Are you into computers and technology? Do you have an interest in Video Games or Apps? Have you ever wondered where to get started? Discover the basic elements of programming within Scratch, Google CS First, and other visual Programming Language (VPL) environments. Learn fundamental concepts about sequence, iteration, conditionals, variables, modularization, and interfacing with external hardware. This project will guide you through the basics of making your first real program!

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Exploring 4-H

Exploring 4-H Computer Science Visual-Based Spark Activity: Animate a Name

Go to: for a 1-hour Spark activity called Animate a Name. Using Google’s CS First Platform and Scratch you will design, code, and animate your name (or other word) like the popular Google Doodles that appear on Google’s homepage daily.

4-H Project Levels and Goals
  • Create a simple program using Scratch (or other simple graphic programming language); include 8 different commands including looping and getting input from the keyboard and mouse
  • Create a program using Scratch (or other simple graphic programming) that has been downloaded from the internet and modified
  • Demonstrate the changes made to the original program
  • Create an animated storybook using Scratch (or other GPL)
  • Create a video game in Scratch (or other simple graphic programming)
Put Your Project Into Action

Show Your Skills

  • Learn to create simple programs using Scratch and other block based programing languages
  • Create story books and other storytelling programs using Scratch
  • Create a video game capable of being played and modified on Scratch

Service and Leadership

  • Join a State-Wide Youth Planning and Operating Committee
  • Participate in one of the many nation/statewide opportunities available to 4-H Youth
  • Volunteer as a teen teacher to teach computer literacy skills to community members


  • Start a website design business
  • Develop an app for distribution on the App Store and Play Store

Technology Connection

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Drones
  • 3-D printing
  • Robotics
  • Advanced computing
  • Internet of Things

Connecting with a Mentor

  • Contact your local Extension Office to find potential content-specific mentors in your area
  • Contact local businesses and technology companies about potential internship opportunities


  • Robotics competitions
  • Hack-a-thons
  • County and State Fair
  • Google Chicago events and tours
  • Exhibit in Ready-4-Life at the County/State Fair
  • Participate in Maker-style challenges

Project Manuals & Exhibit Requirements

Level 1: Discovering CS & Prog Youth Guide (Digital)

Level 1: Discovering CS & Prog Notebook (Digital)

Level 2: Discovering CS & Prog Youth Guide (Digital)

Level 2: Discovering CS & Prog Notebook (Digital)

Level 3: Discovering CS & Prog Youth Guide (Digital)

Level 3: Discovering CS & Prog Notebook (Digital)


    Online Resource: CS First

    CS First is a Free online coding resource that makes coding simple and fun to learn. The CS First platform is designed by google and enables youth to learn through video-based lessons, with different themes like sports, art, and game design. Those new to Visual/block based coding should start with either the Hour of Code lessons, or with the introductory lesson (story telling). As youth increase their skills and abilities within scratch, they will move through several lessons until they complete the advanced lessons (Game Design). CS First allows users to explore several coding projects that align with Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Visual Programing Projects. 


    Purchase manuals on the Shop Illinois 4-H Store

    View exhibit requirements and scoresheets on the Illinois State Fair page.

    woman at computer drawing on tablet
    • STEM Computer Science
    • Robotics
    • Engineering
    • Analytics Developer
    Start a Conversation
    • What is Computer Science?
    • What is Coding?
    • Is it the same as Hacking?
    • How was your favorite video game created?
    • How do people make simple apps for the App or Playstore?
    • What is Block Based or Visual Based Programing?
    • How do I get started?!

    4-H Spark Sheets are a collaborative effort of 4-H staff, volunteers, alumni and teens from across Illinois. A big thanks to the many contributors and reviewers!