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GPL Edutainment Software

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the number-munchers-2k8 dept.

Education 190

haxot writes "I'm the technologist at a local library. In our lab, I've managed to get some recognition for tools such as GIMP and Open Office, and even such toys as Bomberman and BZFlag. Now I'm turning towards the children's computers, which are mostly filled with ancient, buggy, rather boring games that try to be interactive TV shows rather than something entertaining. I'm looking for good OSS games and education suites (preferably multi-platform — I want to be ready for an OS switch to Linux). I'm not picky about the license; I'd just like the software to actually have that 'neat' appeal. Some examples I've found already are Gcompris and Tux Paint. My focus is the 2-year-old to 8-year-old range, but I'm happy to hear teen-oriented suggestions too. Since it's a public library, however, I can't have any software on the computers that is risqué, gory, or violent."

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Media production for Linux (And OSX, And Windows) (5, Informative)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203620)

This is my list of cool apps, although probably more for teens, any smart motivated kid will go far:

Pencil, A traditional 2D Animation Software (Linux, OS X, Windows - GPL)
http://www.les-stooges.org/pascal/pencil/ [les-stooges.org]
Newly discovered by me, simple, fun, and effective.

Blender, A 3D content creation suite (Linux, OS X, Windows - GPL)
http://www.blender.org/ [blender.org]
You can do video compositing, and sound, and a whole lot more.

Renoise, A music program based based on the design principles of the module tracker (Linux, OS X, Windows - Shareware)
http://www.renoise.com/ [renoise.com]
Love this app, very educational for anyone who wants to learn from the ground up. Optionally there's the less powerful MilkyTracker [milkytracker.net] which is GPL

Audacity, software for recording and editing sound (Linux, OS X, Windows - GPL)
http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]
A sound editing workhorse.

Processing, a programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation, and interactions (Linux, OS X, Windows - GPL)
http://processing.org/ [processing.org]
Probably for the gifted class, a very results oriented way to learn programming

Re:Media production for Linux (And OSX, And Window (0, Redundant)

Annymouse Cowherd (1037080) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203646)

No one under the age of 13 could EVER use Blender. Even I can't >_>

Re:Media production for Linux (And OSX, And Window (3, Funny)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203682)

I disagree. Although telling them to have fun with it is expecting a bit much.

Re:Media production for Linux (And OSX, And Window (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23203728)

Kids can wrap their brains around any weird thing -- it's people OVER the age of 13 who have problems with Blender.

Re:Media production for Linux (And OSX, And Window (3, Interesting)

Facetious (710885) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203882)

Tell that to my 10-year-old son. He does great with it, and he teaches himself by watching tutorials on Youtube.

Re:Media production for Linux (And OSX, And Window (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23204344)

The OP said his focus is on 2-8 year olds. While it's cool your 10 year old enjoys blender (and I think Blender rocks), it's outside the scope of the original post. Better to keep the discussion on topic.

Some 10 year olds will enjoy Blender, but it's not exactly a user-friendly (certainly not child friendly) interface. Hence the need for tutorials on YouTube. My 11 year old tried and enjoyed 3ds Max (had no problem picking it up), but thought Blender was completely unintuitive.

Re:Media production for Linux (And OSX, And Window (2, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204474)

I'll bet they'd learn it easier than you.

That's not a slight on you, just that it's well known that kids pick up things quicker than adults. That's why "child-proof" caps really end up being adult-proof -- my parents always used to ask me to open them, as a kid.

Sorry, I'll get off your lawn now.

Re:Media production for Linux (And OSX, And Window (3, Insightful)

ZenDragon (1205104) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203892)

Its absolutely amazing and a true testament to the power of open source that programs like Blender actually exist. I mean there is obviously hundreds of thousands of hours of dev time behind that program. Competitors sell similar programs for tens of thousand of dollars, and you can go down that for free. Just... awesome.

Re:Media production for Linux (And OSX, And Window (4, Informative)

Narishma (822073) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204132)

Yeah but Blender wasn't always open source.

