Community post by Eric Han and Arun Gupta

Every kid loves Minecraft! Sharing a bus ride at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon in Valencia, a group of us shared how immersed our kids have been in Minecraft, whether that’s playing the game, talking about the game, or constantly rewearing the pajamas with its logo. Here we all were as a group, learning and celebrating open source technology– away from our kids and never thinking of connecting the two. 

Kubernetes Kid's Day

And since KubeCon + CloudNativeCon events span the globe and bring experts and those interested in technology to places like Valencia, Spain, Detroit, Michigan, and Amsterdam, Netherlands (upcoming), it became quickly apparent that finding a way to connect technologists with kids could help encourage a future set of technologists.  From that bus ride, the seed of the first CNCF Kids Day was planted with the goals of inspiring children on the power of technology, its creative potential, and sharing our passion for technology, especially with those from underserved communities. 

The first CNCF Kids Day was held in Detroit the day before KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America with over 20 elementary and middle school-age children from the local area. Instructors from the local area and CNCF volunteers held two workshops, with plenty of sugary snacks, teaching Minecraft modding and building out a Pokemon game with Raspberry Pi devices. 

Girl on laptop guided by two mentors, one of the gentleman is pointing the laptop for the girl
Minecraft Modding

Every child loves Minecraft. Modifying (modding) Minecraft requires some basic computer skills, but can then unleash their creativity. Through mods, kids can create characters, special effects, and bring their imagination to a game they already love playing. As an outcome, attendees will learn basic computer skills, apply their creativity, and hopefully be inspired by technology and heard by technologists.
Raspberry Pi and Java Pokemon training
Raspberry Pi and Java Pokemon training

The Pokemon have escaped the laboratory and are running amuck! Using a miniature Raspberry Pi computer, a 3D printed pokeball, and the Java programming language, you can catch all of the escaped Pokemon and return them to the professor. For this workshop hardware will be provided, but we recommend that you purchase your own Raspberry Pi to continue catching Pokemon at home!

With laptops already pre-configured with Eclipse IDE, Java, and Minecraft Forge for modding, the kids followed instructions from the Devoxx4Kids workshop with assistance from volunteer instructors. An example of a basic mod(ification) was giving players the ability to span 64 potatoes at once, instead of just one potato. And the road from there to a k8s maintainer is not too far, as captured by this tweet.

Two gentleman in the classroom presenting Minecraft to kids

One of the favorite mods for the kids was changing snowballs from innocuous projectiles into exploding TNT bombs. The kind of comments “I’ve never really done any coding before, and its kinda exciting” from young girls make this workshop every bit that much valuable.

And from what started as a bus ride conversation in Valencia, to our first Kids Day in Detroit, we look forward to an even bigger Kids Day in Amsterdam.  CNCF Kids Day will be expanding the curriculum for Amsterdam! Building on this experience, we are bringing back Minecraft modding, and the Raspberry Pi capture game is now updated with our loveable Phippy as the main character. We are also very happy to partner with Devoxx4Kids Netherlands who will run a third workshop teaching Scratch as way for even our youngest to experience programming. Special thanks to Devoxx4Kids Netherlands who will also provide extensive volunteer and Dutch language translation support through its local affiliate LITTIL.

As a CNCF community, we can all find something to cheer in watching children find joy in learning technology and experimenting hands-on. We hope to reach even more little technologists in Amsterdam, reaching those in the local community. For those traveling, consider signing up as a volunteer instructor, and for those in the local area, we encourage you to register your child as a participant for Amsterdam as a way for them to experience technology in an enriching and supportive environment.e look forward to seeing everyone at the next KubeCon + CloudNativeCon!

Special thanks to 

Iman Homko, Amy Benson, Vanessa Heric, and the CNCF Staff for their support and planning. 

Instructors from around the world and volunteers: