardware add-ons, if your child prefers visual or hands-on learning experiences. 

Concrete results are much faster to achieve with Scratch! Furthermore, learning the language is packed with lots of fun and exciting features to keep kids engaged - making programming much easier for kids to digest.

Which should my child learn first, Python or Scratch?

We recommend Scratch to primary school students as a great way to introduce them to programming, and it can give them the foundation to learn text-based programming with Python later on. 

In terms of a coding language for a child of secondary age, Python is one of the good starter languages depending on their goals. Remember that practice makes a programmer, so patience is necessary to follow through on more advanced projects.

Programming For Kids

Most parents are torn between Scratch programming or Python when it comes to introducing their kids to the world of coding, but the truth is that it depends. 

In this case, the primary determining factor is your child's age. For students starting out in primary school and younger, Scratch is ideal; for those in middle school and older, Python is the best choice. 

With Scratch, kids can learn about coding in an engaging, colourful way that's perfect for little ones. The simple drag-and-drop tools make it easy for kids to see the results of their work quickly. Interacting with fun characters and creating block-based programs will keep them entertained as well. 

In contrast, Python provides a fascinating glimpse into how the pros create the world's most fascinating tech - think of self-driving cars, social media platforms, and more. Cool connections like that, plus the possibility of an exciting career in programming, may motivate older children to learn programming. 

Register today for a free trial if you're interested in teaching your kids to code! Get in touch with our team to find out more about our coding classes.