Micro:bit A Gift Of Programming
Written by Harry Fairhead   
Wednesday, 15 December 2021

The micro:bit is a great way to get started with programming because its easy to use but powerful enough to make interesting things. Get started now...

Disclosure: If you make a purchase at Amazon by clicking on the product images in this article we may earn an affiliate commission. 

The BBC micro:bit is a small single board computer which is very easy to get started with using either a graphical language, MakeCode or Scratch, or the ever-popular Python. After an initial rollout in UK schools, it was relaunched in 2020 with a more powerful version. V2 has an upgraded processor, the Nordic Semiconductor nRF52833 64MHz Cortex, and has 32KBytes of RAM.

You really can get up and running with the micro:bit V2 in no time at all using the micro:bit app and an Android or iOS system or a browser and any desktop machine. Once set up you can produce a program that flashes lights, makes sounds and generally proves that computing is real and fun.

In the rest of this article click on the product image to see more product details at Amazon and for other purchasing options see the micro:bit website.


The basic starter kit (above) comprises a micro:bit and a USB cable, but to make sure that there is plenty to do I would recommend an extended, third-party kit that has some additional components:

Click to buy at Amazon.

The KeyStudio kit doesn't include a micro:bit but it does have a lot of different sensors and controllers that make it possible to create almost anything you can think up. If you want something that is available with or without a micro:bit then try the FREENOVE starter kit:

Click to buy at Amazon.


If you want something that is a more complete project then why not try programming a small robot:

Click to buy at Amazon.

It comes with a micro:bit and you can drive it around interactively or program it. It has an ultrasonic distance sensor so you can program obsticle avoidance, a photo sensor for line following, a buzzer and a general light sensor. Of course, all of the sensors that are built into the micro:bit and it can be unplugged and used without the robot base.

If you want something that looks more "finished" but has a similar range of abilities consider the ELECFREAKS microbit TPbot:

Click to buy at Amazon.

And "finished" isn't always what is required - some like a rough and ready unit that can be customized without spoiling it.

 Finally, even if you have bought a full kit with sensors, you also need a good breakout board. This makes connecting things to your micro:bit very much easier and the KEYESTUDIO Microbit Sensor Breakout Board has a useful power supply:

You can use all of these extras from MakeCode or Python, but my prefered way of working is to use C. If you really want to master the micro:bit then you need to graduate to working in C and getting at the internals of the device. Of course, I can only recommend my excellent book on the subject to get you up to speed: 

Click to buy at Amazon 



  • Harry Fairhead has a hardware background having worked with microprocessors and electronics in general, for many years. He is the author of Micro:bit IoT in C and of books about the Raspberry Pi and Raspberry Pi Pico. A fan of the C language, his book  Fundamental C, takes an in-depth look at C for use in any close-to-the-hardware context. 


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Last Updated ( Sunday, 19 December 2021 )