Re:Media production for Linux (And OSX, And Window (4, Informative)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204694)

Bender and OpenOffice.org are both formerly closed source programs. OO.o (then StarOffice) was purchased by Sun and released so that they would have a viable alternative to MS Office on their platform, while Blender wwent under and was purchased through donations from the FOSS community.

Re:Media production for Linux (And OSX, And Window (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204700)

While I'm here, the submitter should talk to the guys on the K12OS.org mailing list. They deal with this issue all the time and will probably have the most to say about it.

Re:Media production for Linux (And OSX, And Window (4, Funny)

HeavensBlade23 (946140) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203968)

I think small children would have an easier and significantly more fun time playing with a kitchen blender than trying to learn the application.

Re:Media production for Linux (And OSX, And Window (1)

leothar (896958) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204162)

Why was this modded Troll? Blender isn't exactly suited for 2-8 year olds...

Edutainment - games (3, Informative)

Lord Satri (609291) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204740)

Here's the educative games I suggest.

http://www.food-force.com/ [food-force.com] Made by the U.N. Free, MacOS X or Windows. (sorry no Linux afaik) Probably the best one in my list for the 6-8 years old.

http://www.tqworld.com/ [tqworld.com] - Tranquility. After years and years, this game has something no other game offers. Well suited for the youngsters. Free, but not open source.

http://www.stopdisastersgame.org/ [stopdisastersgame.org] U.N. too. Free and web-based. Excellent. Probably best for 8 years old (older ones of your range). Surprisingly informative.

http://www.stepmania.com/ [stepmania.com] Not sure that ones counts as edutainment, but it sure is good for the children! Open source and available for all platforms.

http://www.openttd.org/ [openttd.org] A railroad tycoon open source clone (gosh I'm getting old ;-). Suitable for your oldest ones?

For the curious ones, here's the other worthy (subjective) open source games I discovered with time. http://del.icio.us/Satri/game+opensource [del.icio.us]

http://www.filegate.net/linux4kids/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23203628)

You might want to look at http://www.filegate.net/linux4kids/ [filegate.net] to see if anything meets your needs.

Mindrover (5, Informative)

khayman80 (824400) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203640)

I highly recommend "Mindrover". In this game, you build and program a little robot that goes through obstacle courses, fights other robots, etc. It's got an intuitive graphical programming language (though you can edit the files directly for a more hands on approach). You get to program the robot's default behavior, define how it responds to threats, program "hunting" strategies, etc.

There's a demo available online, I recommend at least trying it out: http://www.mindrover.com/ [mindrover.com]

Oh, and there's a Linux version too.

Re:Mindrover (1, Informative)

Rudeboy777 (214749) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203694)

It does look kinda cool, but doesn't seem to meet the poster's GPL requirement

Re:Mindrover (1)

reset_button (903303) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203884)

While the headline says "GPL", the summary says "I'm not picky about the license". I guess the poster doesn't know what the L in GPL stands for...

Roborally (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23204220)

Somewhat similar and GPL:
Botsnscouts [sf.net] is a Java version of Roborally (though without option cards).

But use the CVS version, it's way better than the ancient release.

Take a look at MIT Scratch (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23203652)

Website is here [mit.edu] . It's a different approach to teaching programming fundamentals to kids, somewhat akin to the concept behind LOGO.

Re:Take a look at MIT Scratch (2, Informative)

mmurphy000 (556983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203904)

And, for us programming geeks, Scratch is built on Squeak [squeak.org] , the open source implementation of Smalltalk.

hahaha (0, Troll)

VoltCurve (1248644) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203658)

Stereotypical Linux evangelist, working at the Library, pimpin' out his "softwares". Not that I have a problem with Linux (on the contrary), just like mocking evangelists

Re:hahaha (4, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203746)

As a library worker, it's his job to make sure that the computers run the best they can for the least amount of money. If he's more capable with the free software than he is with the proprietary stuff, then he's not so much an "evangelist" as a good employee.

Re:hahaha (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204034)

True, although it's hard to say from the summary whether the submitter is actually opposed to commercial software or not. If he is, shame on him for reducing his options... but hopefully he's looking for quality software first, and its free/commercial status is a secondary consideration.

