- Our choice for the #1 Best Overall DIY Computer Kit for Techie Kids is Piper Computer Kit.
- DIY computer kits not only teach kids how to build a computer, but they also include programs for learning coding and programming.
- Kits are kid-friendly and some are set up like games to keep kids engaged.
- The best computer kits teach kids about all aspects of STEM.
- When searching for a DIY computer kit for your child, consider the kit’s usefulness, ease of construction, price, and educational tools.
Computer kits can be a great way to teach your children about technology. Most kits come with the tools for kids to build their own computers, as well as teaching programs where kids will learn some of the most common coding languages. The programs are set up with children in mind, with games and “secret missions” that can engage their imaginations.
We looked at all the different kits available, and our rankings for the best DIY computer kits for techie kids in 2023 are:
- Best Overall: Piper Computer Kit
- Best for Power: NEEGO Raspberry Pi 4
- Best for Coding: Boolean Box
- Best for Variety: Kano Computer Kit
- Best for Teens: ELEGOO UNO Project Starter Kit
#1 Best Overall DIY Computer Kits for Techie Kids: Piper Computer Kit
- Kids are guided through a secret mission to build the kit via Piper's Story Mode
- Includes Raspberry Pi
- LCD screen and DIY speaker
- Rechargeable battery
- Features 11 progressively challenging projects
The Piper Computer Kit makes learning fun, which makes it our choice for the #1 Best Overall DIY Computer Kits for Techie Kids. Piper taps into a child’s imagination by framing computer building as a secret mission.
Upon opening the kit, the child discovers a top-secret letter that guides them on their journey. The wooden shells of the pieces fit together almost like Legos. There is no soldering and the hardware is simple to assemble.
Once the computer is built, the Piper uses 12 Minecraft Raspberry Pi Edition StoryMode Projects to help kids learn how to attach the wires and connect electronic components. PiperCode, based on Google Blockly, helps kids can learn to code using a drag-and-drop visual coding language. There are 11 different PiperCode projects kids can progress through at their own pace, and the Python programming language is pre-loaded for kids who crave a greater challenge.
The kit comes with a small LED monitor and a mouse, but you will have to attach your own keyboard. It also comes with a carrying case, so you can take the Piper anywhere.
|It frames tasks as secret missions to get your child excited and engaged.||It doesn’t include a keyboard, you need to provide your own.|
|It builds a fully-operational computer.||There are limited supplies, so it’s not always available to buy.|
Check out Piper Computer Kit on Amazon.
Best for Power: NEEGO Raspberry Pi 4
- Raspberry Pi 4 4GB motherboard
- 64-bit quad-core processor
- Dual-display output with the two micro HDMI ports
- Up to 4K resolution and video decoding up to 4K@60fps
- Dual-band Wi-Fi 2.4/5.0GHz, Bluetooth 5.0
- Includes case with cooling fan
The NEEGO Raspberry Pi 4 has the fastest processor of any kid-based computer kit, making it the best for power. It comes with a Raspberry Pi B 4GB RAM motherboard with a 64-bit quad-core processor. A 32GB micro SD card comes pre-installed with NOOBS so you can easily install and run one of the compatible operating systems.
The NEEGO Raspberry Pi 4 kit is capable of dual-display output via two micro HDMI ports, and it can decode video up to 4K@60fps. It has built-in dual-band 2.4/5.0GHz Wi-Fi and supports Bluetooth 5.0. The kit also includes a case with a cooling fan and heat sinks.
Since the motherboard comes pre-assembled, this kit doesn’t focus much on building the hardware of the computer. Instead, it focuses on building the coding and programming knowledge of the child.
|The NEEGO comes with 4GB RAM.||It doesn’t focus on building the hardware of the computer.|
|It has a 64-bit quad-core processor.|
|The kit is great for beginners but also advanced coders who need faster processors.|
Check out NEEGO Raspberry Pi 4 on Amazon.
Best for Coding: Boolean Box
- Includes free access to Boolean University with tons of online projects on coding and more
- Contains parts for programming the micro:bit Micro Controller
- Also includes electronics for building circuits and blocks for creating other inventions
- Open-source components are easily replaceable
The Boolean Box focuses on coding and programming, making it the best for teaching coding. It was originally built by the non-profit Boolean Girl to teach young girls STEM. It was built with input from both children and teachers, making it a thoroughly thought-out educational tool.
Unlike other computer kits, your purchase of the Boolen Box provides access to Boolean University, which offers hundreds of lessons in a wide variety of categories, from gaming to animation to physical computer programming. Beginners can start with Scratch and move up to Python as they progress.
Boolean Box also has one of the best parental controls, so parents don’t need to worry about kids getting access to rogue sites.
|It provides a systematic way for kids to learn coding.||The Boolean Box is less focused on building the computer than other kits.|
|The Boolean University lessons involve skill growth, so it continues teaching as the child ages.||It doesn’t include a monitor.|
Check out Boolean Box Micro V2 on Amazon.
