Tranforming the real with the digital

Create a world and give life to characters using everyday materials and Scratch.

In this activity, you can design a world and inhabit it with characters constructed from simple materials and images made with a mobile phone, a tablet or a computer camera. 

These characters can interact and enter into a playful dimension thanks to the possibilities of Scratch. The children’s research will offer ideas and elements that enrich the activities, exploring and playing on the border between the real and the virtual.

This activity was developed starting from the Scratch online platform designed by LifeLong Kindergarten at MIT Media Lab (Boston) , which scintillae has been in dialogue with since it opened.
For those unfamiliar with Scratch:

The continuous interaction and exchange created between the real and the virtual worlds emphasize an idea of the digital that is not alienating, but one which favors and supports the relationship between the child and the surrounding world. The interconnection between different fields of knowledge and school subjects becomes fundamental and generative in the creation of new knowledge and in promoting and supporting the research processes of children.


children aged 6 / 14


computer connected to the Internet, webcam, tablet or mobile phone (optional)


creative/artistic expression, problem solving

from designing to sharing

  This section is a guide for adults to orient and support children’s and young people’s projects. The children’s hypotheses, starting from some initial questions, will be verified and deepened during the activity.

 Questions to start with:

What features does your sprite have, and what other materials could you use to represent it?
Can you use even just a detail of an object you have around you?
Are there materials around you that suggest new ideas?
What difficulties did you encounter? What strategies did you use to solve them?
Why did you choose that particular material?
How can you make your project more usable and useful to your friends?
What are the best ways to make your project more usable and useful to your friends?


You can decide whether offer students an environment designed by the scintillae team. This is intended to be a starting point for generating student questions and ideas that will be the basis for their learning and research experience.

Use this link to see a sample project using Scratch: “Create your sprite”, to share with your students. The sprite was created with some materials available, photographed and then imported into Scratch.

Invite your students to explore the sprite using             <costumes>.

To start creating their own worlds from the scintillae team project, ask your students to use the < remix > function, which will automatically create a copy in their Scratch account. They can then edit or add to it, to continue their research.




→ Encourage your students to imagine a character, called a sprite, and their world. Perhaps you can be inspired by something the class is studying: Ancient Egypt, the planets, robots, multiplication tables, etc.


→ Ask your students to design a project, choosing the identity of their sprite and its world, and to think about what materials they need to create them.



→ Suggest the students look for and choose materials and objects they can find around the house to realize their project (LEGO or other construction materials, fabric, buttons, leaves, yarn and thread, different kinds of paper, etc.).


→ Create a class account and invite the students to create individual accounts on Scratch.

Teachers can create and manage a class account:

Otherwise, each person – adult or child – must have their own account on the Scratch platform. It can be created here:


→ This tutorial shows you how to import characters and their worlds in Scratch.

> view the tutorial
> download the tutorial


→ Collect your students’ projects in your Scratch Educator/Teacher account, or save them/ask the students to save them as images on the educational exchange platform already being used (ex. Google Classroom).

→ Invite the students to explore each other’s projects, either saved in the class account, or searching for them in the Scratch community.

how to continue the project

→ Using Scratch, students will be able to continue working on their own worlds, enriching them with drawings, photos or elements from other projects.

 Scratch allows students to collect their favorite elements also from other projects through the tool < Backpack > to use whenever they want, as many times as they want.

Through the exchange platform already being used (Google Classroom, Moodle, etc.), you will be able to add further comments, reflections or proposals.

With the addition of coding, the student’s creative possibilities will be greatly expanded, allowing thecharacters to come to life and interact with the real world. (> see the activity: Bodies in motion between the real and the virtual)

Remember that experimenting with the more technical aspects is not an end in itself, but can offer students new possibilities to imagine and generate new ideas.