The Raspberry Pi is a fabulous way to keep kids busy, and I’ll give you 20 ideas for that
Can you create projects with your kids on Raspberry Pi?
Definitely yes! Whether for satisfying their passion, teaching him computer skills, learning to build things with their own hands, learning how to code or just for fun, the Raspberry Pi is a perfect tool for your child. It will depend on their age, but at each age, it is possible to do exciting projects
I will give you 20 ideas that you can test, but the possibilities of projects with your child and a Raspberry Pi are endless
How a computer works
Even if your child is very interested in computers, there is little chance that he or she has already disassembled a computer
A Raspberry Pi is a computer to mount itself, so even for a classic installation they will learn a lot about the computers in general, their components, peripherals and their connections
If you take the time to explain to him, what does each part look like and how is it connected to the rest of the hardware and network, how it works, …
He will be a step ahead of other children in basic computer science (and a lot of adults)
The Raspberry Pi works with an SD card as a hard disk, so it is easy and inexpensive to have several SD cards and install multiple operating systems if needed
If your child uses various distributions:
– Raspbian for projects (default)
– music or games oriented distribution
– another graphic oriented interface for children
It will start learning what an operating system is and that there are other things that Windows and Mac OS in the world
Few adults know what an operating system is, the projects you’ll do with him on Raspberry Pi will teach him that too.
When we talk about Raspberry Pi, we are talking about electronics
You can add extensions to the Raspberry Pi, which can be an opportunity to teach him how electronics work
You can connect an LED, a temperature sensor or many other things
Take the time to explain the connections you make, and what they are used for
Kids love LEGO because it’s their construction, their imagination
The Raspberry Pi take this idea from a more technical point of view
Assemble their first computer and make their own
Do they want a computer for so long? Do you think it’s too early or you do not have the budget?
Raspberry Pi is the solution
For less than 50 € you will provide them with a functional computer, independent and customizable
I recommend Kano OS for the youngest, which offers a specific graphical interface, games, challenges to encourage them to learn to code, …
They also offer hardware, but that is not necessarily worth it
Create a case
The Raspberry Pi has the advantage of very little heat during regular use, and the case does not necessarily need to be optimized for cooling
You are generally free to create the case of your choice and then to assemble and decorate it with your child
You can, for example, imagine wooden boxes that you will paint together, plastic or printed with a 3D printer, etc …
Inhale your passions, his or her favorite series, and create the perfect box for him
Build a robot
This project is probably the most fun and unlimited project you can launch
BrickPi is an initiative of the Dexter Industries group, which aims to provide a development framework to create the robot of his or her dreams, with components based on Legos
You can buy a kit on their site, and then imagine and build what your child will want 🙂
Create a weather station
Building a weather station is a complete and exciting project
Rather than buy a weather station, buy a Raspberry Pi and create your own!
It’s a pretty long project, but you can do it little by little, by installing the base and adding a new element from week to week
The construction of this project is very visual, so even for a toddler it can be a good idea of occupation
If you want to get started you will find a very detailed tutorial on this site
Here is an interesting and fun project: a photo booth!
It is possible to add a screen, a camera, a flash and a printer to the Raspberry Pi to turn it into a complete photo booth
You can then put all this in a box personalized by your child. Distraction assured when you have guests 🙂
You can even improve it in your way, by adding sound effects, upload on your Google Drive or Dropbox, or an original button to start the sequence
The only limit is imagination!
You can find my current recommendation for a camera in my resources page
The smart mirror is one of the best-known projects on Raspberry Pi
This project is to create a mirror in which will be embedded a display of the time, your agenda, all the information you want.
