7 Best DIY Computer Build Kits For Kids

These days, every kid can get their hands on a computer-like device.

BUT, they’re not always learning, and it’s not always educational. Moreover, sometimes it’s particularly passive, and they’ll just sit for hours on end watching mindless YouTube, or, worse yet, TikTok.

These apps rarely teach kids anything, and so many channels are simply brain rot.

But you can take your child’s interest in gadgets and turn it into something more active and engaging, and give them something to show for the time they invest.

The solution, in case you haven’t guessed it, is to invest in a DIY computer build kit.

In this article, we’ll be reviewing 7 of the best DIY computer build kits on the market for kids. These reviews are unbiased and contain both pros and cons.

We’ve also got a quick buying guide to help you decide which one to get, before wrapping up with a brief conclusion.

Here goes!

OUR TOP PICK

Piper Computer Kit: Award-Winning Build-A-Computer Age 8+ STEAM Learning, with Raspberry Pi, Google Blockly, StoryMode, Games, Python, and Amazing Projects!

This kit contains everything you need to build a computer from the Raspberry Pi through to the 7-inch screen and rechargeable battery.

But, with this kit, not only does your kid get to build their very own working computer, but there’s way more fun to be had once the build is complete.

Using the machine’s Story Mode, kids are guided through a secret mission attaching wires and components to achieve a different outcome.

Then the fun moves from electronic through to coding, with 11 different coding challenges to work on. All using a straightforward drag and drop visual coding language.

And once they’ve mastered the visual coding language, they can progress to learning Python.

It’s aimed at kids from 8 years old and upwards.

Pros

  • Contains everything you need to build a computer
  • Has 11 different coding projects to enjoy
  • Your kid even gets to learn the Python programming language

Cons

  • Some customers have reported bugs

EDITORS CHOICE

Kano Computer Kit – A Computer Anyone Can Make

The beauty of this kit is its sheer simplicity. As the manufacturer says, it’s “a computer anyone can make”. Even 6-year-olds can put this computer together.

The kit is based around the Raspberry Pi 3, and contains its own wireless keyboard with trackpad. The only other thing you’ll need to get it all set up is a screen or monitor with an HDMI port, and you’re good to go.

Then, you’re in a position to browse the internet, or have your kid create art, write stories or make music on the machine. There are over 100 apps that are compatible with the machine.

And the kid gets to learn a little coding along the way too, if they are so inclined, thanks to the 100 plus coding challenges.

This award-winning kit has been embraced by over 2000 schools and coding clubs. It comes backed by a full years’ warranty and lifetime after-sales support.

Pros

  • Easiest computer to make
  • Over 100 compatible apps
  • Over 100 coding challenges

Cons

  • You will have to supply your own monitor

BEST VALUE

Boolean Box Build a Computer Science Kit for Kids | Includes Electronics, Coding, Animation and Lessons in Scratch, Minecraft, Python | Ages 8 and Up

The Boolean Box has a lot in common with the Kano computer that we showed you earlier, in that it is very simple and straightforward to put together, though admittedly this is aimed at kids of age 8 and up rather than age 6 and up.

It also has just about everything you need to build a computer other than the monitor, which you will have to provide.

We also like that it features a mouse, which is in contrast to the Kano kit, which includes a trackpad instead.

And again, the fun does not stop once the computer is built. Your kid can also get into making other electronic gadgets, or if they prefer, get stuck into coding.

The coding is simple enough for anyone to follow, using lessons in scratch, which is very much a visual programming language.

They can then go on to digital animation, playing Minecraft, and even carrying out Python programming projects.

Pros

  • Comes with a mouse
  • Animation and games
  • Learn to code using Scratch
  • Python programming projects

Cons

  • You will have to supply your own monitor

RUNNER UP

ELECROW Crowpi Raspberry Pi 4 3 b 3b+ 4b+ Kit Raspberry Pi Learning Programming Kit with Sensors - Advanced Version

Talk about a complete computer build kit! Not only does it feature the more basic components for building a computer, but it comes with extras too.

There’s a 7-inch screen, a wireless keyboard and mouse, earphones, two game controllers and more.

It’s all based around the Raspberry Pi, and comes with a whopping 19 different sensors to have fun with.

