1. Make a PC
The Raspberry Pi is often referred to as a mini PC when what people mean is that it is a general purpose computer. To turn it into a portable PC, just install one of the pre-made Linux distributions like Raspian or Ubuntu Mate and you can get a Windows-like computer with a word processor and web browser among many other software packages.
The Raspberry Pi will plug into your TV or an HDMI-equipped monitor and you can use a USB or bluetooth keyboard & mouse for input. You won’t be rendering any Pixar movies but it should be more than powerful enough to complete a few homework assignments. This easy Raspberry Pi project for kids will allow them to explore their creative side and learn programming in a fun way.
2. Watch the weather
Maplin make a USB weather station that can plug into your Raspberry Pi and report current weather conditions. The software runs on Windows but a Pi hacker has written a Python program that can speak its language.
Alternatively, you can make your own weather station from scratch. Peter from Raspberry Weather has written a guide to setting up your hardware and software as well as helping you with any problems you encounter.
With not too much effort you can make a Raspberry Pi-powered weather station that will analyse the climate and produce useful reports for you to read. Adding a WiFi dongle and a little more software will give you a weather-monitoring box that will publish its findings on the web for you and your friends to read via a browser or smart device. This Raspberry Pi project is a great one for older children to attempt, or to create for the youngest to use to monitor the weather and learn about the elements.
3. Make a games console
The Pi is never going to be up to running Call of Duty but as a retro arcade machine? Easy as Pi. Just install Linux and download RetroPie – a suite of emulators for old games.
The instructions here will help you get the software installed but you will need some ROM files (memory images of games cartridges) to actually play. The legal status of old games is a little sketchy but there are some 100% free ones available here so you can play with a clear conscience.
It’s time to have your Pi and eat it, because you will be able to create virtually anything you like. If you want more of a challenge then there are plenty of Raspberry Pi projects for kids out there that will tax your making and coding skills. Why not buy a touch screen and try to build your own Raspberry Pi powered tablet?