Free Toddler Computer Games

Posted on 2013-11-11
Last Modified: 2013-11-28

I'm setting up an old Windows XP unit to give to a friend's child who like to play on a basic tablet I got her.  I know that she might not understand how to use a mouse yet, but I'm hoping to teach her the basics of a computer. :)  She's currently 2 1/2 years old.

I'm looking for 2 things.  First, games I can download for her to play, preferably full screen that are hard to exit (child proof).  They can be any game, but learning or educational would be the best.

The second thing I'm looking for is any suggestions to make the computer more child proof, so she can't delete files or change settings.  Basically, make it like a lobby computer where only certain things can be accessed.

Thank you in advance for your suggestions!

P.S.  This will NOT be hooked up to internet after it is set up.
Question by:Scott Thompson
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Expert Comment

ID: 39640267
There are programs like steady state, deep freeze and clean slate. That can be downloaded and installed. These applications will undo any changes that the child or anyone else for that matter from making permanent changes to the computer. When the computer reboots the computer all changes made to the computer will be reverted back to the way the computer was when you first set it up. Ie if the child some how changed the screen so that the text is displayed side ways, to undo this just restart the computer and the changes will be removed.

There are lots of child learning games out there, some are free and some are paid versions of software. Leapfrog is one of the best learning software and toys you can buy. You can even try some of the demo software.  The demos are usually let you play at up to a certain level then to go to a higher level you have to pay for it. But for a toddler this would probably be all you need, to keep the toddler intertained. Have a look at whats available.
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Accepted Solution

Jstncase earned 500 total points
ID: 39640801
I have a very similar situation at home and something you may want to consider. I have several children in my house my youngest being 2 (she will be 3 in February) and my oldest being 11.

I boot my old XP computer off of a thumb drive onto a linux OS. The Linux OS i use is called Qimo (Ubuntu based). its a KidsOS. Made specifically for children. It comes pre-installed with games, activities and programs for children from ages 3 - 18. Internet is not required, as I have this as a stand alone machine for my youngest. The icons are large enough for the children to see, and has programs and tools that will teach the children their colors, numbers, math, reading, hand/eye coordination as well as using the computer/mouse.

If you want to get adventurous later you can hook it up to the internet to allow internet usage, and as well you can restrict and block sites and locations. I have 2 of these setup at my house. 1 for my youngest children and another for my 7/8 year olds. I restrict their internet access through my router of what times and websites they can access, or simply deny all network access from my router. I chose Qimo because it seemed friendly to me and my kids too interest to it quicker, as well as the cost factor. Free/OpenSource.

These are the items I used to setup the computers. The longest time it took was to download the .ISO and then install it to a thumb drive. Since the image is a LIVE ISO, there was no setup or installation needed. I simply booted to the thumb drive, and we were good to go. The advantage I found over the thumb drive, I did not need to reformat a computer, the thumb drive was $4, no hard drive is needed in the computer, I can take it with me anywhere, absolutely easy and simple to replace.

Old Computer 256 or 512MB Ram Minimum
4GB USB Thumb Drive

Here is also a link to another gentleman's website where he is listing a few other KidsOS' to use. All of these can be installed onto a thumb drive and bootable from there for the kids to use. Oh and yes the menus are restricted to only certain items, it is more kid safe as to where they really can't get to other areas of the computer unless they really know what they are done, AND if they have the administrative password to make changes.

Author Comment

by:Scott Thompson
ID: 39641941
This Qimo sounds amazing!  Is there a way to make this a dual boot system?  So, I could have Windows XP or this Qimo load directly from the hard drive?  I'm downloading it now to check it out.
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Expert Comment

ID: 39642065
You can Dual boot the system without a problem. For my children's computer, I simply have it as a thumb drive like i mentioned before. If i want to boot to it, when the computer comes up I say boot from USB, otherwise I can let it boot to the Hard drive (if my kids computer had a hard drive in it). You can also even setup the thumb drive to have more than one OS on it to boot to if you like.

For simplicity sake for now, Try booting to the thumb drive (assuming your computer Bios will let you). You can even have it boot from CD/DvD if you like.  As the kids get older you can still add applications that grow with the kids, or for projects. I have an internet icon for Starfall and Study Island on the computer for the kids. When i do allow them on the internet. I also have Libre Office (I prefer this over Open Office) on the computer in case I or one of the kids need to type up a school report. Again, all of this is from my thumb drive which can be booted to at any time, or taken to another computer and used.

Author Comment

by:Scott Thompson
ID: 39655193
I have the Qimo installed as a second partition on the computer and Windows XP installed as the first partition now.  I think the Qimo (complicated at first) will be a good option!  Thank you for the recommendation!  However, now my Windows XP does not boot in the GRUB loader.  It comes up saying A Disk Read Error Occured.  I'm trying to find an answer to this.  Any suggestions?
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Assisted Solution

Jstncase earned 500 total points
ID: 39656344

Author Closing Comment

by:Scott Thompson
ID: 39684479
This Qimo looks like she will love it!  Thanks for your help!

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