Re:hahaha (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204664)

More likely is that he knows how to find the commercial software and is running into trouble finding GPL software. And he's wondering if it's because it's just not out there, or if he isn't using the right resources.

At least, if I were a library worker, I'd be very concerned with keeping on top of ways-to-find-information.

Re:hahaha (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204812)

typical capitalist pig. Trying to force the government to subsidize private enterprise so these firms do not actually have to hire people to innovate new products to compete with cheaper alternatives. Not that I have a problem with the corporate dole, to the contrary, I like the fact that executives become extremely wealthy at the expense of the average taxpayer, I am just mocking evangelicals that love the dole but hate paying taxes.

Anyone else laugh at the last two sentences? (4, Funny)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203672)

My focus is the 2-year old to 8-year old range, but I'm happy to hear teen-oriented suggestions too. Since it's a public library, however, I can't have any software on the computers that is risqué, gory, or violent.
No gore, cuz it is a public library. Otherwise it'd be cool for the 2-8 year olds.

Re:Anyone else laugh at the last two sentences? (1)

gruvmeister (1259380) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203768)

No gore, cuz it is a public library. Otherwise it'd be cool for the 2-8 year olds.

Well yeah, duh. Excessive and gratuitous violence is fine, as long as there's nothing sex-related. However, even using the word 'sex' will cause the family values of our culture to deteriorate to the point where we're having pedophile orgies in the street.

Collection Development Policies in Play (1)

Mark Cicero (734120) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204314)

Well yeah, duh. Excessive and gratuitous violence is fine, as long as there's nothing sex-related. However, even using the word 'sex' will cause the family values of our culture to deteriorate to the point where we're having pedophile orgies in the street.
It's not quite that simple. The collection development policies for graphic novels generally get applied to video games because they have been around longer and are easy to steal from another library.
  • G or Family rated stuff for the under 12s which means nothing at all allowed. E.g. Kim Possible, Disney Princesses, Peach Girl (I'm blanking. There's more but its been about 4 years since I made a children's gn collection sorry)
  • Teen -- Items for the 12 to 14 year olds. This is for the older kids still in the children's section or their parents. It generally allows for comic violence (punch upside the head) but absolutely no blood or gunplay. E.g. Innuyasha, Naruto, Bone
  • 16+ -- Items in the teen collection that have one or two of the bad list (blood, violence, boobies) but not all three (depending on the library this could require no nudity which means half of Sandman is in the teen section but the other half is in adult). E.g. Astro City, Essential (Xmen, Superman, fill in the blank), Alan Moore stuff
  • Adult -- For the adult collection. Eg. Transmetropolitan, Preacher.

Re:Anyone else laugh at the last two sentences? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204492)

It's amazing -- you quoted it, yet you obviously didn't read it...

My focus is the 2-year old to 8-year old range, but I'm happy to hear teen-oriented suggestions too.

Going back to my youth (4, Informative)

joeflies (529536) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203678)

It seems that there are modern day ports of LOGO [berkeley.edu] and Robot Odyssey [happypenguin.org] , both of which were pretty influential in my early education and gravitated me towards computer science ever since.

Disclaimer, I haven't actually tried the software in the links above.

Re:Going back to my youth (2, Informative)

Angostura (703910) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203708)

There's a very nice port of Logo for OS X here: http://www.alancsmith.co.uk/logo/index.html [alancsmith.co.uk] . It's free as in beer, but not as in speech.

Re:Going back to my youth (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204720)

Ri-li is an awesome snake-like train game which has questions pertaining to the constitution in between levels. It's fun even for adults.

Gcompris ? Need an uglier name please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23203684)

I installed GCompris my laptop. My wife saw it, and asked 'what the heck is Gcompris?' "What is Gimp?" Can someone please come up with better names for some of these programs?

So far my 3.5 year old son has a blast spelling his name in OpenOffice. He hasn't enjoyed Gcompris, as most of the games seem targeted towards older children and tend to be a bit buggy.

Re:Gcompris ? Need an uglier name please (2, Informative)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203706)

GCompris -> French: J'ai Compris -> English: I have understood

educational games suck (3, Insightful)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203690)

One thing I remember from working at a school years ago is that educational games tend to suck really bad.

