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This is a guest blog post written by Tasha Swearingen

 

My son Noah recently received a Piper “build your own computer kit” in the mail from Piper and he absolutely loved it. The kit comes with a blueprint to guide kids along and he took it from there! Noah is 12 (soon to be 13) and didn’t need any help from me at all. The kit says it’s for kids his age, and I’m not sure if it assumes parental assistance or not but I would say a kid who is motivated to get it done could certainly follow the directions and do it alone. One thing that motivated Noah was that there was a built-in Minecraft game so when he finished, he’d get to play Minecraft on his very own computer that he built. That seemed to keep him going along!

When I say kids get to build their own computer, I DO mean they build it all. From scratch. As in, even the wooden box that houses the computer. Noah put together every screw and bolt that this computer required. Here’s what he started out with (after putting together the “housing” for the computer.

From there, he got to add in the other components, including USB ports, more wires, and even a mouse (that the kit came with).

When he finished, he had a fully functional and complete computer. If he’s not using it, he can box it all up nice and tidy into the box he built for it. However, I wanted to see how this thing worked! So, I asked him to show me how to set it up. Of course, proud of his accomplishments, he challenged me to get it up and running (meaning, to know where to plug this and that) – which I obviously did not do. After telling him to do it and show me how it works, I have to say I was pretty impressed myself.

I can’t believe that Piper has made these kits so super easy that kids can not only put them together on their own but also have something functional when they’re done. AND, they can play Minecraft on them. Enough said because, after all, what else is there to play when you’re 12?

I wasn’t the only one interested in this; his 17 year-old sister wanted to see how this contraption worked, too. So, he took her over to it and showed her. She was equally impressed.

All in all, Noah – and Piper – have both done a great job with this product. Noah was interested in the idea of it before it came but he was THRILLED with it once it actually got here. I must admit, I was quite shocked myself. I expected some cheap-y looking LeapFrog “build your own computer” (sarcasm) kit. I was floored with what we received…and with how heavy the pieces were.

This product does have somewhat of a high price point, but I must say it’s well worth it. While, in my house, my son did this on his own, there was certainly enough work to be done that he could’ve shared the task with his sisters if they’d been interested in doing it (they weren’t…but they sure were interested in playing with it. Hmm, Little Hen?).

It took Noah a few hours to put this together by himself, but again that would’ve been shorter had he had some help. In all, this is a great purchase for the money. This is far more than just “a toy” and will keep kids busy for hours (and hours and hours as they continue playing with it).

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, there is no lag with the Minecraft game. I asked the company who sent it to me about this and they said that while this isn’t a complaint they’ve received, I was more than welcome to reach out to them if we experienced any lag issues. So far, we haven’t!

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