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Review of the Kano computer kit

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The Kano, on the right, with keyboard and the box it comes in.

I’d heard a lot about the Kano computer kit. It seemed like a great concept and one I thought my eldest daughter would appreciate.

If you aren’t aware of it, it is a build you own computer. The motherboard comes as one piece and you simply push the remaining components in place.

Helen, my daughter, is six. With her help I had this machine operational in about 15 minutes. As you can see from the photos, on the day it arrived she was so excited we had to make it before she changed out of her pajamas.

Little hands put the Kano together.

The Kano is about the size of your wallet. It has several USB ports and a speaker and it connects to the internet via WiFi. It doesn’t have a monitor. Instead you plug it into any monitor or television with an HDMI socket.

Of course this is only part of the Kano story. Not only is it designed to get youngsters interested in computing, it has been designed to get kids into coding.

A number of basic computer games are loaded on to the Kano to help achieve this. These include Hack Snake, Pong and even Minecraft. There are also various apps that can be used some focused on arts and crafts but the favourite in this household was Espeak which enables you to programme the computer and get it talking.

Helen gets to grips with the wireless keyboard

Helen and I have done a little bit of coding together and she’s loved it. Snake and Pong have also provided lots of entertainment.

What do you as a parent need to know about this machine? Helen is only six so I have been using it with her. She hasn’t used it without my oversight as this is the bottom end of the recommended age scale. As I say, we’ve done a little coding but at this age Helen doesn’t want to do too much as she starts getting bored after a while. She’s been introduced to the concept; we’ll build on these foundations!

Although a basic computer, it does everything a desk top PC can do. It does have parental controls that you can set and you’d be advised to use them as it is capable of surfing the net and you’ll want to make sure your kids aren’t looking at anything inappropriate.

Helen putting the completed Kano to use.

As for where to buy the Kano, you’ll need to visit Kano.me. Expect to pay around £119.

I have, however, saved the best part of this post until last. This item is, without a doubt, one of the best items I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing.

It has introduced my eldest child to coding. She thoroughly enjoyed building the Kano and she likes using it. Needless to say we limit screen time to ensure she doesn’t spend too much time on. It’s a great entry level PC and it has done wonders to stimulate her mind and get her to realise there is much more to computing than simply playing games.

Technical details

  • The Kano is essentially a Raspberry Pi2 Model B
  • Dimensions; 86mm X 56mm X 20mm
  • 1GB Ram
  • 900MHz ARM Cortex-A7 Quad-Core processor
  • 4 X USB 2.0 ports
  • Micro SD memory slot
  • 10/1000 Ethernet port
  • Full HDMI port with HD 1080p video output

Disclosure; I was provided with a Kano computer kit for review purposes. Thoughts and opinions my own. 

 

7 thoughts on “Review of the Kano computer kit”

  1. Adventures of Adam

    How amazing is this. It is something I can imagine my three year old loving when he is a bit older. Coming from an IT geek family he doesn’t have much say in the matter 😉

    1. Adam will have some awesome adventures with this bit of kit when he’s older. My daughter likes the coding, but can only do it for so long. I’m delighted she’s been introduced to the concept though. From here we can build on solid foundations.

  2. Fantastic review, I have been looking at the Kano for my son as we home educate and I am keen to get him interested in coding, so it’s great to read about how much your little girl enjoyed it #triedtested

    1. Cannot recommend the Kano enough Emma. As I said, Helen will code for a little while so don’t expect wonders at a very young age (she’s six) but it has introduced her to the concept and that’s the most important thing.

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