There's just no motivation to be fun. Speaking from a proprietary standpoint, what factors does an educator look for when deciding which games to purchase? Cost and what the learning topics are. "Here's a game that teaches multiplication and is $10 cheaper than all the others." Fun doesn't fit into the equation. And it's not like many educators are test-driving these games either. Oh, and these are typically poorly written games too.

My point being, the educational games sector is filled with poorly made products that feature very little fun and are a pain to administer. Hopefully some open source options don't suffer from the same issues. Hopefully you'll be able to sort through the crap and find some good ones though.

Re:educational games suck (2, Insightful)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203756)

Bah, you just haven't tried the right ones. Obviously The Oregon Trail didn't suck, it was played by millions of a full decade. (I'm sure it's still on most school computers today.) Rocky's Boots, which badly needs a revival, was a great way to learn logic and programming. I had it on my C-64 when I was a kid, and I don't go a week without thinking back to something I learned in that game.

Re:educational games suck (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203814)

Speaking of Oregon Trail... Anybody know of any good open source clones?

Re:educational games suck (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23204058)

http://www.virtualapple.org/

Online emulator for all Apple II and Apple IIgs games. Includes Oregon Trail, Number Munchers and lots others.

Re:educational games suck (1)

kkiller (945601) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204656)

Sadly it uses ActiveX... So useless on Linux.

Re:educational games suck (1)

cstdenis (1118589) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203954)

The sim series of games was fun and at least somewhat educational as well.

And there are lots of them. Wikipedia lists: SimCity, SimEarth SimAnt SimLife SimFarm SimRefinery SimTower SimHealth SimIsle SimTown SimPark SimGolf SimTunes SimSafari SimCopter Streets of SimCity Theme Park World Theme Park Inc Sid Meier's SimGolf MySims

Re:educational games suck (3, Interesting)

Jorophose (1062218) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204104)

I remember SimHealth...

Wasn't that the one funded by some US health org to try and get people to fix the health problem in the US, Canada, and other places facing the same situation?

Of course, I don't think anybody got a "good" score in that game. We went after it for years and barely got close.

SimEarth was fun too. A bit less "educational" from a quick glance, but playing in it you do understand concepts of how species need some things and will adapt to satisfy needs and how they react to other species, how the planet reacts to events, etc.

SimCity, however, is without a doubt the most "educational". It teaches you that everything you do is wrong and you better try harder to make it right. :)

Re:educational games suck (1)

yomegaman (516565) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204654)

Was Oregon Trail really educational? What exactly did it teach? M.U.L.E. was a much cooler strategy/allocation game, plus it teaches kids the important lesson that gambling is fun and always profitable!

Re:educational games suck (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203896)

While on the whole your right, the 1st game i remember playing was a maths challenge on the acorn, took you through a maths based version of jack and the beanstalk. never finished the damn thing tho.

In the Ubuntu repos i spotted a few but none seamed promising, id suggest finding a computer with over 512 ram and using a liveCD to test out the games, if you find anything, as its OSS chances are it will be available for windows too.

However here are very few programs for kids under GPL, they dont really conform to the "software thats going to get you laid principle" or "software somebody has paid for".

Re:educational games suck (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204572)

There's software that can get you laid? Tell me more.

Re:educational games suck (1)

P51mus (1266460) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204312)

Sturgeon's law? [wikipedia.org] 90% of everything is crap.

There were some educational games that I was quite fond of, though, like the Dr Brain [wikipedia.org] series of games that was from Sierra. Island, Lost mind, and Time warp in particular.

As a bonus, I happen to find mad science amusing.

Re:educational games suck (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204536)

"My point being, the educational games sector is filled with poorly made products that feature very little fun and are a pain to administer."

This is true for the entire software industry not just educational games. Also I think branding something 'educational' is kinda silly, education happens when you learn something new and modify your worldview to account for it. As a child in the 60's I loved Disney comics, adults told me they were a waste of time yet when I got older I realised I had I learnt stuff like Bolivia has emerald mines and many other tit-bits of knowledge from them. I also credit my appreciation of classical music to Bugs Bunny and Co.

