Kid-friendly computers for a 6 or 7-year-old usually come in two forms. Young children either inherit an inexpensive, used laptop, or they could get a DIY computer kit. Since I’m raising a maker, I chose the latter.
Although computer kits may sometimes be more complicated to operate, computer kits deliver a richer learning environment. A look at my son’s face before and after we assembled his computer and screen kits proved that I made the right choice. That night, my son proudly told his dad that I read him the story of his computer while he assembled it.
The Kano kits won me over with their story, their design and their fun educational approach. Kano does a good job at demystify coding and at showing how computers are built in terms that kids understand. What you get is not just a built-it-yourself computer kit for kids ages 6 and up. You get tutorials, project ideas, challenges, and kid-friendly apps. You get a system designed to teach coding, hardware and technology to kids. This is where the true value of Kano is, if you ask me.
Making the computer nourished the kid’s attachment to his computer but it’s just the first step. Assembling the computer and the screen took my son less than 30 minutes. His experience as an avid LEGO builder was evident. He did it all on his own with barely looking at the instructions. The cute stickers are a nice touch. He quickly put on his name and decorated the Raspberry Pi 3 case.
You can use any screen but I prefer their sturdy screen. The Kano screen won points for portability. Just snap in the Raspberry Pi case, and slide the Kano Kit keyboard into the back of the screen.
The magic continues when he started to use the Story Mode. So far, so good. Since he doesn’t know yet how to read, he sometimes needs my help. Otherwise, he uses his computer on his own. Our next step: teaching him how to read. When he does, he’ll be able to code with Scratch, hack Minecraft or program his art pieces.
I will continue to share our adventures in coding. Stay tuned! Besides their own site, Kano computer kits are sold at Indigo, Roboshop and STEM-related stores in Canada and the USA.