Learn With Piper: Coding, Computer Programming, & Electronics

I was provided an opportunity to preview this product in advance to give an honest review of these products and services. All opinions expressed are true and completely our own. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

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I can not express how excited I am to discover Piper! It is an amazing little hacker toolbox based on a Raspberry Pi that shows you how to build electronics by playing Minecraft.

I have been wanting to purchase a Raspberry Pi for a long time but just haven’t found the right way to grasp my kids’ attention. Until now!

My kids LOVE Minecraft!! Especially my son who, if permitted, will spend his entire day building elaborate cities and mini-games for his own server.

Over the past few years, I have shared with him a variety of tutorials and computer programming programs to encourage him to take his love for the game farther. Nothing has really stuck until we tried Piper earlier this week.

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The creators behind Piper have created a system that will empower children to build electronics, gadgets and sensors – including a responsive flashlight, an ambient light detector and a sound and light keyboard – all by playing Minecraft.

Play Minecraft. Build Electronics. 

They have been able to modify Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi to detect whether circuits are built correctly, and have structured the software to guide students through the basics until they reach more complex levels. Kids will enjoy playing Minecraft in a new way and parents will love the simplicity!

To see Piper in action, watch this tutorial on Vimeo.

“We created Piper to bring back the tinkering and building that inspired so many generations of inventors and creators throughout history. We want to give kids a way to start their journey into making and engineering, and we want it to be fun.” ~ Mark Pavlyukovskyy

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My kids and I had so much fun playing with Piper that we didn’t want to leave. The Minecraft interface captivated their attention – allowing them the freedom to be creative – all the while teaching them how to add different electrical components.

Both of the kids wanted to tinker with the gadgets and they each remarked on the cool lazer cut “hacker toolbox” that houses the Raspberry Pi and other components. Lazer etchings were subtle and the box can be personalized to further express a child’s creativity.

As we walked out the door, my son exclaimed, “That was awesome! Piper is so fun!”

Piper is planning to launch its hacker toolbox early next week. Sign up today to find out how you can get Piper at a discounted rate of $149!

You can also enter to win your own personalized Piper kit. As a special perk your name will be printed on the front of the box!

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Master Builders, It’s Lego Party!

My little man turned 9 this month and early in January, he expressed interest in having a Lego themed birthday party.  Fortunately, a local start-up offers Lego Robotics, Stop Motion Animation, Computer Programming, and 3D Printing classes as well as summer camps, field trips, and birthday parties for youth. We had previously participated in a 3D Printing class so when I suggested we do the party at Build It, he was ecstatic.

I could not have planned it better for the new Lego Movie was released just a week prior to the party so the anticipation of going to the party was very high!  They knew they would get a chance to create their own Lego stop motion animation. What could be better?

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It’s a Lego Party!

This was one of the best parties ever – both from my perspective as a parent (no stress and mess) and from the feedback received from the boys. There were many activity stations to choose from and the boys were actively engaged the entire time.

Everything is awesome!!

When they arrived, they were immediately drawn to the center table where a dozen bins filled with Legos awaited them.  Without prompting, they got started right away building vehicles to test on the ramp.  When a few cars didn’t make it to the bottom, they were encouraged to modify their design and try again.  No hints were given .. the perfect hands-on, inquiry activity.

When the green screen was discovered – it became a great hit.  The boys loved using the props and remote control to take pictures of themselves inside the Minecraft world.  The pictures were saved and will be available for download in a few days.  Buddy was also able to select something to be printed with the 3D Printer. The boys enjoyed watching the printing process every so often as they bounced from one thing to another.

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The highlight, of course, was the Stop Motion Animation station, particularly with the older boys.  They spent a lot of time here tweaking their scene and recording their storyline.  I can’t wait to see all their videos when they are available for download soon.  They will then be able to use iMovie to import audio and sound to their animations.

The Lego party invitations helped set the tone of the party – Buddy helped to select a mini-fig image representing the interests of each of his friends.  We printed these out on card stock and on the backside we adhered a mini-fig template with the party particulars.

My little man has now requested the iStopMotion 3 software (affiliate link) so he can further pursue his new passion … how can I say no?