Best recommendation for a bright 6 year old's first computer?

tperkinstperkins Posts: 98
I am wondering what devices may be out there of the "first computer" stripe, preferably one which can exchange files to a PC in non-proprietary formats (*txt, *.jpg, etc.), one which would have applications simple like wordpad or notepad, paint, a teaching calculator, and a *.pdf viewer.

It would ideally be also programmable with something like logo/turtle.

Can anyone give experiences with such?


  • 14 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • ElectricAyeElectricAye Posts: 4,561
    edited September 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I suggest you move this question into the Sandbox forum. I think you might get more suggestions in there.

  • Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) Posts: 21,776
    edited September 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Those inexpensive so-called nettops might be ideal for small hands (and good eyes). I'm sure there's a freeware Logo available for Windows that will run on one of these. Are you planning to build a turtle?

    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • ElectricAyeElectricAye Posts: 4,561
    edited September 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I hope you don't mind but I'm moving this to the Sandbox for more suggestions.
  • HollyMinkowskiHollyMinkowski Posts: 1,398
    edited September 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I think a netbook would be just perfect.

    There is en enormous amount of free software
    out there that could entertain a 6yr old.

    Is the 6yr old a girl? If so be sure and get a netbook
    in a pretty color...and put a link on the desktop to
    the Disney Fairies website, it's wonderful :-)


    [The Bug Stops Here]
  • LoopyBytelooseLoopyByteloose Posts: 12,537
    edited September 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Having tried to teach guitar and carpentry to kids, the biggest issue is smaller than adult hands. It is the same issue with the computer keyboard.

    The first netbooks, the EEEpc were a bit crowded for adult hands, but great for kids. And the EEEpc 701-4g with the original Xandros Linux was really a 'kiddie computer' that was designed to start all over with a fresh OS via a special Function key combo.

    I don't think you could ask for much more as a parent, unless you expect to buy a lot of games in Windows for your child to play. Linux actually has a lot more kiddie games for free that are educational (take a look in Ubuntu).

    Still, I wonder exactly how much a 6 year old needs a personal computer. A PDA would be another neat choice.
    Hwang Xian Shen, Puddleby-on-the-Marsh.
    All things considered, I can live and thrive without Microsoft products. LINUX is just fine.
  • Options
    edited September 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    My son is 5 1/2 and just started kindergarten and one of the things they will teach is computers in elementary school.

    My son already knows how to read, write most of the letters on the alphabet and multiply small numbers (three times tables). He is great with numbers because he thinks it is fun to have me add large numbers and he does it too.

    I think you might want to check out Microsoft Small Basic which is free. The only thing is that it will take a while to teach kids the concept of programming if they are willing.

    I do know that Borland Pascal is one of the programs I learned in college and it is now a free download. I do know that Pilot was one of the programs being marketed for kids in the 80's as well as LOGO.

    You might even look into Pbasic and see how it could be made suitable for younger kids. The learner has to be willing so I don't think there is an age because you have preschoolers playing multi level Mario Party games and other countries teach Biology in first grade. If you can break things down into small understandable steps, I think that anyone including children can learn almost anything.
  • LoopyBytelooseLoopyByteloose Posts: 12,537
    edited September 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    The problem with computers is the topic is vast and the languages quickly abstract concepts to levels that confound even adults.

    Keep it relevant and obvious.

    I have a couple of kids that are interested in electronics here in Taiwan. I've started with just a transistor flip-flop and blinking lights.

    Then a little H-bridge controlled by the flip-flop so a small DC motor reverses direction. They can see this because a wheel is attached.

    From there, using a BasicStamp to control LEDs and H-bridges seems pretty obvious.
    Hwang Xian Shen, Puddleby-on-the-Marsh.
    All things considered, I can live and thrive without Microsoft products. LINUX is just fine.
  • Options
    edited September 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Loopy Byteloose,

    When I was in elementary school, they had Commodore Pet computers and only those on the honor roll or genius students were allowed on those machines.

    I think computers can be easy for kids to learn because I knew younger kids programming on computers when I was a teenager. The solution is to break things down into a step by step, learn by doing, keep it simple process. You have to translate computer words into easy and understandable terms. The difficult part is that it takes too much time for the teacher to explain so the teacher tells people what to do (what we don't know how to do) rather than explain what the student has to do so the student can learn.

    I could put my son on the Commodore 64, teach him some basic and upload some videos of him programming by himself at age 6. I'm confident I could do that. He's already played with me as I've played with circuits. I'm sure I could get him learning microcontrollers as soon as I make some more space and find a little time to learn them.

  • tperkinstperkins Posts: 98
    edited December 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Hello All,

    I thank you for your replies. I got Jamie the Asus EeePc with puppee Linux, and he plays with it every night so far. Thank you again.

    Regards, Tom Perkins
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,083
    edited December 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I bought a C64 setup (ebay) for my middle son at that age and taught him how to use it.

    He's a teen now, and while I can't say he's a computer expert, he certainly understands more about computing and typing that others his age. (And he's got a soft place in his heart for retro computers. {He's still got it!})

  • LoopyBytelooseLoopyByteloose Posts: 12,537
    edited December 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    About three months ago, my EEEpc 701-4g started acting poorly - the power supply wouldn't properly charge the battery. And so, I explored several options - bought a new 10400mah battery that failed, removed Ubuntu and re-installed the original Xandros Linux, and so on.

    I finally cut my losses and purchased a new Toshiba NB25 netbook, but hung on to the EEEpc.

    About a month and a half later, a Taiwanese friend was visiting and took an interest in the broken EEEpc. Since he can handle the Asus service department in Chinese, he took it in for a look and possible repair. Mind you, I had this completely apart on 3 separate occasions and had even replaced the BIOs battery. I just assumed they would say it was a basket case in need of a new motherboard (as that is where the power supply circuits are). But, nope. They replaced the wall wart power supply and charged him about $30USD and it is running fine.

    The whole point of this story is in the outcome. He is now using the EEEpc with his 8 year old son who absolutely loves it as it was intended for children and the Xandros Linux was even bundled with software for Chinese children studying English. There is a bit of nostalgia on my part as it still boots faster than my Toshiba and is both smaller and lighter.

    The EEEpc was Asus's failed attempt at creation of a one child-one computer world computer product. But it changed the landscape of laptop computing forever. And it still is likely a best first machine for any kid for a lot of reasons - right sized hardware, solid-state hard drive that kids can't easily destroy, and Linux software that provides more educational specific software for free than one can imagine. Plus Linux offers software for free in ANY language, world-wide.

    I'm happy that you chose an EEEpc with Puppy Linux. It is a great combination for starters. Later you can easily switch to Ubuntu for no cost or whatever is the leading Linux distro whenever that day comes.

    Commodore has been revived as a product line, but it is quite expensive and using multiple core 32bit and 64bit processors - no longer a kid's machine.
    Hwang Xian Shen, Puddleby-on-the-Marsh.
    All things considered, I can live and thrive without Microsoft products. LINUX is just fine.
  • NWCCTVNWCCTV Posts: 3,629
    edited December 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Just out of curiosity, where did the Sandbox go?
    Andy North

    My Index Page:
  • W9GFOW9GFO Posts: 3,730
    edited December 2010 Vote Up0Vote Down
    All of the Sandbox was moved into General Discussion.

    Rich H
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