A formal education and a good computer game are in fact similar, they both take a while to learn the basics, are somewhat repetitive, keep the next goal just out of reach and are fun for those willing to explore on their own. The difference (and the thing people are really complaining about) is the subject matter.

About 15yrs ago I wrote a game for MBA students at a university here in Australia. The object of the game was to grow a bussiness using a particular management theroy (the details and name of which escape me). It was textual and turn based, it ran for one semester and the students entered a budget once a week as part of an ongoing assignment. The lecturer I wrote it for did the testing, this worked well because I thought the game was boring and the programming was fun and he thought the opposite. For some reason the (adult) students perception of 'fun and educational' seemed to be heavily correlated with their ranking in the game even though the game was provided as a tool not a test. ;)

starbuckt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23203718)

Frozen Bubble is fairly mindless but endlessly entertaining. I believe it comes pre-packaged with some distros. There is also a Java port.

http://www.frozen-bubble.org/ [frozen-bubble.org]

Lemonade Stand (1)

athloi (1075845) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203764)

http://www.codenautics.com/lemonade/ [codenautics.com]

Just like the Apple II classic. Teach them capitalism so they don't end up on drugs ;)

Re:Lemonade Stand (4, Funny)

HeavensBlade23 (946140) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203980)

Capitalism will teach them dealing drugs is a much better hobby than doing them.

Re:Lemonade Stand (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204352)

Just like the Apple II classic. Teach them capitalism so they don't end up on drugs ;)
Am I the only one find it funny that the original game (shipped on a cassette tape and loads in 16k Apple II) has morphed into a 1MB compressed file for Windows XP?

Re:Lemonade Stand (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204506)

Assuming it was a re-implementation, then it probably wasn't written in hand-coded assembly.

Otherwise, that 1 meg probably includes an Apple II emulator. Did your entire Apple II box fit into a 1 meg compressed file?

there's Sqeak e-Toys and others (2, Interesting)

Locutus (9039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203776)

Sqeak is a Smalltalk-like language and environment, runs on many platforms and has a package called e-Toys. It's on the OLPC

I believe they have other education software too so here's a link for you to search for yourself:

http://www.squeak.org/Features/Education/ [squeak.org]

LoB

crap, it's Squeak not Sqeak dumbass (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203794)

I hate when that happens. :-/

LoB

Dope Wars (4, Funny)

ceroklis (1083863) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203778)

A very educational game to learn all you need to know about drugs, guns, prostitutes, loan sharks and New York geography. Highly recommended! http://dopewars.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

Re:Dope Wars (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204176)

The kids already have that on their calculators.

MegaMek (for the older teens) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23203788)

I used to love playing Battletech the board game when I was middle-high school aged. Check out the java version available for all platforms, its pretty fun and true to the board game, though could use a UI facelift to make it a bit more intuitive for first time users.

megamek link [sourceforge.net]

What about Phun (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23203804)

http://phun.cs.umu.se/wiki

It is really intuitive to use and the name just about says it all. It is however perhaps slightly heavier on system requirements than other 2D educational games out there (more so if you start playing with large volumes of water)

www.edu-nix.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23203818)

A live CD and Windows Free Software installer, also a good listing of apps that are edutainment-related.

http://www.edu-nix.org/livecdthree/

KDE Games, KDE-EDU (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23203842)

You should at least take a look at the kde4 and [kde.org] Education [kde.org] projects. Arguably, they're the best parts of KDE4 (no argument about the games; they *are* the best parts), and since KDE4 is destined for Windows [kde.org] too, it's cross-platform, although I don't know what state the Windows port is actually in.

Re:KDE Games, KDE-EDU (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204170)

Duplicate link. Try this one http://edu.kde.org/ [kde.org] .

Physics and Software (4, Informative)

macneib (1038802) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203844)

Phun is an educational, entertaining and somewhat addictive piece of software for designing and exploring 2D multi-physics simulations in a cartoony fashion.

http://www.vrlab.umu.se/research/phun/ [vrlab.umu.se]

Alice is an innovative 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web. Alice is a teaching tool for introductory computing. It uses 3D graphics and a drag-and-drop interface to facilitate a more engaging, less frustrating first programming experience.

http://www.alice.org/ [alice.org]

You can't. Really? (2, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203880)

Since it's a public library, however, I can't have any software on the computers that is risqué, gory, or violent.