It’s also one of the tidiest computer build kits we’ve seen, and most of the components are contained within a small case, which makes it very portable and easy to pack and take with you on vacation.

And the fun does not end once the computer is set up. When your kid is ready, they can take the user manual and go through 21 lessons on reading code and running it.

Pros

  • Comes with loads of extras
  • Easy to pack away when not in use
  • 19 different sensors to work with

Cons

  • Limited number of coding lessons

RUNNER UP

ELEGOO Mega R3 2560 Project Starter Kit Compatible with Arduino IDE MEGA - Including 16 Tutorials CD

This very affordable computer building kit is based around Arduino rather than Raspberry Pi, and thus is best suited for electronics projects rather than around fancy software.

It has all the components you need to get started, including a breadboard, which means that you won’t have to do any soldering.

In addition to all the components, you also get a CD-ROM, which features all the instructions you need in a PDF file. Which is super handy because it saves you from having to search for guidance online. And there’s a 16-lesson tutorial.

It’s suitable for kids aged 10 and up.

Pros

  • Very affordable starter kit
  • Instructions & tutorial provided on CD rom

Cons

  • Arduino is not included
  • No monitor, keyboard, or mouse included
  • No coding lessons provided

RUNNER UP

SunFounder Raspberry Pi 4 Model B Starter Kit Project Super Kit for RPi 400 4B 3B+ 3B 2B B+ A+ Zero Including GPIO Breakout Board Breadboard LCD DC Motor LED RGB Dot Matrix 73 Page Manual User Guide

This computer build kit is just as affordable as the Elegoo kit that we showed you earlier, but is based around the Raspberry Pi rather than Arduino, which means you get more fun afterward when the computer is built because there are so many compatible apps and coding projects you can use on it.

It doesn’t actually come with the Raspberry Pi included, but it has very wide-ranging compatibility across a range of different Raspberry Pi models.

And in contrast to the Elegoo kit we showed you earlier, you don’t need a CD-ROM drive to access the instructions. The user manual is available online, and is very comprehensive at 73 pages.

Pros

  • Based around Raspberry Pi, which has loads of compatible apps
  • Compatible with a range of different Raspberry Pi models
  • Comprehensive user manual available online

Cons

  • No Raspberry Pi included
  • No monitor, keyboard, or mouse included
  • No coding lessons provided

RUNNER UP

Smraza Super Starter Kit Project Kit with Breadboard, Power Supply, Jumper Wires, Resistors, LED, LCD 1602, Sensors, Detailed Tutorial for Project, Compatible with Arduino UNO R3 Project

This very affordable computer building kit is based around Arduino rather than Raspberry Pi, and thus is best suited for electronics projects rather than around fancy software.

It has all the components you need to get started, including a breadboard, which means that you won’t have to do any soldering.

It includes a little LCD display, which means that you don’t necessarily need to hook it up to a monitor if you don’t want to or simply don’t have one.

Customers will be able to access a detailed PDF tutorial of 28 lessons to show you how to put the computer together, and how to code with it afterward, so your kid gets to learn to code, as well as work with electronics.

Pros

  • Very affordable starter kit
  • Compatible with 3 different models of Arduino
  • Access instructions and tutorials online or on CD-ROM

Cons

  • Arduino is not included
  • No monitor, keyboard, or mouse included
  • No coding lessons provided

Best DIY Computer Build Kits For Kids Buying Guide

Ok, so here’s what to look for in a computer build kit for kids.

7 Best DIY Computer Build Kits For Kids

Raspberry Pi VS Arduino

Most computer build kits these days require either a Raspberry Pi or an Arduino. Raspberry Pi is best for software apps, but Arduino is better for hardware projects.

Easy To Follow Instructions

Computers can be quite complex, and without easy to follow instructions, your kid could get frustrated and simply give up on the project way too early.

On a similar note, you should also check the recommended age group. Don’t give something aimed at teens to an 8-year-old, unless they’re particularly bright for their age.

Value For Money

Computer build kits can really vary in price, so be sure to check prices as you go along, and determine what your budget should be.

Wrap Up

To be perfectly honest, any of the kits that made our shortlist would be a great choice of gift for a teenager or enthusiastic kid.

To judge the best one for your kid, you need to find a balance between how straightforward the kit is and how much potential and versatility it has.

Elena Jones
Latest posts by Elena Jones (see all)