February 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Hopscotch App Introduces Kids to Block Programming | SLJ Review

Get the latest SLJ reviews every month, subscribe today and save up to 35%.

Hopscotch-app-OpenerSpell your name with emoji. Draw a snowflake. Create an Angry Birds game. Download Hopscotch and start coding these and other projects in minutes.

Create, play, remix

Hopscotch is a block-programming app that teaches elementary and middle school students coding concepts through the design and creation of games.

The app home page features hundreds of games created by Hopscotchers. A simple interface allows users to search for and play games and create and publish games, animations, and art projects.

Clicking the plus sign in the iPad app opens the creation menu which offers more than 40 project ideas. Embedded video tutorials in each project guide students through the sequence and logic of creating code to complete a task. For example, in the Snowflake project, the tutorial explains how a snowflake can be created through a series of commands. Users are then guided step-by-step through the process of dragging and dropping commands in the block-programming editor. Explanations of what each command will do help users understand concepts such as values, loops, and events. Students new to programming will gain foundational coding skills as they create projects using the guidance of the videos. Even students familiar with block programming can gain a better understanding of the logic involved in coding through the use of Hopscotch.

While the video tutorials are well-made and helpful, the options in the command menus do not always match the commands mentioned in the videos. For example, a video might tell the user to select the “Leave a trail” block, but the block available is “Draw a trail.” Students new to coding might find this small discrepancy confusing or misleading.


Hopscotch is available for iPad and iPhone and is free to download with in-app purchases. The Hopscotch for Schools app (iPad only) is $9.99 and allows teachers to create class groups, providing a level of privacy for publishing and sharing.

The iPhone app, which previously allowed only Hopscotchers to play games, has recently been updated with the added capability of creating projects directly on the iPhone. While the interface is similar to the iPad app, notably missing is the menu of project suggestions and in-app video tutorials. Without the videos, students unfamiliar with Hopscotch and block programming might need additional guidance and help to create projects in the iPhone app.


Educators looking for a beginner coding app should add Hopscotch to their toolbox. Hopscotch’s YouTube channel includes dozens of tutorial videos, while an activity guide and curriculum help teachers incorporate fundamental concepts and terminology into computer science lessons. With an easy-to-use interface and limitless possibilities for game and animation creation, Hopscotch provides a foundation for students to develop coding skills.

About Jennifer Hanson

Jennifer Hanson is director of library services at Worcester Academy in Massachusetts.

Diversity and Cultural Competency Training: Collections & RA

Do you want to ensure that your library’s collections are diverse, equitable, inclusive, and well-read?

Do you want to become a more culturally literate librarian and a more effective advocate for your community?

We've developed a foundational online course—with live sessions on February 28 & March 14—that will explore key concepts essential to cultivating and promoting inclusive and equitable collections.
Facts Matter: Information Literacy for the Real World
Libraries and news organizations are joining forces in a variety of ways to promote news literacy, create innovative community programming, and help patrons/students identify misinformation. This online course will teach you how to partner with local news organizations to promote news literacy through a range of programs—including a citizen journalism hub at your library.