Emily’s journey into the wonderful world of Raspberry Pi’s. we are starting Emily’s exploration into Raspberry pi’s with the Raspberry pi Pico with the Explorer base from Pimoroni.

We will be using three different runtime programs.

Thorny – code editor directly to micropython

Playpiper – block editor

BIPES – block editor that uses the micropython code


This is the first block editor we will be using for Emily. This has a whole story full of simple tasks to do to introduce the very basics in block coding to Emily.

Because our Pico has the explorer board (half of which won’t work on with the coding on this) this also changes which slots we need to put components into too. so if you are planning on using this with the Pico Explorer then We will add in which ports we use for each step when the ones suggested don’t work.

Getting started in the world of Raspberry PI coding:

So to get started head to the playpiper website and in the bottom left hand corner hit the set up my pico button. This will ask you to choose your Pico drive. We have added it to a file on our computer to copy to the Pico when we plan to use playpiper. Anyway it will add Piper_circuitpython.uf2 file to the chosen file.

This file is like your PICO operating system and will help the Pico understand the block coding done in playpiper.

I have a short video of me having a play one evening before I introduce it to the Twitch next week.

A quick run through PlayPiper block coding


According to their website Block based Integrated Platform for Embedded Systems or BIPES for short is a quick and reliable way for beginners to design, program, build, deploy and test embedded systems and IOT devices and applications. While this means little to us at the moment we plan to spend this next year learning what this actually means.
This block based coding system is much more versatile than the Playpiper and will allow Emily to do more complex things. We also hope it will allow her to use more of the PICO Explorers features.

I have had a play with this but so far yet to get the light to blink! lol I will add more as I learn more.

Thorny coding

This will be our last step in the exploration of Raspberry pi coding. This is the code before the VS code needed to programme her Raspberry PI Zero for her big project! She will be learning and building her final design along side each other. Duncan will help the build at the weekends. in the meantime we will be learning the code needed for the different stages.

At the moment I can get the Pico explorer to play the pirate theme and I can get the balls bouncing by copying pre existing codes to copy.

Duncan has helped me learn to get it to run the pirate song and then bounce the balls by adapting the two codes.

But I think we are some way off coding ourselves without Duncan’s help at the moment. So Duncan is learning Python to teach me so I can then teach Emily. Its a real family effort as even Miele has popped her head in. all have offered advice on the adventures of the blinking light I have been on.

How are we getting on?

Week one:

Well Emily took to it like a duck to water! not only did we complete the first two stages in the first half hour she moved onto the Traffic lights too.

To read more about this first stage you can read it up here

To follow her progress you can find all coding and electronic posts here. For her Stranger Things project you can keep updated on that here. and as ever we can also be found on both Facebook and Instagram.