Best for Variety: Kano Computer Kit
- Raspberry Pi 3
- Programmable LED lights
- wireless keyboard with trackpad
- Over 100 coding challenges to make games, art, music, and more
The Kano Computer Kit gives you a plethora of options for coding, making it the best for variety. It can teach your child through art, music, games, and more.
The Kano Computer Kit focuses more on the hardware construction than a lot of other kits. It is, however, easy to build. It comes with a storybook tutorial and all the parts are simple to snap together.
Kano has received many awards, including a Webby Award, a Family Choice Award, and a Red Dot Award, making it one of the most acclaimed DIY computer kits.
|Kano offers over 100 coding challenges.||Kano does not include a monitor.|
|It comes with access to the Kano community to talk with other creators and coders.||The kit is a bit pricey.|
Check out Kano Computer Kit on Amazon.
Best for Teens: ELEGOO UNO Project Starter Kit
- UNO controller board is compatible with Arduino IDE
- Includes LCD1602 module, breadboard expansion board, power supply module, and more
- PDF tutorial with over 20 lessons
- USB connectivity
- For ages 10 and up
The ELEGOO UNO Project Starter Kit is for more advanced users, making it the best for older children and teens. The ELEGOO UNO comes with a lot of moving parts, making it easily customizable. All parts are pre-soldered and easy to snap into the motherboard, and it comes with a free tutorial that will help your kids build their computer.
ELEGOO works on the Arduino platform, which is an open-source prototyping platform. The starter kit can be used to make a fully-functioning computer, but also countless other electronic gadgets your child might be interested in. This kit is best for kids who are interested in the hardware of electronics and learning to code to make that hardware work.
|ELEGOO offers more customizable options for the computer build.||ELEGOO is for older kids, ages 10 and up.|
|It’s one of the most affordable DIY computer kits on the market.||It focuses on hardware instead of software.|
Check out ELEGOO UNO Project Starter Kit on Amazon.
How to Pick the Best DIY Computer Kits for Techie Kids: Step by Step
When choosing a DIY computer kit there are four main considerations for most buyers.
- Ease of construction
- Educational tools
Let’s review each of these criteria in more detail.
The whole point of a DIY computer kit is to be able to utilize it. Kids only get a sense of accomplishment if the computer works as a tool after it’s built. At a minimum, the kit should include coding lessons to teach your child how to program.
Some computer kits only function to educate kids about coding, while others allow kids to surf the web and check email. There are a variety of different kits, depending on how much access you want your child to have, that can cater to your child’s needs.
Ease of Construction
DIY computer kits for kids rarely have any dangerous aspects in the building. If a kit involves a soldering gun or any other large tools, it is probably not for kids. The beauty of the kits for kids is its building simplicity, letting the child feel a sense of accomplishment for constructing their own computer without an adult’s help.
Kits like the Piper Computer Kit have wooden pieces that just snap together like Legos. The NEEGO has the motherboard pre-assembled, to avoid soldering.
Some DIY computer kits can break the bank, but there are plenty that can function and teach for half the price. Many kits come with the basics and can still teach coding programs such as Scratch and Python.
If you have a monitor or extra keyboard at home, you can save money since many of the cheaper options don’t include these. Some kits will allow you to add on these tools, but it will end up raising the price.
DIY computer kits are meant to teach kids about technology and coding, so make sure the kit you choose does that. There are DIY computer kits on the market that just build computers, without any of the supplemental education about coding or programming.
Many of the highest-rated DIY computer kits come with access to a website or a community that offers support. These sites can also be full of tutorials and teaching guides to help make learning easier for your kids.
What to Know Before Buying DIY Computer Kits for Techie Kids
Before you purchase a DIY computer kit for your techie kid, make sure you know the recommended age range. Pick a kit that is compatible with your child’s age. Kits that are for older children may be too difficult and can cause your child to quit before they even start. The age recommendations for DIY computer kits are carefully calculated, so make sure your child is within that age range.
Also, double-check what is included in the kit. Many kits don’t come with a monitor or a keyboard, so you will need to provide your own. If you are looking for a specific type of coding language to teach your child, make sure your kit includes lessons on that language.
Using DIY Computer Kits for Techie Kids: What It’s Like
DIY computer kits can vary wildly depending on the hardware and software it includes, so every user’s experience is different. For example, Piper has an easy construction process and focuses on coding and programming video games. Kano focuses not only on video games, but also on the arts, music, and other aspects of coding. Some teach coding through games and puzzles. For older teens, the instruction is more straightforward. Regardless of the kit, though, it will always try to make technology and coding as fun as possible for the kids.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Ground Picture/Shutterstock.com.