Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Saved the Best Kid's Gift for Last...Every Kid Would Love to Wake to Find a Piper Computer Kit Under the Tree on Christmas Morning (Review)

Disclosure:  I was sent a sample from the vendor, in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

I am wrapping up my annual holiday gift guide this week, and have a few more stocking stuffer and last minute ideas for adults...but, this is my last post for gift ideas for kids. And, I left it to the very end, as it is my family's favorite product of the 300 gifts I featured in my gift guide, which kicked off in mid October and runs through the end of this week.  So, why is the Piper Computer Kit our favorite?  Well, where do I start!? :-)

"Build your own computer: solve puzzles in Raspberry Pi edition of Minecraft by building your own computer from start to finish and continuing to build power-ups within the game through physical controls, switches, buttons, & lights"

If your child is into learning how to code, loves all things STEM or likes to build things with building sets, etc., then they will love the Piper Computer Kit.  This is a "Build Your Own Computer" for kids ages 7-12 yrs. old.  While it may seem pricey at around $200 -- it is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and over at https://www.playpiper.com/ -- it is worth every penny, as it is not just a computer you build, but so much more.  You start off by building the computer, which in and of itself is super cool.

Both of my girls, along with my husband, who is a computer programmer, spent a Saturday afternoon last month building the Piper computer.  It was serious business when I walked in and saw a blueprint of instructions hanging from the curtain in the dining area, and all the pieces to this computer spread out over the table.  

I was "shhed" upon entering, as they were trying to concentrate and follow the steps.  My husband did say that they got hung on steps 5A-5B, and had to redo this part when they realized they put a piece wrong.  

He said for those building the Piper computer in the future, to take a break halfway through the build, as he chalked up this flub in the steps to being tired.  There really is a lot that goes into the build, even though there are only 6-7 steps.

But, once the Piper computer was built, the girls were all smiles, and so proud of themselves.  

They never expected at their ages, 7 and 8 yrs. old, to be able to build their own computer that actually works.  My husband powered up their new Piper computer, which I have to say, I love that is is made out of wood and has engraved detailing throughout the wood pieces (there are 160+ pieces all together that make up this DIY computer) - it gives it a nice, unique look to the everyday laptops we work on. 

Once the Piper computer was powered up, the girls were ready to get to work building and programming electronics with the help of the 3D engineering diagrams in the game that is programmed on the Piper computer.  

I don't know about you, but my girls are all about Minecraft, and were happy to find a Minecraft adventure waiting for them when their Piper computer powered up.  And, when they started building real electronics, they couldn't believe it.  It was almost as cool as working with their Daddy to build this amazing and one of a kind computer. 

In addition to assembling their own electronics to power u mission control on the Raspberry Pi 2, they also had to add switches to uncover secret doors and bridges.  As the game advanced, so did the challenged set forth.  They were making LED light proximity sensors to help find diamonds one minute and then using a buzzer piano to enter secret codes to find hidden rewards another minute.  There is even a cool LED flashlight that kids can turn on and see the game at night.

My girls, and husband, have been having a blast playing with their Piper. They love how they can create custom levels and modifications.  This is truly the perfect gift to give kids who love gaming and game design.  With no instruction manual, kids have to figure out things for themselves. I watched as my girls were unplugging and plugging in cables and testing things, as they learned how to complete the different challenges.  It was a learning process like no other, and by not having instructions to go by, made for a more enjoyable learning experience in my view, as they didn't have to worry about reading lengthy instructions, which some kids get hung up on or skip right over.  I know my youngest is not a fan of instructions like her Daddy, and they put things together based on picture with a few extra pieces left over -- which they always say are spare parts that were included.  Yeah, that's it! :-)

We have had the Piper computer for over a month and half and my girls continue to play with it on a daily basis.  We have incorporated it into our homeschooling, and the girls have also brought to homeschool meetups to show up and let their other homeschool friends try out.  Once the kids see the Piper and see how it is a computer that you build and then play a Minecraft game with, they are all over it, and then asking their parents for one.  And, you know what, I don't blame them, as I would have loved a Piper computer of my own as a kid.

Built by kids from the inside-out

With the holidays fast approaching, now is the time to order a Piper computer for your kids.  You can gift it as a family gift too, and then spend a weekend putting it together, as a family.  It really is a fun and memorable bonding experience, and everyone, especially kids feel accomplished once the computer is put together and powered up.  

You can learn more about the Piper computer and all that if offers, by visiting https://www.playpiper.com/

Disclosure:  I was sent a sample from the vendor, in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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