"It's much more fun making my own games"

Kids’ birthdays... it’s never easy coming up with the perfect gift. But Markus struck gold when he bought his nine-year-old son Max a Raspberry Pi this year.

“I went absolutely wild!” says Max. “And when I started playing with it, it was even better than I thought it would be.”

“I’d been talking to some friends about the Raspberry Pi and it sounded like something Max would enjoy,” explains Markus. “He’s really into technology and he’s learning to code at school so he was already interested in it.”

What is the Raspberry Pi?

The Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit card-sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. It enables people to explore computing and to learn how to program in languages like Scratch and Python. Anyone can use it to browse the internet, watch videos, play games and much more. The creators of the Raspberry Pi want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn to program and understand how computers work. Find out more on the Raspberry Pi website.

Max uses apps like Scratch, a language for learning the basics of programming, and the DuckDuckGo search engine on his Raspberry Pi.

“Dad and I do stuff together on it and, when he’s at work, I use the Scratch app on my own,” adds Max. “It was really easy to connect the Raspberry Pi to our TV so I can see everything on a big screen and, because it’s so small, I can take it anywhere.”

Markus believes it’s important that children understand how computers work rather than just play with them. As he says:

"Technology is not just an entertainment tool, it’s also an education tool. Max is having a great time creating his own programs and, at the same time, he’s gaining important skills for the future."

Max agrees, saying: “It’s much more fun making my own games and using my imagination than just playing a game that someone else has made. We have a computing lesson once a week at school – now I can do coding at home too! I want to learn Python next.”

Max and his brother have a daily limit of 30 minutes for their technology time at home and other rules about the use of things like YouTube and email. If Max is learning to code or writing his own games on his Raspberry Pi, however, he is allowed to use it for as long as he wants.

The Raspberry Pi has certainly found a fan in Max. As he says: “Children have to learn coding now. The Pi is really child-friendly and fun! I’d really recommend it.”

Find out more about coding in our series of articles and on the BBC Make It Digital website.

*Disclaimer: Markus works for Vodafone, Max does not (yet!)