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Monday, November 5, 2018

Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit Review: A Magical Experience

Toys and games that are super fun for your kids but also surprisingly educational are the sweet spot for many parents’ purchasing needs. Toss in the use of a much-loved franchise, and it’s hard not to like Kano’s Harry Potter Coding Kit right off the bat.

As someone keen to find new and exciting ways to teach kids coding, Kano sent me over its Harry Potter Coding Kit, right in time for the holiday season.

I was pretty smitten by it and guess what? It’s going to lure you in too. Let’s take a look at what makes it so fun.

Getting Started

A quick look at the packaging of the Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit instantly shows you one key thing—this is a package that’s keen to look expensive and like a great gift. Opening up part of it by lifting up some dark pieces of see-through cloth gives that sense of style and luxury that well exceeds the cost of the thing. If you’re 10, though, it’s going to feel like a big event.

Fortunately for that child, there’s no need to worry about needing to delegate the hard setup work to an adult. The instruction manual is aimed at children (as well as enthusiastic adults) with some simple instructions that tell you what needs to be done to assemble your Harry Potter wand. Now, admittedly, that wand doesn’t look much like any of the wands you’ve seen in the movies (or how the books describe them) as it’s far less ornate and doesn’t mimic a specific character’s wand, but it’s still pretty neat.

It’s a simple matter of slotting together the PCB part of the wand with the rest of it (and placing the batteries correctly), and you’re all set with the physical hardware. It’s a nice touch that the booklet tells you what each part of the PCB does, immediately introducing some key concepts to kids that have never done anything like this before and we especially like that it starts the child off with the process by showing them the naked board and having them assemble the wand. The wand hardware contains a nine-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, as well as a magnetometer. The only notable thing it misses out on is there’s no rumble feature.

The first thing you see when you sync it up to your PC or Mac (the iPad is also a limited alternative) is the need to update the firmware on your wand. Yup, that takes a little of the shine off, but it’s pretty speedy at least. It’s also the perfect time to take a look at the poster and set of stickers that come with the kit.

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