And all this is managed by your Raspberry Pi
Your child will appreciate the magical aspect of this project
Not to mention the fact that he or she can show off to his or her friends, and will undoubtedly be the only one to have a magic mirror in his or her room 🙂
A security camera
The Raspberry Pi is often used in security-related projects, such as video surveillance or intrusion detection
As part of a project with your kids, it could be funny to connect a camera to the Raspberry Pi to keep an eye on their pet, even on the go
This is easily done with a camera and the installation of software that will allow you to access it via a web page (check my resources page if you need a camera)
For example, you can use the Motion service to transform your camera (USB or integrated) into a camera IP and access it from a web interface
To reach it from outside it will be enough to open a port on your internet box
Learn to code with Scratch
Scratch is a programming language for children to learn to code
The Scratch Editor is included in Raspbian, so you can quickly test that language
The Scratch language is built with simple words, and the principle is to take blocks of code and associate them with each other to create something unique
This project will teach the basics of logic and programming to your kids while developing their creativity
Minecraft is the world-famous sandbox game and mostly played by kids
Minecraft is directly integrated on Raspberry Pi, and it is not (only) to play it
Indeed, it is possible to go much further on Minecraft Pi, modifying the game in its way
Hack the Minecraft game, change it as you want, create your mini-games
This project will also be an excellent introduction to programming for your kids while having fun on their favorite game
For older children, the Python development environment is also available on Raspberry Pi
Python is a “real” programming language (compared to Scratch), which is used in education but also in many companies
It is often taught at school because it is simple enough to handle
Your teenager will be able to go to the next level by learning to code in Python once he or she masters Scratch 🙂
Web development basics
The Internet is taking up more and more space in our lives
Teaching your child the basics of how the Internet works, or even an introduction to web development, would be a definite asset for the future.
This knowledge may well develop their logic, but also serve them the rest of their life, even if they don’t become a developer
On Raspberry Pi, it is possible to install a complete web server (Apache, PHP, and MySQL) and then to try the basics of HTML, CSS or even PHP
These are three languages entirely different, but fun to use because we see the results immediately
It might please him!
Linux distributions, such as Retropie, have been specified in the retro game on Raspberry Pi
It is possible to turn your Raspberry Pi into a real game console and download the games of your childhood to play again
Super Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda, Final Fantasy and many more are part of the games available on Retropie
A good time of family sharing in perspective
You will be happy to replay these games, and they will discover them
The Raspberry Pi can also become their new personal stereo
It has indeed a jack output, which allows connecting to speakers to play music
Better than that, some applications like RuneAudio allow you to control it from a smartphone, and to play the sounds coming from multiple sources (web radio, local NAS, …)
Some DIYers are bursting with imagination to create a true-to-life arcade kiosk with a Raspberry Pi inside
If you are even a handyman, it can be a funny project to do with your child
The design, the handling of materials, the final decoration might interest him
You’ll find many tutorial videos on YouTube, step by step; there are hundreds of examples and inspirations
Does they want a TV in their room? Have them build it!
The Raspberry Pi can serve as a basis for a complete smart TV, for example the Kodi distribution allows you to store movies or cartoons on the Raspberry Pi, and to watch them intuitively on the Raspberry Pi screen, or display them on a television
It is therefore not necessary to have an antenna to watch movies
Kodi also allows you to add applications for the main online streaming services (Youtube, Twitch, Netflix, …)
And here we are. Obviously, Minecraft is available on Raspberry Pi
It is possible to play the included version directly or download the full version
Minecraft is a fantastic game for kids
It’s a sandbox game, there is no real goal or predefined adventure, they can do what they want, the only limit will be their imagination
There is no violence or dialogue, so it’s the perfect game for kids
They will learn to:
- live in a world close to reality, with a day and a night, animals, different biomes (desert, jungle, ocean, …)
- explore the world, and improve their sense of direction
- make constructions, their house, and organize it
- collect resources to create new items through crafts
You have to be careful not to let him play too much, but I think that at any age Minecraft can have positive effects on your child’s development
And I kept you the best for the end 🙂
As I already told you the Raspberry Pi could create robots
It also makes it possible to develop remote-controlled cars, and even smart cars, driven only by a program!
And some pushed this to the maximum, until creating races with these cars, with competitions
Watch this video to learn more:
If you are interested, you can visit their website to find out more
Here we are at the end of this article, I hope you get some ideas
The Raspberry Pi is an exceptional opportunity to introduce the computer to the youngest, and if you are passionate too, it should create good moments in family
There are few toys under $50 that are as reusable as the Raspberry Pi
This computer is an excellent investment; you can reuse it as much as you want by reinstalling the system or changing SD card
And when they are older, even adult, they can still find exciting projects to achieve with
If you have other ideas for projects to share, do not hesitate to leave a comment, I would be very interested
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I’m the lead author and owner of RaspberryTips.com.
My goal is to help you with your Raspberry Pi problems using detailed guides and tutorials.
In real life, I’m a Linux system administrator with a web developer experience.