Here are 5 awesome ideas to teach kids the power of computing and programming with a Raspberry Pi.
Originally the Raspberry Pi foundation created the small $35 computer chip to help teachers and students learn the basics of computers. Since then many adults have embraced the power of the small computer. The ability to run multiple Linux distributions and reliably run applications makes the Raspberry Pi the perfect piece of equipment for young kids to learn computing projects.
This list will break down 5 of the very best Raspberry Pi projects for young kids.
Raspberry Pi Project #1: Learn to program with Scratch
Difficulty level: 1
Scratch is a programming language but not in the traditional sense. The programming language is popular among young children because it is visual based and not text based. Scratch comes pre-installed with the NOOBs distribution of the Raspberry Pi.
The reason why Scratch is so good for kids to learn programming is it is fun and interactive. They can immediately see the results of their efforts without setting up a stable environment.
The Raspberry Pi has enough processing speed to make the graphical user interface snappy and engaging.
Scratch allows young children to use event driven programming with multiple active objects. This sounds really fancy but all that means is they can learn how to code without touching code. Young kids using the Raspberry Pi and Scratch can create animations and games with a simple point and click applications. They can also create simple games and interactive stories in a fun way.
You would be surprised, you might even enough making a Scratch program. Check out the graphic below to get an idea of what a Scratch project can offer a young kid.
Raspberry Pi Project #2: Build A Case For The Raspberry Pi
Difficulty level: 1
One of the first things most Raspberry Pi users do is put their Pi in a case.
Sorry an Altoids can won’t work.
But putting the computer chip in a case is a good idea to keep it safe and dry.
Most adults have a lot of fun putting their Pi in a case, and young kids will to.
Of course you can always buy a case for a couple bucks on Amazon.
But there are a few other creative ways to enclose your Raspberry Pi. If your child likes Legos…check this out.
There are other options for assembling your own Raspberry Pi case.
Check this one out.
Raspberry Pi Pibow Case
Raspberry Pi Project #3: Create A Weather Station
Difficulty level: 3
What kid doesn’t like the local weatherman? A Raspberry Pi weather station project is a great way to teach kids about how the weather is calculated and how computers are used to do it.
This project is a little bit more difficult then some of the others. However, with a little reading a young kid should be able to get a weather station project up and running with the Raspberry Pi (you may need to help a little).
There are a lot of different projects creating the same effect but some are better then others.
If you want a comprehensive guide that will show you the logic behind the Raspberry Pi weather station project, then look no fruther then the official Raspberry Pi Foundation website. The project can be found here.
But unfortunately these were only for school projects to teach young kids about the Raspberry Pi and how to make it into a weather station. There are other projects like mentioned above.
Here is a link to another that uses a bird feeder to make a Raspberry Pi weather station.
Here is a list of parts and components you will need to complete this project. I have linked you the cheapest prices on Amazon for the products that will work with this project.
- Raspberry Pi
(any model will work but for the money why not get a B+ or Model 2)
- Raspberry Pi Case
- Raspberry Pi Power Supply
- A Raspberry Pi USB HUB (not necessary with Model B+ or Model 2)
- A Raspberry Pi USB Dongle
- A 8GB SD Card
with NOOBS or Raspbian operating system
- Keyboard, mouse, and monitor (only needed to get started)
- Sensors (TinkerForge Master Brick, Temperatre Bricklet, Ambient Light Bricklet, Barometer Bricklet and optional Humidity Bricklet)
- A 3m USB cable and mounting kit for the Master Brick, plus cables and mounting kits for each Bricklet. The length of the Bricklet connector cables will depend on your specific project; if in doubt, get the largest size. The mounting kits consist of four small pillars. Each sensor is fixed to the pillars with the included bolts, which can then be screwed into a mount of your choice.
- Bird nesting box – yes, really. We’re going to use this to house our sensors and the Master Brick. Drill holes in the front and sides to allow airflow (if the holes are big enough for birds to fit through, use gauze or chicken wire to prevent this), and paint it white to reflect heat. You also need to drill a hole in the back to feed through cables.
This project will probably consume a weekend but it is a great way to tinker with a Raspberry Pi.
Raspberry Pi Project #4: Play Minecraft On A Raspberry Pi
Difficulty level: 2
Does your child like Minecraft? If so, there is a Raspberry Pi edition of Minecraft that will keep your young kid entertained for hours.
Minecraft is a program that allows you to build constructions out of textured 3D cubes. You can then explore, gather resources, craft, and compete with users.
This fun game has been out since 2009 and entertained young kids for years.
To get Minecraft up and running on a Raspberry Pi visit here.
It is as simple as downloading the resources and getting them up on your Raspberry Pi.
Raspberry Pi Project #5: Stop Motion Raspberry Pi Camera Project
Difficulty level: 3
One of the more interesting projects requires both software and hardware hacking in order to make a Raspberry Pi powered stop motion camera.
This project is a little more expensive then the others but unlike some of the other Raspberry Pi projects it blends hardware and software together.
Here is a list of what you will need. Again, this is the lowest price on the camera board.
- A Raspberry Pi
- Raspberry PI 5MP Camera Board Module
- A solder-less breadboard
- 2 male-to-female jumper leads
- 1 tactile button
In order to complete this Raspberry Pi project, let the professionals at the Raspberry Pi foundation take it away.
Let us know what you think about these projects.
If you like these ideas, share them with other Raspberry Pi users.