Educational Games For Young Children

I have a 4 year old niece, Minahil. She has an interest in my computer. Her parents don’t own a computer at home, so whenever she is visiting us with her mom, she likes to sit with me when I am working and ask me questions.

I am not an education expert and don’t know how to teach basic computing skills to young children. So I am trying it on my own by allowing her to learn on the basis of her likes and dislikes, easyness and difficulty level and other things.

She can differentiate between Xubuntu, XP and Ubuntu and she thinks that Ubuntu is the coolest “System”. She can find Alphabates on the keyboard and type slowly, She also likes to use TuxPaint but finds it difficult to control the mouse. I can not understand how to teach her about the mouse. May be the mouse we have is too big for her little hands? Or may be children of her age can not learn how to keep their eyes on the screen and move the pointer? I hope we will soon get over it.

I downloaded her Klettres but she lost interest in it very soon. She has already mastered the alphabet. Now I needed something that teaches how to group things, identify things, introduces to the concepts of sizes, shapes, measurements, numbers, addition and subtraction.

Childsplay in Ubuntu Dapper’s repository came with only two games. One is a Memory Card game and the other is a letter game. Minahil played and enjoyed them both but they were too childish for her. She learnt them quickly but the sounds and graphics kept her interested. I realized that children like to repeat things a lot.

I checked out Childsplay’s original website, and found that there are several other games available. But it didn’t explain how to add other games. The link to the documentation page didn’t work. I figured out that may be these other games are available as plugins and checked out the project’s sourceforge files. I downloaded plugin files but later found that Ubuntu has Childsplay installed on a different path. Now I opened synaptic and found that the same plugins package is also available in synaptic. Downloaded it again, this time with synaptic. It taught me once again that I should first look for packages in Synaptic.

So now we have some more games to play with, I haven’t played them with Minahil yet but I am sure that she is going to love them all. There are games that are not for Minahil’s age and skills and I am still looking for ways to teach my little fairy how to use computer as a learning tool. If anyone of you knows about some good online resource on this topic, please let me know.

Published by Noumaan Yaqoob

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Comments

  1. I’m not sure if you are still working on this, but there are some nice programs for children in the Edubuntu offshoot. Tux paint seems to be a popular one.

    I grew up with an old computer when i was six. I mostly played games back then. I learned to use DOS, and i especially remember a neat game called ACLOCK. IT was a fun game that helped me learn how to use the mouse, it also helped me learn to read a clock, and how to match pictures too. it was fun. Sadly i don’t see the same quality in today’s child’s software (at least proprietary software).

  2. In Ubuntu I am able to to to system>>administration>>synaptic package manager search for childsplay and browse the list.

    I am also thoroughly impressed with GCompris

  3. GCompris is really good. My daughter started it at 2 and still has fun with it at 6. There are still parts of it that are too challenging that she is looking forward to being able to do.

    There’s also a windows port for friends who don’t use Linux, but it doesn’t have all the same games. You can purchase a complete windows version for a nominal fee.

  4. I second Teeth Maestro, GCompris is an excellent package with a lot of games in, and all categorized (there’s even a “Learn about the computer” section for mouse/keyboard skills) I’ve loaded up Edubuntu on my childrens PC as I want them to understand there’s more to PC’s then what Microsoft supply!
    My eldest can already use the mouse, type and navigate the web (Firefox of course!) and she’s only 6!

  5. I have also been looking at some good educational stuff for my kid almost turning 4 – have downloaded Kletters let see if they can truly be useful

    Though give Gcompris educational suite a try http://www.ofset.org/gcompris it even has a game to teach the child how to use a mouse – one-click and two click function – including the use of the overall device which leads to a better degree of coordination.

  6. I am located in Karachi, Pakistan. My interest in the educational use of open source software is based on curiosity as you must have read that I am trying to teach my niece (my sister’s daughter). She likes computers but I don’t know how I should introduce her to computers and how to make it fun aswell as educational for her. She is four years old and studying in a pre primary school.

    I am interested in learning how young children should be introduced to computers. I would be thankful if you could help me learn that.

  7. Noumaan, I’m not sure where you are located (the server is German, but you have a quote from Virginia Power). I’m part of an effort to work with children in a Kenyan orphanage using Edubuntu. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in working on educational uses of Edubuntu.

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