Archives for posts with tag: learning

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

A year ago, I wrote a fun little story for my kids, hoping that it would spark their interest in reading. Now, one year later, my 3yr old’s reading level is truly astonishing. The thing is, we all want our kids to learn to read, and we know that in order to hold their interest, it means to make reading an exciting and engaging experience. The hard part is finding the tools in which to make it so. What I did was to create The Witchy-Po as an ebook on the iBookstore, so that the kids could see the words highlighted as they follow along to the story, and be drawn in by the pictures as they follow the words. But there are lots of other things we did too. Make a game out of it. Word games, for example, are a great way to get them interested. For instance, in the car, we play the ‘ing’ game: name words that end in “i-n-g”.

Just be creative. It is important to remember that fun in reading is not just about the words behind the story, but about the experience. Every child is different, they each have their own likes, and they will each learn and explore at their own pace. My 5yr old is taking her time compared to her younger sister, and as long as she is enjoying the experience, I have no worries she will be a capable reader soon.

Keep it fun and interesting,