Scratch Programming Playground

Scratch Programming Playground

Learn to Program by Making Cool Games
by Al Sweigart
September 2016, 288 pp.
Full Color

Scratch Programming Playground, 2nd Edition (Scratch 3) Coming Soon!

“An impressive manual for achieving Scratch programming mastery and creating genuinely entertaining games.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Al Sweigart has really nailed a kids oriented programming book better than I’ve seen done before, and I’ve seen them all.”
Science Blogs

“Teachers and parents will find this a 5-star reference.”
—Jim Kelly, GeekDad

Geeky LEGO Crafts Tetris

Scratch, the colorful drag-and-drop programming language, is used by millions of first-time learners, and in Scratch Programming Playground, you’ll learn to program by making cool games. Get ready to destroy asteroids, shoot hoops, and slice and dice fruit!

Each game includes easy-to-follow instructions, review questions, and creative coding challenges to make the game your own. Want to add more levels or a cheat code? No problem, just write some code.

You’ll learn to make games like:

  • Maze Runner: escape the maze!
  • Snaaaaaake: gobble apples and avoid your own tail
  • Asteroid Breaker: smash space rocks
  • Fruit Slicer: a Fruit Ninja clone
  • Brick Breaker: a remake of Breakout, the brick-breaking classic
  • Platformer: a game inspired by Super Mario Bros.

Learning how to program shouldn’t be dry and dreary. With Scratch Programming Playground, you’ll make a game of it!

Uses Scratch 2

Author Bio 

Al Sweigart is a software developer who teaches programming to kids and adults. He has written several best-selling Python books for beginners, including Automate the Boring Stuff with Python, also from No Starch Press.

Table of contents 


Chapter 1: Getting Started with Scratch

Learn how to join the Scratch community and use the Scratch editor.

Chapter 2: Rainbow Lines in Space!

In this chapter you’ll create an animated art project using basic code blocks and several sprites working together. You’ll also learn about directions and degrees.

  ☞ Play it now!

Chapter 3: Maze Runner

Can you escape the maze? Control the cat with the keyboard and guide it through eight different levels.

  ☞ Play it now!

Chapter 4: Shooting Hoops with Gravity

Learn how to make a basketball game that implements realistic gravity.

  ☞ Play it now!

Chapter 5: A Polished Brick Breaker Game

Take a plain brick breaker game and turn it into a polished, exciting game with animations, sound effects, and more.

  ☞ Play it now!

Chapter 6: Snaaaaaake!

This chapter features the classic computer game in which the player guides an ever-growing snake around the screen. It explains how to use Scratch’s sprite cloning feature to make the stretching snake body.

  ☞ Play it now!

Chapter 7: Fruit Slicer

Make a clone of the hit smartphone game Fruit Ninja! In this version, the player will slice fruit in mid-air using the mouse.

  ☞ Play it now!

Chapter 8: Asteroid Breaker . . . in Space!

This chapter features a clone of the classic space shooter Asteroids. You’ll add mouse and keyboard controls to the spaceship.

  ☞ Play it now!

Chapter 9: Making an Advanced Platformer

Pulling together many of the concepts used in previous chapters, this chapter explains how to create a platformer game with walking and jumping animations, platforms, and AI controlled enemies.

  ☞ Play it now!

View the detailed Table of Contents (PDF)
View the Index (PDF)


Featured in The MagPi

One of's "Hot open source books" of 2016!

“I’m quite impressed with exactly how much of the Scratch programming tool the reader will have used and learned by the end of the book, and I think teachers and parents will find this a 5-star reference.”
—Jim Kelly, GeekDad

Featured in Help Kids Code

“This book is absolutely essential for the beginner game maker as well as those that actually know what they're doing! It is the kind of book that will cause fights when students come across it on the shelves of a school library.”
The School Librarian

“If you are looking for the next thing for your Minecraft-loving kids and haven’t tried Scratch, the Scratch Programming Playground book is a great guide to teach kids how to program by making cool games.”
Tech Savvy Mama

"My son was able to successfully complete each game he attempted. And along the way, he gained some excellent programming skills. I also really appreciated the character lessons he learned (patience and perseverance, not to mention goal-setting). These were a great by-product of Scratch game programming!"
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

“Overall, the book is well written, full of humor and puns, and the explanations of how things work are good.”
I Programmer

Featured in On Computers

“There are tons of full-color visuals and step-by-step breakdowns that will have kids programming in no time. I buy No Starch books for my libraries all the time – they’re great to have on hand.”
Rosemary Kiladitis, children's librarian

“Full-color screenshots on virtually every page and an index enrich this reader-friendly, hands-on guide, highly recommended for programming novices of any age who want to make games, have fun, and learn simple coding!”
—Midwest Book Review

“This book gave [the kids] some direction. They could get the programs working
and then spent time modifying the code to do additional things.”
—J. Ben Schafer, Associate Professor at University of Northern Iowa


Page 59

The "Save Point" text should read:

Click the green flag to test the code so far. Try moving both players using the arrow keys and the WASD keys. Check that both can walk over the traps without problem when the spikes are retracted, but that they say "Ouch!" if the spikes are out. Remember to check that this happens for both players. Click the red stop sign and save your program.