The Kano Computer Kit Touch Lets Kids Build and Code Their Own Tablet

Kano's new Computer Kit Touch is a STEM toy that teaches kids to build a working computer and use it to code.

Plenty of parents want their kids to learn how to code, and toy companies have been happy to oblige. There’s been less of an effort to get kids excited about hardware, the machines they’ll use to write and execute the software they create. One exception: Kano’s computer kits, including the brand-new Kano Computer Kit Touch, which allows kids to assemble their very own tablet from the ground up.

When kids open up the Kano Computer Kit Touch, they’ll find a 10.1″ HD touchscreen, a detachable keyboard/touchpad combo, a USB board, a sound sensor, and the various cables that connect everything. Kids are tasked with assembling the various parts of the tablet with help from a a printed “storybook,” which uses narrative to engage kids in the building process. Once they’re done, they’ll have a Raspberry Pi-inspired, 16 GB computer that can run for three hours on a single charge.

But Kano Computer Kit Touch is far more than an engineering kit. The built device runs Kano OS, a custom operating system that lets kids make apps, art, games and music. They can share their creations on Kano World, a 600,000-strong online community that has 56 million lines of code. It also has mainstream apps like YouTube and WhatsApp.

Kano’s coding education software, which is present in all of their products including the Harry Potter Wizard Training Wand, starts with basic block-based coding, where kids drag commands on a graphical interface, and progresses with a text-based coding environment that teaches JavaScript and Python, two of the most prominent coding languages.

But the biggest update to the hardware is the touchscreen, a feature not seen in previous Kano kits. Kids are surrounded by smartphones, tablets, and even laptops that use touchscreens. They’re way more used to interactive with screens they can touch than screens they can’t, so this evolution in Kano kits makes sense. Plus, any future coding job they might have will undoubtedly involve coding for touchscreen devices, so the earlier they’re introduced to that the better.

The Kano Computer Kit touch retails for $280. It’s a pricey toy, but if learning coding languages is something you want for your kid, it’s a rather smart investment.

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