Kid Stuff

As a kid, I got started on computers early. My first computer was a Texas Instruments model 99/4A. I originally used it primarily as a gaming console, but we also had two books full of BASIC program listings to type in. My pre-school had the same computer and even had the TI Logo environment. At other times in my childhood I got to play with other BASIC and Logo environments, mostly on Apple II-series computers. There was plenty of story-telling and other software over the years that blurred the line between gaming and programming. I can’t remember any of them besides Mario Paint and Story Machine.

I would love to get my daughter started on computers early, but I obviously can’t start with stuff like C++ before she can even really read or type. Most of the kid-type stuff that I grew up with is long gone. Modern Logo environments do exist, though. and there are other child-friendly languages and tools, to boot. So, here’s a list of the ones I’ve found. They’re free unless marked otherwise:

FMS Logo (Windows)

MSW Logo (Windows)

ACS Logo (Mac OS X)

AgentSheets (Windows, Mac OS X, $)

Squeak Etoys (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux)
Scratch (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux)

Alice (Windows, Mac OS X)

ToonTalk (Windows)

StageCast Creator (Windows, Mac OS X, any UNIX that can run Java, $)

Toca Boca Games (iOS, $)

GameMaker (Mac/Win/HTML5, $ and free versions)

Gamestar Mechanic (web-based, free)

Kodu (Windows, XBL, free)

Edubuntu Packages (Linux, free)

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