Kids love a bit of technology, especially if it allows them to safely play games or watch their favorite YouTubers. Getting them to enjoy the kind of technology that helps them learn, however, is the bigger challenge, but who says educational software has to be boring?
Thanks to the kind of fun, free, and educational software you can find on Linux, it doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s explore eight of the best examples.
Not every child in the world has a natural interest or ability in math, but TuxMath helps with this. It is designed to help children learn math in the style of a space-themed arcade game, practicing their skills in short play sessions.
TuxMath is actually part of a wider range of games and programs aimed at kids, and while it didn’t win any awards in 2019 for its outdated interface, it’s a very effective tool in the battle to help kids learn (and learn to love) math, especially if traditional learning doesn’t suit them. It goes fast, so kids won’t have time to worry about wrong answers.
The style of the game is simple players are faced with math questions which, if they are answered correctly, allow them to shoot asteroids. As the game moves forward, the questions become harder and harder to help test their math knowledge and increase their confidence.
TuxMath is great for visual learners who want to improve their math skills outside of textbooks.
Childsplay is not a game for kids it’s actually 14 activities for young children to help teach and strengthen basic skills, from learning the basic alphabet and numbers to practicing digital skills like typing and using the mouse.
There are many variations on Childsplay. The educational version of Pac-Man teaches children how to spell and pronounce certain words, while memory matching games help improve memory while teaching numbers.
Thanks to software reporting and integration with SQL databases, you can also integrate Childsplay into your school environment and track the progress of multiple children, making it a great tool for preschool teachers.
The stars are amazing, so why not teach the kids about them? KStars teaches kids the stars for free. It simulates the night sky from anywhere on the planet, showing no less than 100 million stars in the night sky to kids who love astronomy.
You can also get a close look at different constellations, planets, comets and other bodies (famous and obscure). However, it is not just a simulation tool. You can also use it for real-life astronomy, with planning tools to observe different stars in real life.
KStars also includes Ekos, a tool for controlling telescopes and a digital camera for automated photography to help you create your own viewing home of the stars.
It’s never too early to get a child interested in coding. Learning the basics early on helps provide a solid foundation for more advanced programming languages later, which is why Scratch is the perfect tool for kids who want to learn how to code.
Instead of trying to teach using text, Scratch uses colorful graphics to create basic programming routines and animations; You can even create your own Mario game if you want.
There’s also a large community of ideas and projects for novice coders looking for inspiration.
Not every child has a love for technical subjects like math or science, so what about art? Minuet appeals to children with musical talent.
This is a complete range of music training activities designed to help children improve their musical skills. Learners listen to music samples to help them learn chords, scales, and musical intervals. For educators, Minuet can be extended with your exercises designed specifically for learners, making it a good tool for the classroom.
Minuet isn’t just for beginners. There are drills and settings that can be customized for any skill, and if you’re a visual learner, the on-screen piano helps the learner visualize the music as it is performed.
Aimed at younger kids, GCompris is a set of games and activities bundled into one complete package. The active development team regularly updates GCompris with new games and challenges for kids on every topic imaginable, including games focused on history, math, science, geography, and digital skills.
There are over 100 games and challenges for kids to face, in 15 different languages. The games are colorful and well thought out for younger kids, with helpful tips to explain some of the more difficult challenges.
GCompris is perfect for parents looking to improve their younger child’s skills and confidence at home.
Sugar isn’t just a set of activities; This is an interactive learning environment for kids. Everything is based around the Sugar interface designed to run on a USB memory stick (thanks to the Sugar on a Stick distro), or as part of a standard Fedora or Ubuntu installation.
Children who work with Sugar can review their progress using the portfolio and journal sections. There are activities to teach typing, basic coding, painting, math, and geography, to name a few. Everything your child does when they use Sugar is saved in a journal and portfolio section, making it easy to review your child’s progress over time.
This is a great Linux distro to install for kids, especially if you want to install it on a Raspberry Pi.
Kano is not just a Linux operating system for kids. It is actually part of a code kit for young programmers to learn how to code while building their own projects. They can even build the computers they used before they started studying.
Kano is definitely one of the most refined packages for teaching kids any kind of technology that I have ever seen. Kids can learn about the basics of what makes a computer work, using the Raspberry Pi as a base. The bespoke Kano OS Linux distro is colorful and easy to use, despite its capabilities.
You get apps like Scratch pre-installed, along with other apps for creating games or art. If you want to take Kano further, there are hundreds of other games and apps available to install. You can also purchase add-ons to feel the movement and wave of a Harry Potter-style wand.
If you want your child to really embrace the experience, Kano’s Story Mode turns the entire OS into a game, with different areas representing different apps to teach them programming skills, or in the case of the Terminal Quest app, basic Linux skills.
Download: Kano (Not available anymore)
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