Lincoln Heard, Minibeasts and Raspberry Pi

I often get asked how old the youngest kids we see using the Pi are. A lot depends on the individual kid’s dexterity: if they can handle a mouse with reasonable accuracy, they’re old enough to use Scratch. Usually the younger kids we see are the children of engineers or other people who are already confident around computers – and typically they start at about five.

Lincoln hooks up a camouflaged camera

Lincoln Heard a bit of an outlier. He is four years old. When he was three, he made a video with his Dad (an ICT teacher) about how to set up your Raspberry Pi (“So easy a three-year-old can set it up!”). Lincoln really loves his Pi, and, when he came home from school with a form inviting him to enter a Minibeasts habitat incorporating recycled materials, hit upon the idea of incorporating a Pi into the build.

A cereal box, a webcam, a Pi as a webcam server, some Minecraft cutouts and some weatherproofing later, Lincoln and Dad came up with this (the engineering knowhow is Dad’s, but the design and much of the work you see here is Lincoln’s):

And here’s snailcam in action:

If you’d like to make your own Minibeasts habitat like Lincoln’s, Dad has written the project up: you’ll find a full parts list and tutorial, as well as some discussion of design decisions he and Lincoln talked through (weatherproofing, wireless strength, power options). And, of course, you’ll find out how Lincoln did in the competition, in case you hadn’t guessed already.


Ben avatar

The first sentence doesn’t make sense… That’s a really interesting project though! Thanks for sharing :)

liz avatar

Sorry about that – I actually fixed it about twenty minutes ago, but you may be looking at a cached copy. (“Tired” isn’t the half of it. I am running on a mixture of caffeine and adrenaline. Badly.)

IrishFramboise avatar

Why do I perfectly understand that first sentence? Was there a re-edit?

Either you translated it back from French, Liz (voir article précédent) or is it simply that I have as much caffeine as you in my bloodstream. I have the impression that RPI Swag Mugs increase the caffeine hit of the coffee inside….;o)

Nicholas avatar

I don’t believe it…. A 3-year-old that can program?? That’s VERY young…

liz avatar

Scratch isn’t actually beyond some three-year-olds. (And Lincoln is four.) We’d expect kids of this age to have some parental oversight, too.

meltwater avatar

Yep. The trick is to help them where they need it and hold yourself back when they don’t (can be very hard to do!).

Great work Lincoln!

Davespice avatar

Blown away by this.

bertwert avatar


Gregor avatar

it needs some fence (like a cage) on top, so that the little beasts don’t run out and are then all over the place…

Allen Heard avatar

Ha ha ha I suppose it would be a nice addition but the habitats are going outside anyway so no need to keep them captive, we would like a selection of minibeasts to come and go!

IrishFramboise avatar

My son, who’s just turned 5, got his own RPI & kiddies’ keyboard for his birthday (Halloween). He’s already been using mine quite a bit for the past few months.

Biggest buzz, asking him to type “exit” in command line to quit terminal because I was working on something else in the same room. He had no problem! The other day he kept asking to play with “the cat”……I later realised that he was referring to Scratch.

His little sister who’s only 19 months old (but thinks she’s 3yrs) will shortly begin coding I reckon, with or without my encouragement! For the moment she is using Babbage as a pillow. Yes he jumps from weather balloons and can also calm infants.

PS : I think Babbage has started growing a moustache too…

liz avatar

Lorna, our compliance elf, has a little boy who also uses Babbage as a comforter. He is the perfect example of a multitasking bear.

Shijor avatar

Nice Lincoln! He is lucky to have a dad like this.
Thanks for sharing. My son is just one and hoping that he will also start loving his Pi :)

Stewart Priest avatar

I might do something like this with my little girl. She’s only 2 and a half, but she loves bugs..

pymy avatar


Joe M avatar

My son (4) been using Scratch since 3. Having seen the awesome and cool Lincoln, I might get him a Pi for his 5th birthday. Great to see kids processing all this knowledge and growing their brains!

gleberocks avatar

Any advice on setting up the icam viewer app? I cant seem to get it to work.

Nick avatar

Liz, you wrote: “Lincoln Heard a bit of an outlier.”

What does that mean please?

liz avatar

It means he’s exceptional: he’s outside the norm.

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