Let's make a portable play station for a baby.
July 6, 2010 9:05 AM   Subscribe

1x 1 year old daughter, 1x Sony Vaio and 1x IT Team that will do whatever I ask them to (nicely). How can I turn my old Vaio into a mini entertainment and gaming system for my little fairy?

My daughter loves to mess around with phones and computers and has already figured out how to use a mouse and, of course, an iPhone. (Okay, she doesn't "use" it but she enjoys playing around with it, moving photos etc.)

She doesn't watch any tv shows at the moment but will shortly and I'm sure there are cute little games out there that she'd enjoy on the computer.

What can I do to strip my old laptop down to basics, install only the necessary software so that it runs whatever we'll need to run and make it fun for her over the next year or two? What games do you know of that entertain 1-2 year olds (for 2 minutes or more)?

Laptop is basic from 2006: 80GB of memory, 500Mhz and about 1GB of RAM. I think.
posted by HopStopDon'tShop to Technology (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
As the parent of a slightly older toddler, teach 'em they can play on one and you're teaching them they can play on all.
posted by k8t at 9:11 AM on July 6, 2010

Best answer: One thing to keep in mind is that it should run older console emulators fairly decently (although the people at work probably can't help you with that.) Certainly NES, Sega, SNES, Genesis. Hopefully PSX as well. You can add a USB gamepad for a fairly authentic experience. I'm not sure how many console games for kids that little have been made, or if a kid that little might enjoy some of the titles made for older ones, but it might be worth a shot?

You could also emulate older PCs, such as the Apple ][ series, which I seem to recall having some pretty fun (and simple) kids games. There was a Broderbund (sic?) side-scroller I used to love, and there were lots and lots of others. Amiga had a space-station exploration shooter that was also fun. But I was probably at least five at the time.

It looks like http://www.broderbund.com/ and http://www.reader-rabbit.com/ still exist, but according to wiki were all bought out by "Riverdeep LLC" a few years back. You may want to look through their stuff.

Simple painting programs can be fun. Kidpix was always a big hit in the early Mac days.
Here are freeware Windows alternative to Kidpix (can't vouch for them personally):
Canvastic appears to be slightly more complicated (and says it's for K-8).

Maybe people with more recent experience can make better suggestions.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:43 AM on July 6, 2010

Best answer: When my little princess was little we'd set up our really old (late 1980s) video camera so that the feed would go right to the TV and set it next to the TV. She loved dancing around and seeing herself on the TV. If you could set up a webcam she might get a kick out of that.
posted by TooFewShoes at 9:59 AM on July 6, 2010

Best answer: Tuxpaint. My kidlet was obsessed with it from age 2-4. Truly creative, beautiful little app.


Also, wrap the whole thing in three layers of plastic.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:16 AM on July 6, 2010

Best answer: 2nd'ing TuxPaint! My Daughter LOVED it when she was 1-2. I downloaded a bunch of B+W pictures and added them as coloring books. My Laptop was a Tablet so she got to "paint" with it as well!

As of a year ago, she was big on websites like sproutonline.com nickjr.com and pbskids.org
posted by stew560 at 11:16 AM on July 6, 2010

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