Engaging Kids in Tech: Exploring Open Source Projects with Raspberry Pi & Code.org

Joe Goodwin

Engaging Kids in Tech: Exploring Open Source Projects with Raspberry Pi & Code.org

In today’s digital age, it’s never too early to get kids started with coding and programming. Open source projects can be a great way to introduce them to this world. They’re not just for adults, they’re for kids too!

Open source projects offer a hands-on learning experience that can spark a child’s interest in technology. They can help them understand how software is built and how it works. Plus, they’re fun and engaging!

So, if you’re looking for ways to get your kids interested in coding and programming, open source projects could be the perfect solution. Let’s dive in and explore some of the best open source projects for kids.


In the vast array of open source platforms, Scratch stands out as an extremely powerful tool tailored specifically for kids. Developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Media Lab, it’s a free learning environment designed to offer kids a fun way to learn certain essential skills, including problem-solving, project design, and communication, all via coding.

Scratch employs a drag-and-drop interface which makes it easy to use for kids as young as 8. They can make their own interactive stories, games, animations, and even share their creations on a web-based community.

A key feature that sets Scratch apart is its interface that’s perfectly suitable for a child’s learning style. The colorful, intuitive drag-and-drop platform allows kids to put together blocks of codes, essentially eliminating the tiresome typing associated with traditional coding. Coding thus becomes a visual, hands-on experience, which aligns closely with children’s natural learning process.

Interaction and social learning are other top-notch elements of Scratch. The Scratch community, a vibrant online platform, encourages children to share their creations, exchange ideas, and provide feedback to each other. It stimulates a child’s engagement with the project and fosters a sense of community.

In terms of versatility and learning areas, Scratch shines again. Whether it be storytelling, game-design, or animation, Scratch opens up a universe of possibilities. Kids can use it for a variety of projects, and can even delve into more complex elements of coding as they progress.

In the midst of our increasingly digital world, Scratch presents a fantastic opportunity to lay the groundwork for future learning. Through the open source project of Scratch, kids are not just consuming technology, but are empowered to play an active role in creating it. Occupation with such projects is a step in the right direction: it’s fostering technological literacy at a young age, inspiring creativity, and shaping innovative minds.

Arduino Starter Kit

Moving beyond Scratch now, another excellent open-source resource that’s pivotal in shaping young minds is the Arduino Starter Kit. Crafted with youngsters in mind, this kit is sure to captivate their imagination and introduce them to the exciting world of electronics and coding.

What stands out with the Arduino Starter Kit is its practical, hands-on approach. Unlike many other software-based coding platforms, Arduino involves both hardware and software, providing a tangible understanding of how codes translate into action. Kids get to build functional electronic devices, decoding how the digital world intersects with the physical one.

This comprehensive kit comes with a detailed projects guidebook and all necessary components to dive into 15 different projects. The kit isn’t just about putting pieces together though. It ensures that kids understand the workings behind their creations. From a musical instrument to a temperature-sensing alarm, children can pursue various challenging yet exciting avenues. Their work with Arduino could spark an enduring passion for robotics, data science, or many other STEM fields.

A tremendous first step into hardware-based programming, the Arduino Starter Kit doesn’t require any prior knowledge of electronics. Its intuitive platform (the Arduino IDE) can be programmed using languages such as C and C++. For younger kids who might not be ready for these types of languages, there are alternatives like ArduBlock or Scratch for Arduino that offer a block-based coding approach.

Being part of the Arduino community means access to a wealth of shared knowledge, resources, and assistance. Kids can learn from other users’ experiences, share their own projects, and receive constructive feedback. It’s a nurturing environment where collaboration and learning go hand in hand.

Jumping into the Arduino universe propels kids into touching the heart of technology. They’ll gain unparalleled insight into how devices around us function, how to control them, and how to invent their own.

Raspberry Pi Projects

While we’ve explored the Arduino Starter Kit, there’s no overlooking the plethora of options Raspberry Pi Projects bring to the table. These open-source projects immensely expand the horizons of what young learners can achieve.

Raspberry Pi is an affordable, credit-card sized computer that opens up a vast field of possibilities for kids. It provides a hands-on experience similar to Arduino but with extra computing power. This popular platform gives young coders the chance to create anything from a weather station to a full-fledged desktop computer. It’s a playground of hardware and software combinations, stirring creativity while imparting important technical knowledge.

One of the joys of Raspberry Pi projects is how adaptable and diverse they can be. Children can begin with basics like designing their game or setting up a home surveillance system. As they grow comfortable, they can graduate to more complex tasks like operating a robot or developing a web server. Here’s a glimpse of what Raspberry Pi can offer to the young, curious minds:

Raspberry Pi projects Difficulty Level
Designing a game Beginner
Setting up a home surveillance system Intermediate
Operating a robot Advanced
Developing a web server Advanced

Don’t forget about the Raspberry Pi Foundation. They house an extensive bank of resources designed for children to foster learning. This includes numerous coding resources and project ideas. With these resources, Raspberry Pi ensures continuous learning and lasting engagement.

With Raspberry Pi projects, children not only delve into hardware-based programming much like with Arduino but also reap the advantages of a compact computer system. As they delve deeper into the world of Raspberry Pi, they’re equipped to harness the maximum benefits of open-source platforms.


While talking about open-source resources for computer education, it’d be a miss not to mention Code.org. This nonprofit organization builds its mission around a fundamental belief that every student should have the opportunity to learn computer science. Equipped with an interactive and user-friendly interface, Code.org serves as a great platform for kids to start their journey in coding.

Unlike most programming resources, Code.org makes it fun and attractive for children. With a plethora of coding games, tutorials, and activities, it isn’t just about lines of code and commands. Instead, it bridges the gap between learning and enjoyment, thereby making code an exciting new language for these young minds to conquer.

Furthermore, when we dive into the offerings, what makes Code.org more appealing are its themed coding exercises. Children can learn to code with favorite characters from popular games like Minecraft and movies like Star Wars. This thematic approach certainly keeps kids engaged and motivates them to dive further into the coding experience.

Of course, let’s not forget about the versatility Code.org brings to the table. Catering to different age groups and skill levels, it ensures a pathway for every child’s learning pace. Ranging from simple block-based programming for young learners to advanced JavaScript courses for older students, the platform maintains its core aim of inclusive coding education.

By extending courses into the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and math—Code.org further broadens the horizons for these young minds. It seeks to nurture a future generation of tech-savvy individuals well-versed in problem-solving, creativity, and critical thinking skills.

As we continue our exploration of open-source resources, it’s easy to see why Code.org makes a mark in this arena. Pairing fun-filled learning with a robust educational approach, it brings innovative teaching methodologies to millions of students across the globe. Without a doubt, such platforms make open-sourced learning not only accessible but also fun and engaging for budding young programmers.


Open-source projects like Raspberry Pi and Code.org are transforming the way kids learn coding and electronics. Raspberry Pi’s versatility and the wealth of resources from the Raspberry Pi Foundation empower young learners to build a variety of projects. On the other hand, Code.org’s interactive platform makes coding education fun and inclusive. With coding games, tutorials, and exercises featuring popular characters, it’s easy for kids of all skill levels to get involved. It’s clear that these open-source projects are not just teaching kids to code, but also fostering a love for STEM fields. They’re making learning engaging, accessible, and fun. As we move forward, I’m confident that open-source projects will continue to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of education.

Joe Goodwin