Kano Kit

When it comes to finding fun and accessible ways for my kids to learn about computing, Kano is one of those crowdfunded Kickstarter projects that really caught my eye.

Over a year ago, I received my Raspberry Pi in the post.  For those who don’t know, the Raspberry Pi is a small, rather inexpensive, basic computer, its size slightly bigger than of a deck of cards.  It houses little more than the motherboard — it doesn’t even come with its own power supply.  The user is meant to gather all the external bits to build the computer, and then discover all the wonderful things it could do.  “Great, what fun!”, I thought, at the time.  Flash forward to the present, and my little computing bundle of joy is still in its box.

Kano is the project that has re-ignited my interest.  Using the Raspberry Pi, it proposes to teach kids of all ages how to build a computer and unleash their programming potential and technical creativity.  It does this by means of providing the user with all the bits needed to hook-up the Pi, and all explained in an exceptionally clear, intuitive and brilliantly illustrated manual.  The manual is divided into “levels”, like a game, where passing a level means the user has accomplished a specific task.  For example, Level 1 is building the computer; to win Level 1, the user needs to take all the bits that make up the computer and connect them to the board.

Last week, I handed the manual to my 5-year old, to test her reaction and see what she thought.  She is still an early reader, but she was able to read through the requirements and learn how to win Level 1.  Since then, she has been nagging me to help her get started.  Today, I caught her sitting by herself, reading through the manual, making sure she didn’t forget a step.  Her interest (and mine!) has now peaked, and I can’t wait to help her get started on her journey.

Kano Level 1

You can find out more about the Kano project at http://www.kano.me.