Software for a young gentleman
February 19, 2010 12:02 PM   Subscribe

Cool software for a 2.5 year old boy.

My 2.5 y/o son loves "working" on my computer. Mostly, he watches fan-made Thomas the Tank Engine videos, and also likes some online painting sites (where there's a black and white line drawing and you can fill in the areas with colors).

I recently downloaded Tuxpaint, and got to thinkin': there must be a metric crapload of cool software for young kids. Please help me find the gems in said crapload.

Painting is good, trains and cars are important. He understands about mouses, and waves them around with gusto, but is still not super proficient at actually pointing at things.
posted by signal to Education (16 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Heh, I came in here to say "supervised YouTube" (my 2.5 year old loves dinosaur ones) and Tuxpaint.

gcompris has a bunch of games for young'uns, but I've found they aren't that great.
posted by DU at 12:05 PM on February 19, 2010

Response by poster: Forgot: I'm on windows && ubuntu. Free is nice. Online is doable.
posted by signal at 12:05 PM on February 19, 2010

The BBC's CBeebies site is excellent. While not everything will be suitable, there are lots of things on there you can do with him, and a few he'll be able to master by himself. Note: most of it requires Flash.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 12:11 PM on February 19, 2010

Best answer: When she was that age, my daughter loved the games on Kneebouncers. Pressing any button makes something happen.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:19 PM on February 19, 2010

I made a list! Some of these are perhaps a bit old, however.
posted by mkb at 12:23 PM on February 19, 2010

Google "wireframe skeleton" and find hundreds of links to this little fun interactive type game (not really a game but I don't know what to call it). If he's not super proficient at pointing a mouse, this may be a bit too advanced, though. But it's worth a look just to see
posted by luvmywife at 12:27 PM on February 19, 2010

Those fan-made Thomas videos are kinda awesome though, aren't they? This kid blows my mind with his prolificacy. My 3-yr-old loves them. He also love the My Little Pony site.
posted by elvissinatra at 12:34 PM on February 19, 2010

Reader Rabbit! My son loved those. And the interactive Golden Books were great.
posted by Eicats at 12:40 PM on February 19, 2010

Seconding Reader Rabbit, and there were some interactive Mercer Mayer books too. Kidpix is good drawing software, with easy features (stamps, etc.)

Maybe this is obvious, but you can get inexpensive old, used software at garage sales and the like. It's not like he's going to know the difference.
posted by msalt at 12:45 PM on February 19, 2010

A couple years back, a friend of mine was using the Gcompris LiveCD on an older computer for their little ones to use. You can boot with the CD, and your kid can mash away on the keyboard without any threat of messing up any operating system stuff.

I think the age range of the applications is pretty broad. I know Tuxpaint was one of the popular apps in there though.
posted by glycolized at 1:02 PM on February 19, 2010

Best answer: On Ubuntu:

sudo apt-get install gcompris gcompris-sound-en gnucap tuxpaint tuxpaint-stamps-default

Gcompris includes mouse coordination training games that our then three-year-old has got good value from. Installing gnucap as well enables a little simulator that lets you wire up batteries and light bulbs and switches.
posted by flabdablet at 1:34 PM on February 19, 2010

Err... my kid really, really liked sitting on my knee while I played Plants Vs Zombies. Possibly that makes me a bad parent. The Aquarium game that Popcap do terrified her though.

She also likes banging on "her" keybaord while I do other things - actually an old wireless keyboard sans batteries that we started using as a decoy initially.

WARNING: 2 year olds will utterly destroy laptop keyboards.
posted by Artw at 2:49 PM on February 19, 2010

kidpix is a nice drawing programme for children. here is a link to get a picture of it
posted by noirnoir at 3:33 PM on February 19, 2010

Dr. Seuss' A B Cs; my kids loved it at 2.5, and still like it at 4.5 (initially they watched, then learned to point and click on the touchpad, and now navigate using the keyboard at will.) Available for Mac and PC.
posted by davejay at 9:08 PM on February 19, 2010
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 11:42 AM on February 20, 2010

Our 2.5 year-old loves Tux Paint, the alphabet section of Starfall, and some of the games & funny videos available though Kidzui. She also loves AlphaBaby, but that's Mac-only.
posted by belladonna at 3:55 PM on February 20, 2010

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