With my daughter nearing 3 years old, the topic of “how best to introduce a young kid to computers” has been on my mind a great deal. And since my home (and work) computing life revolves around Linux, the ideal is to introduce her to the wide, wonderful world of Linux and Open Source.
There are really two big hurdles here.
The first hurdle is to get her excited about it - truly interested in using it and thinking of it as a fun and enjoyable thing. How do you get a toddler truly pumped up about Linux? Books, cartoons and songs.
Unfortunately, using music doesn't really seem to be an option. I just don't think Richard Stallman singing his Free Software Song is going to get my three-year-old daughter interested in Linux.
There are a handful of books out there to introduce kids to programming – such as "Python for Kids" and "Super Scratch Programming Adventure" – but these are really meant for older children.
Since there was a lack of a good toddler-focused Linux books, I went ahead and wrote one called "Linux for Hank." The goal was to write a fun story that would get a kid interested in “Linux”...and, truthfully, to give Linux-nerd daddies something more fun to read to their kids than most of the books out there. It seems to be doing the trick from the reports I've received.
Which brings us to the second hurdle: Finding a Linux distro that a toddler will actually enjoy using with minimal help from adults.
In my house we've tried quite a few kid-focused distros with mixed results.
Click headline to read about them and the results--
Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc