Harry Potter created a phenomenon with the popular book series by renowned author J.K. Rowling. Since the first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, debuted in 1997, the Harry Potter franchise spawned a film series, several video game adaptations, a play, and even a theme park. Kano offers the Harry Potter Wand coding kit which presents programming fundamentals as fun, simple, and accessible for kids. And as I discovered in my hands-on review, it's magical for adults as well.
What is the Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit?
Perhaps Kano is best known for its Kano build your own computer kit. Intended as a means of introducing children to maker PCs and the do-it-yourself (DIY) space, the Kano build a wand kit operates similarly. The kit features a wand which comes unassembled. However, construction of the Kano Harry Potter wand set remains intuitive. Additionally, there's a set of stickers. Graciously, Kano even throws in a set of four AAA batteries.
What's in the box:
- Kano Harry Potter wand
- 4x AAA batteries
- Instruction manual
What You'll Need for the Kano Coding WandAside from the Kano build a wand kit, you'll need a computer or tablet and the companion Harry Potter Kano wand app. Batteries are included. It's compatible with iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows.
- Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit
- Companion app
- Harry Potter Kano app
Getting Started With the Kano Build a Wand KitThe Kano Harry Potter DIY wand kit is simple but effective. You can probably figure out how to put the wand together sans directions. Nevertheless, a helpful pamphlet branded "How to make a coding wand" offers diagrams plus additional information. "This is your coding wand. It's made of plastic, rubber, copper, and electronics," the first page reveals.
But more than merely explaining how to insert batteries and toggle an on switch, the instruction manual touches on electronics basics. When presenting the circuit board, a snippet offers, "it's called a Printed Circuit Board or PCB." Arrows point to components on the PCB such as the power controller, microcontroller, Bluetooth antennae, sensors, and more. Another page details its sensors: the gyroscope, magnetometer, and accelerometer. I appreciate how the instructions incorporate learning. Still, it's totally feasible to skip the manual altogether if you'd prefer to plunge into programming.
After configuring your wand, you'll need to install the Harry Potter Kano wand app. Once that's complete, launch the Harry Potter Kano app, and transform your screen into Hogwarts.
How Does the Harry Potter Coding Wand Work?
After putting your wand together and installing Kano software for your computer or mobile device, you'll need to pair your wand. It's quick and just requires syncing with Bluetooth. A small firmware update might occur.
The Kano Harry Potter coding wand kit uses the wand's sensors and interacts with code blocks in the editor. Movements from waving the coding wand are sent to your PC and manifest in the canvas area which features an animated scene. This might be a cauldron in the dungeons, Hogwarts castle, or another Harry Potter-inspired picture.
During challenges, or lessons, you're prompted to drag and drop blocks of commands which you'll then use to perform certain actions. For example, there's a "while wand moving [direction]" block. Using a drop-down, you select the direction: Up, down, left, or right. Other blocks control elements such as color.
Should You Buy the Harry Potter Kano DIY Wand Programming Kit?Getting hands-on with the Kano Harry Potter coding wand was rather eye-opening. Initially, I expected a basic programming fundamentals experience with a Harry Potter backdrop. While that's sort of what resulted, it's a far more immersive and expansive kit.
Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit Review: Final ThoughtsUltimately, the Harry Potter coding kit remains magically enjoyable and educational. Hardware and software set up is simple. Challenges provide constant learning with a satisfying reward system. Plus, there's tons of room for additional exploration and tweaking.
- Simple set up
- Teaches programming basics
- Harry Potter theme