One Netbook Per Child
July 19, 2011 12:15 PM   Subscribe

Help me build a Linux-based system for a 3 year old.

The computer is a 10" MSI Wind netbook, and the 3 year old is my daughter. What free (as in juice), fun, and easy-to-use software should I load it up with?
posted by swift to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I've always thought that edubuntu looked really cool for kids. If you try it, let me/us know how it worked out for you!

Other things worth noting.
My introduction to computers was command line on an old radioshack trs-80, and then some kind of unix, followed by redhat linux.

As a kid I didn't know what I was doing, but I sure was able to parrot, and the beauty of those systems is that it's really easy to follow written instructions.

A note pinned to the monitor like this worked wonders:

login: root
password: secret

cd /games

When done:
shutdown - h now

Or whatever, you get the idea. I was able to walk through instructions like that, and pretty quickly went from parroting to understanding what the commands actually DID. It was great!

Never underestimate children, they're better at learning new things than we are.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:27 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Our two-year-old absolutely loves Tux Paint. I haven't used Bambam, but the program that inspired it, AlphaBaby, is excellent.
posted by zsazsa at 1:52 PM on July 19, 2011

I was looking at qimo4kids (and asked a question here), but their sites seems to be down. However I still got the distro, but I've yet to install it.
posted by askmehow at 1:53 PM on July 19, 2011

Algodoo (formerly Phun) is pretty awesome. Lot's of fun to just play with and also useful for teaching basic physics.

The download page has the free demo with packages for ubuntu and debian (not sure if it's in the repositories or not. I would guess not) as well as a tarball package (no compiling, you just have to unpack it if I remember correctly). The full version is $33.

This is the demo video I first saw of it in action. The basics are really easy to use from what I remember, though there are some more advanced controls as well (you can alter friction and gravity for instance). I'm sure a 3 year old would love it!
posted by Mister_Sleight_of_Hand at 3:12 PM on July 19, 2011

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