Exactly why not? Does your library also lack risqué, gory, and violent books? What the hell sort of library is this?

Re:You can't. Really? (2, Informative)

TomRK1089 (1270906) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203998)

I'm pretty sure that, given the ages specified in the actual post, there'd be plenty of parents objecting to that material being aimed at their children, just as parents protest the inclusion of said material on television. That's not to say there aren't kids (like myself at that age) who will be reading those books anyways, but I suppose the idea is that it requires the kid to actively seek it out, rather than stumble onto it rather easily.

try K12LTSP (2, Informative)

dalesyk (302267) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203914)

Take a look at http://k12ltsp.org They focus on educational software and thin clients. Both would be a good fit for a library environment.

Alice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23203936)

Perhaps a bit older than you were looking for

Storytelling Alice - Designed for Middle School
http://www.alice.org/kelleher/storytelling/index.html [alice.org]

Frozen Bubbles (1)

RiffRafff (234408) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203946)

Frozen Bubbles. Fun, and teaches some geometry.

http://www.frozen-bubble.org/ [frozen-bubble.org]

Free alternative (3, Insightful)

meregistered (895132) | more than 6 years ago | (#23203982)

Hello

Having children in that age range, and having looked to some degree I haven't found any GPL educational games that really got my kids interest (Tux paint held the 6 year olds attention for an afternoon).

What has held my children's interest are games on the following websites:
http://www.pbskids.org/ [pbskids.org]
http://funschool.kaboose.com/ [kaboose.com]
http://www.starfall.com/ [starfall.com]
http://kids.discovery.com/ [discovery.com]

Re:Free alternative (2, Informative)

El_Oscuro (1022477) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204276)

If you have Linux, goto http://www.cnr.com [cnr.com] . In addition to the usual Linux games for Linspire/Ubuntu, they have a ton of links to Linux friendly web games. One of my girls favourites is http://www.clubpenguin.com [clubpenguin.com] , which ironically does not have anything to do with Linux, but runs fine on it.

Re:Free alternative (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204328)

http://www.jacksonpollock.org/ [jacksonpollock.org]

Most young kids will love it. You can argue if it's educational or not, but that debate itself may be educational.

"Why is it not art Daddy? It looks like my dwawings."

Links to web based games (1)

LandOfConfu$ion (1277550) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204010)

Web based games (usually in flash) can be fun, especially for the younger kids.

For 2-5 I like www.poissonrouge.com [poissonrouge.com]

Off the wall suggestion... (1)

TomRK1089 (1270906) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204018)

If your library has a CD collection, you could see about installing AudioSurf, and having the kids get a sense of how different certain styles of music are. That's reeeally stretching what could be considered 'educational' though.

OpenDisc and OpenEducationDisc (4, Informative)

PineHall (206441) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204028)

Check out OpenEducationDisc [theopendisc.com] and OpenDisc [theopendisc.com] .

DroidQuest, a Robot Odyssey clone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23204038)

For learning basic circuitry, logic gates and wiring in a fun way, I'd have once recommended Robot Odyssey for the Apple IIe. These days, there's a java clone called DroidQuest [comcast.net] .

Clones of Classic Titles (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204082)

SimCity was just open-sourced, and there is the even better Lincity-NG, but where are the open source clones of Number Numbers, Carmen Sandiego, Oregon Trail, etc?

kde-edu is a nice start, but if there were more education programs, I think Linux would make more inroads in schools. Introducing kids early on to the concept of free software, and choices in picking your software is very important.

Tux Paint Recommendation (1)

ICA (237194) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204090)

You already mentioned Tux Paint, but I wanted to express how truly great that program is for kids.

I found it several years ago when my 7 year old was 2 and he loved it. Since then, my current 5 and 3 year olds, along with many cousins and friends have all truly enjoyed it.

It is probably the best example of how to design open source software for kids, in my mind.

