When my son asked me for his own computer a few years ago (as a 7 year old), we purchased him a Kano computer kit. He was a little put out that we were going to make him BUILD his own computer, but soon was completely sold on the concept. The Kano computer kits come with easy to assemble parts and a booklet that explains every piece of the puzzle as it helps the kids put it together.
The booklets that accompany the kits are so entertaining that my son has been known to bring the booklet with him to various functions so he can read it over and over again. He just loves knowing exactly how things work, and the Kano stories help him understand all the parts of a computer.
Interestingly enough, recently my son has been asking me how touchscreens work. Our home computer is a touchscreen, my laptop is a touchscreen, then there are the phones and tablets that litter my home, and all of them have touchscreen technology. I told my son that fortunately, I had just found out about a new kit that has just launched from Kano that helps kids build a touchscreen computer!
The new Computer Kit Touch, is available today for $279.99 via Kano.me and selected retailers.
We were lucky enough to get our hands on one this week, ahead of the release date, and my son could not wait to put it together! First, he went straight to the booklet to find out how touchscreens work. I won’t spoil it for the rest of you, but he totally understood it after he read the storybook that accompanies the Computer Kit Touch.
My son, who is 9 years old, put the entire thing together himself. He only requested my help when he put something on upside down and needed help taking that piece apart so he could put it on correctly. He also needed my help to connect it to the WiFi, since my kids aren’t allowed to have the password yet. Other than those hiccups he was able to get it up and running quickly (within 30 minutes).
According to the company, the Computer Kit Touch includes a touch-enabled 10.1” HD touchscreen, as well as a wireless keyboard with trackpad. It also includes a USB board (to allow you to plug in accessories like the light board or just a regular wireless mouse, and a sound sensor. The brains of the computer are based on the award-winning Raspberry Pi and come preloaded with the latest version of Kano OS with newly added support for touch control. To utilize the kit as a tablet it can also be used for approximately three hours before it will need to be plugged in again.
The operating system is really simple and offers a lot of great activities that also encourage STEM learning through the device. The touchscreen also helps children learn about tactile interfaces and how touch controls work across everyday devices like smartphones. There are is a new painting app that allows you to use your fingers, you can also create art and music through block-based coding editors. The OS even has Minecraft, and helps kids understand how to mod and hack the program to customize their experience.
Kano has also recently released a fully licensed Harry Potter Wand, and has several other kits that have been huge hits in this house. My son basically asked for everything in the Kano.me store for Christmas last year. Which means, most of the Kano products we have in our house we have purchased ourselves, including the light board and the motion sensor.
I really love Kano’s entire approach to STEM-based products for kids. I honestly can’t wait to see what they will come out with next.
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com