Scritchity Scritchity Scratch

Oh My….I didn’t know what a big can of worms I was opening by introducing the “Scratch” software to my son.  He is all over it, looking for ways to create the games he sees in his head.  His process is definitely different from mine…I go searching for code that looks similar to what I want and then edit it.  He takes a little fact from current code and edits the backgrounds and images to do what he wants as well as picking random code and seeing what it does when you click “go”.  He is such his father’s son!

We did wind up making a pretty good “Mario” game which works, but is still getting better.  One of the cool things he did was understand that the computer “recognizes” where Mario is because of a strip of grey pixels under his feet.  The code knows that when grey is next to green (the color of the platforms), Mario can “land” there.  He went into the Mario image and added grey pixels on Mario’s hands and now Mario can hang from the platforms as well  🙂  He also used the knowledge of “color next to color” to edit background scenes to add yellow “traps” that send you back to the beginning, orange “goals” which take you to the next scene, and red “traps” that block you.

My daughter is even able to do some of the editing, using the “Paint-type” software to change colors, add designs, get new images, etc.  I am amazed by the ease of use of this program!  I really thought we would need to wait until the kids were old enough to use Lego Mindstorms to have the ability to program.  This is even better.  You can immediately see the changes you make and it uses computer skills they already have…

Thank you MIT!


The kids stayed up with me tonight learning the basics of how to use “Scratch” to create computer animations and games.  My son is super excited to try to make a “Mario” game tomorrow complete with Bowser, mushrooms, and more… Thanks to this software, I think I might actually be able to help him do it!  It is really cool!  We edited a pre-made game tonight and it was easy to substitute different characters for the ones that were there and even to go into a paint-type program and change their designs. Basically there are little “control” blocks that you stick together (kinda like puzzle pieces) that contain the code.  You can click on the blocks to enter information like colors, timing, how many degrees to rotate something, what key you want to use for each command, etc.  You can also import your own images and sounds.

What Bug Is This?

This bug was found in the water left standing in the tub.

I wasn’t sure what it was, but really thought it wasn’t a centipede and said so. Then my son said it was and ran to his room, bringing back this model.

I had to “Google” it and felt super squirmy even looking at the pictures.  It is called a “house centipede”.  Thank goodness for the internet 🙂  And thanks to the website “What’s That Bug?“.


Some pics of the kids’ recent stuff.

Here is my daughter’s picture of the birds and the cat from the show “Peep”.

This is a book she made.  It shows a momma bird with her eggs in a nest, the momma bird going out to get a worm, the momma going back, and finally the momma feeding one of the newly hatched babies.

These are some of her watercolor paintings.

Here is her craft from last Monday. 

These are some of her marker drawings. 

Here is my son working on perler beads.

Here is his craft from Monday.

New Links on

I have continued weeding through my “favorites” links and have added some of the best to my website.  There were so many fantastic sites about individual areas of interest that I now have a new webpage devoted to school subjects:

I have also added a few more websites to the “Websites for Kids” page, some new games as well as gaming related links to the “Games” page, and a few other miscellaneous links.

In all, I managed to move more than 45 links from my favorites to my website 🙂

Homemade Bowling

The kids stacked up some toys to use for bowling, but some of them weren’t very good at tipping over- bowls and stuffed animals, for example. I mentioned that we had TP tubes hanging around and after trying one out, they decided to make all the pins out of them. An exercise ball made a great bowling ball and blue painter’s tape put easy lines on the carpet.  The wooden nutcrackers were for bonus points 🙂  My son had his dinosaur and kitty cat take turns bowling.