Phun, fun physics sandbox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23204122)

Give Phun a whirl, its a physics sandbox thats made by a university student from sweden. My first thought when i saw it was; Damn, wish i had this when i was a kid :-)

From the site (http://phun.cs.umu.se/wiki/About):
"Phun is meant to be a playground where people can be creative. It can also be used as an educational tool to learn about physics concepts such as restitution and friction."

It has linux binarys avalible and the author is planning on releasing the code, just hasn't decided on what licence to use.

Video of gameplay http://phun.cs.umu.se/wiki/Media

Turtle Graphics (1)

wilsoniya (902930) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204140)

E.g. KTurtle. It's fun and very approachable for little'uns who are interested in programming and/or art.

I remember endless frustration during my initial attempts to grasp more traditional languages--they generally depend on a great deal of prerequisite knowledge and experience which a beginner hasn't accumulated yet. In elementary school I was exposed to some variety of Turtle Graphics on an old Mac and made some fun, albeit simple, pictures. The visual feedback offered is a vastly more effective reenforcement than console output (for me at least). Event though it is (or can be) a very simple language, it includes staple concepts of most languages.

KTurtle has a nice reference guide included with it, so a student (or instructor instructing students) can absorb the language at their own pace.

Perhaps ambitious students would realize their potential and move up to a general purpose language. Maybe even C/C++ and OpenGL to further explore graphics!

Anagramarama (1)

Ztyx (604412) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204150)

You should definitely have a look at Anagramarama [coralquest.com] . It's a fun game for many different ages, and can certainly be played in groups. Also with/without adults. Also exists in other languages than English. The game is available to GNU/Linux, Windows and Mac and BeOS. Inface it should probably work on all platforms that support SDL [libsdl.org] .

Edutainment (1)

Haoie (1277294) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204152)

Maybe I'm just jaded, but there are very, very few examples of edutainment that kids actually like playing. When I was young, Zoombinis was great to play at school, but that was about it.

You really use GIMP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23204160)

GIMP? Bah, Paint.net (http://www.getpaint.net) is where it's at :)

Also, though definately not one for the kiddies (and also will fall under your gory category), Typing of the Deat, while not free, will teach teenagers to type far better than any Mavis Beacon stuff they have at school.

Bug Squish, Enigma... (1)

desierto (568467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204180)

Bug Squish, think by the same creators of Tux Paint. Popular with the 2-8 crowd. Also Enigma is a fun game, the puzzles are difficult, but it will keep a kid occupied for a few minutes.

Not GPL but otherwise free, ZoeyBot.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23204222)

ZoeyBot is a free service for kids, parents and educators. It's Disney DXD meets Wikipedia/google for kids.

alice -- carnegie mellon's programming for kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23204238)

http://www.alice.org/

KDE4 Education and Games (3, Informative)

MtHuurne (602934) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204240)

The KDE Education [kde.org] package contains some impressive applications. The KDE Games [kde.org] package contains some nice casual games. In KDE4, many of them were given new good-looking SVG graphics. Also since KDE4, they can be run on Windows and Mac OS X natively (and on Linux too of course). The Windows port is a work in progress; maybe not something you should install tomorrow, but something to keep an eye on.

Tenative Plans (1)

beth_gis (836679) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204292)

I'm helping a local park get started with an outdoor classroom (no computers outside), but we are hoping to have a "rainy-day room" with a few computer games. Since we expect younger children we were going to have the donated computers (i.e. older) running on ubuntu with Google Earth; the plan is to have prepared a KML of natural areas within and near the park with lots of things for the children to click. We also wanted to have a television with the auto-focus 'microscope' at http://www.eyeclops.com/ [eyeclops.com] . The possibility of Sketchup or Scratch has been discussed.

well.. (1)

kris.montpetit (1265946) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204296)

scribbles [atebits.com] is a great program for drawing that Im actually grooming to replace photoshop for simple drawing-but is also meant to be a simple childrens' drawing program. Unfortunately, its a mac only program so linux or windoze could be a problem.. neverball [icculus.org] on the otherhand is an awesome cross platform game that is free.Highly addictive though-you may want to consider putting a time limit on it!

