Raspberry Pi is a small computer board that was initially designed to help teach computer science in grade schools. Since Raspberry Pi is an excellent, simple way to teach children how to program and develop computer skills, they are great for any child or adult interested in learning about technology. But is there a minimum age required for this piece of tech?
Raspberry Pi is suitable for children over the age of 7, provided they are working with an adult, as it requires a certain level of computer know-how. However, for children over 11, it is an easy-to-use piece of technology, and they should be able to work alone to create games, music, and websites.
In this article, I’ll talk more about the kinds of projects that young people can use Raspberry Pi to complete and what it takes to achieve them. I’ll also be discussing some of the most appropriate Raspberry Pi projects for young people and what makes Raspberry Pi an excellent tool for teaching children the basics of technology.
What Is Raspberry Pi For?
Raspberry Pi is a small, single-board computer that can be used as an actual computer alone, but it can also support web browsers, games, apps, word processors, and other systems.
To use a Raspberry Pi as a computer, all you need to do is download a Linux operating system, such as Raspberry Pi OS, Kano, or Ubuntu, onto a micro SD card and plug the circuit board into a power source monitor, mouse, and keyboard.
Beyond its use as a computer, Raspberry Pi is the perfect programming tool for robotics, camera building, programming LED lights, creating cloud storage, learning to program games and game mods, and so much more. It is helpful for any technological project, and you can use it for as many purposes as you and your child can imagine.
Raspberry Pi Projects for Kids
Raspberry Pi is the perfect tool for teaching kids computer building skills, coding skills, robotics, and programming skills.
In general, I recommend that your child be at least seven years old before they start to learn about this, and that should be with assistance from an adult. I highly recommend learning together, as it is a fun and unique activity to work on as a family.
Children 11 and up, on the other hand, can usually use Raspberry Pi on their own. I would recommend helping with the initial set-up, but most older kids should have enough computer knowledge to work things out for themselves. Send them to the Raspberry Pi website for tips and tricks, and guides on how the device works.
I will give you a first overview here, but you can check my other article here that give you 20 projects ideas for kids on Raspberry Pi.
Build a Computer
Raspberry Pi is a computer in itself that a simple USB phone charger can power. Because it is a simple, inexpensive computer, you can use it to teach children how to assemble a computer and how to use it.
To make a computer with Raspberry Pi, you will need the following:
- Raspberry Pi (any model)
Pick a Raspberry Pi 400 if it’s only for a desktop usage, or a Raspberry Pi 4 kit if electronics and robots is an interest.
- USB keyboard
- USB mouse
- Micro USB cable
- HDMI cable
- Micro-SD card
Assembling the computer is as easy as plugging things into the Raspberry Pi. As for using the website, you can easily navigate the initial start-up.
Raspberry Pi OS
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has an official operating system named Raspberry Pi OS. It’s based on a popular Linux system for PC (Debian), and works directly on the small computer. It might not be the best choice for kids under 14, but it’s not the only option.
Anyway, if you are interested, you can learn how to install it on a Raspberry Pi by clicking on the link. It’s a good project to start with for teenagers.
Kano Operating System
There is also an operating system called Kano that supports web browsing, game playing, and apps. Kano is an operating system designed for kids from ages 7 to 15, and all of its features are perfect for a kid’s first computer.
It has many pre-installed games that teach children more about circuit boards, coding, and creating game modification systems. Overall, whether your child sets up their computer on their own, or if you want to help them, Raspberry Pis are some of the best and cheapest computers for children who wish to learn more about computers and how they work.
I also have a step-by-step guide to install Kano on a Raspberry Pi, that you can read to learn more about this operating system.
Build a Robot
Using a Raspberry Pi can also teach a child how to code and program a robot. One of the easiest robotics projects that you can use a Raspberry Pi in is building a robot buggy that is programmed to work with a remote control. You can also make lasers, robots with moving arms, camera drones, voice recognition systems, and other robotic devices using a Raspberry Pi.
Since you can always reuse a Raspberry Pi to make more advanced robots, they are excellent teaching tools for children interested in robotics and engineering. It is very versatile when it comes to robotics and can power almost any robotics project.
Here is a list of the best robot kits available right now for Raspberry Pi.
Create a Computer Game
One of my favorite features of the Raspberry Pi is that it is equipped to teach younger children how to code their own computer games. The Raspberry Pi website works with a free game design program called Scratch which makes it easy to create many different computer games. It also has simple step-by-step instructions that anyone can follow.
Build a Website
Several website creation guides for kids on the Raspberry Pi website can take you through the entire process in clear, step-by-step directions. These tutorials and guides are made just for kids, making them a perfect way to learn more about coding at a young age.
You can even use your Raspberry Pi to learn how to code music and sound. It works with a free code-based music creation program called Sonic Pi, where you can write your own music and compose songs using code with.
The Raspberry Pi website has some tutorials for music composition projects to help kids learn the music coding basics. You can learn to code basic songs through the tutorials, write code for delays and drum loops, and code for different musical instruments. Once you get the basics down, you can use the Raspberry Pi to make your own theremin, synthesizer, or touch-activated music sensor.
Learn Graphic Design
Raspberry Pis are also excellent tools for designing 3-D models for 3-D printers, making graphic art, and animating images. Together with Blender, a free graphic design program, kids can create animated scenes, design 3-D models, and make art. Raspberry Pi will also teach children to use python coding language to animate their art and design moving images.
Resources To Find More Project Ideas and Tutorials For Kids
Raspberry Pi is a great educational tool for children and adults over the age of seven, and their website is wholly geared towards educational projects for grade-school-aged children to teens, making their resources some of the best for learning about what a Raspberry Pi can do.
There are also some excellent workbooks for the Raspberry Pi, and one of the best ones is DK Workbooks Raspberry Pi Projects. This workbook is geared towards kids between the ages of 7 and 11, and it includes plenty of full-color pictures, helpful tips, and creative project ideas.
My own e-book is not especially intended for kids, but if you help them or for teenagers it should also be a great way to get started and experiment with new projects. I also have a boot camp course for absolute beginners. So, if your kids are interested, but you don’t know much about the Raspberry Pi, it might be even better to start with videos.
You can find both on this page. Feel free to leave a comment below if I can help you in any way.
When working with Raspberry Pi, the sky’s the limit, and this website is full of fun and imaginative activities for kids. Some are best when worked on with an adult, but the step-by-step guides make it easy for older kids to work alone. With over 200 tutorials, kids as young as seven can learn everything from coding, robotics, website design, graphic design, and hardware engineering.
You can also check my YouTube channel or other websites like the one from the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
There are tons of uses for Raspberry Pis, and it is the best computer to keep young people entertained and well-informed on how to navigate the technological world.