Help me trick out my kid's Mac
February 23, 2009 7:23 AM   Subscribe

Help me trick out my old Mac for my preschooler.

I'm handing my old G4 down to my son who is almost 4 years old. What kind of fun learning software (for Mac OS X 10.4 - PPC) do you recommend?

He's starting to learn to read and he likes trains, dinosaurs and space. I'm looking for educational games that he can enjoy on a rainy day. I'm thinking simple reading/spelling skills, matching games.

The computer is an old G4 "Sawtooth" PowerMac, 450MHz, 768 gigs of RAM, running OS X 10.4.11. It has trouble with Flash, and there is only 32MB of VRAM, so I want to avoid graphics-intensive games.

I'd also like to hear your own experience with setting up computers for kids. And if you have peripheral hardware recommendations as well, please share!
posted by mds35 to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Wow. That's a lot of RAM. ;-)
posted by schwa at 8:36 AM on February 23, 2009

Response by poster: Oops. I meant 768 megabytes of RAM.
posted by mds35 at 8:37 AM on February 23, 2009

Best answer: One game I have fond memories of playing as a child is "Zoombinis". It's mainly just a fairly simple series of logic games based around the migration of a colourful race of creatures called Zoombinis. It should work on a Mac with your system specification and is pretty good at encouraging logic and maths skills.
posted by Spamfactor at 8:57 AM on February 23, 2009

Best answer: I've been a big fan of the ABC's on Starfall. It keeps my 4 1/2 year old well engaged. Not sure how it'll run on your machine but worth a look for sure.

He might be a little old for it but check out AlphaBaby too.
posted by fenriq at 8:59 AM on February 23, 2009

Seconding "Zoombinis Logical Journey". My kids loved that game and played it endlessly. I can't find any solid info, though, whether the newest version plays under OSX, or requires Classic in OSX.

If it plays natively in OSX (or if 10.4 supports Classic...I can't recall) I'd heartily recommend the game.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:08 AM on February 23, 2009

Best answer: I did exactly what you propose with my old G4; There is a thread somewhere about websites for kids but I won't look for it since most of them are flash based. My 4 year old daughter loves the drawing software Kidpix. Just be aware that Broderbund sells Kidpix versions for Windows and OS9; the one I linked is the latest Mac version.
posted by TedW at 9:20 AM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Holy crap, KidPix! I spent SO MUCH time on that as a kid!
posted by Tu13es at 9:26 AM on February 23, 2009

Best answer: nthing Zoombinis! Man, I played that game when I was older, on sleepovers. We developed complex backstory and everything, no joke.
What about some drawing applications? Tux Paint is delightful.
posted by Mizu at 10:01 AM on February 23, 2009

Best answer: nthing Zoombinis. I also super recommend any of the Putt-Putt games. Computer games were so much more fun when I was 5.
posted by papayaninja at 10:40 AM on February 23, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks, guys. It's a hit so far!
posted by mds35 at 8:38 AM on March 1, 2009

Response by poster: Also installed Stella last night and ROMs of the Atari 2600 games I used to have. Will try and get some of the new $15 USB Atari 2600 joysticks and try them out.
posted by mds35 at 7:09 AM on March 2, 2009

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