Edubuntu? (3, Interesting)

linuxwrangler (582055) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204362)

I'd find a machine and see what you think of Edubuntu ("Linux for Young Human Beings").

http://www.edubuntu.org/UsingEdubuntu [edubuntu.org]

My daughter is 3-1/2 and loves the stuff on Linux. She was typing her name on TuxPaint before she turned three but we had to click on the icons for her to set it to text or other modes since the mouse was too big and unwieldy.

So I bought her a laptop mouse which is perfect for her small hand. Big mistake. She will now sneak into the computer and start up "Paint Penguins" (TuxPaint), draw something, print it and come show us.

If she's bored with that she plays "Running Penguins" (SuperTux) or "Bubble Penguins" (Frozen Bubbles) or steals my Blackberry to show where Nana lives on Google Maps.

If she finds my bank-account numbers I'm in trouble. But seriously, Linux has plenty of edutainment software available and Edubuntu packages it in one place. It it also designed for classroom (and therefore, I suppose, library) use with features like centralized-management (LTSP) and such.

Astronomy software (1)

Ken_g6 (775014) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204368)

Seeing KStars in KDE reminded me that there are a couple of really good FLOSS astronomy programs out there.

One is Celestia [shatters.net] , which lets you travel/fly through the solar system, the galaxy (including several other known solar systems), and the local universe!

I know there's also a similar FLOSS planetarium program (Earth-based, rather than space-based), but I can't find it right now. Through in a pinch, Celestia can work like a planetarium [cornell.edu] too.

Tux Math (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204386)

My kids both love Tux of Math Command...

http://tux4kids.alioth.debian.org/tuxmath.php

Here's my five year old son playing...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D20yCEDye2Q

Google Sketchup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23204390)

There was some discussion about Blender, which I found far too complicated for kids, but Google Sketchup may fit the bill for a kid-friendly 3D application. It would target the high end of your range (my 8 year old enjoyed it), but certainly not a 2 year old. May not be OSS, but it is available for free...

Good Article (1)

motang (1266566) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204462)

I read this morning on Linux.com [linux.com] about how a dad install Edubuntu [edubuntu.com] on his computer(s) at home and his kids love it. You might want to take a look at Edubuntu.

Frets on Fire (GPL) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23204498)

Not too much edu but loads of tainment!

http://fretsonfire.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

You might need headphones tho since it's a library! xD

Dev tools. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204548)

You did say "teen-oriented"...

Firebug, for one...

Or just include source and compilers for everything you can find. Gentoo might be a good fit for that (though not for much else).

And of course, anything you can get as a shell/interpreter. irb, python, erlang, etc.

Another possibility: Xen. Make it possible for people to load whatever they want onto a (temporary) virtual machine image. See if people start writing their own OSes...

One more, while I'm at it: Core Wars. Allows you to write bots that attack each other.

Also, depending on the policies you have to work with, check out World of Padman -- Quake 3 engine, GPL'd, violent but comical and gore-free (it's like fighting with super soakers, really). Nothing educational about it, though -- purely entertainment.

Finally: Throw up a wiki, just because. Let students start to post interesting things they've discovered. The idea is to create a sense of community, not just one teen hacking on their own.

My 2 year old likes... (1)

stuporglue (1167677) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204556)

My 2 year old likes:

1) Tuxtype -- on easy mode he can type about 1/8th of the letters before they hit the ground. Especially if the letter is W (his favorite).

2) Tuxpaint -- Loves just drawing different colored lines.

3) Tuxracer (or one of the forks)

For astronomy (4, Informative)

SlowDancing (687920) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204668)

Stellarium [stellarium.org] for star charts and constellations. Windows, Mac, Linux versions. Highly recommended.

Just get KDE (3, Informative)

ChameleonDave (1041178) | more than 6 years ago | (#23204702)

You don't really need individual suggestions, as most of the decent open-source educational programs out there are part of KDE. The latest version of KDE will hopefully be installable on Windows this year.

Just install the full package, and you'll have stuff like KLatin and KVerbos for learning languages, as well as star-gazing software, plus KTurtle, KTouch and a load more.

YUO FAIL IT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23204802)

*BSD IS DYING YET the next round of 4lainly 5tates that
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