A few weeks ago, we were visiting family for a weekend and my three-year-old son was introduced to the delights of the Paint program on Windows.
It’s almost become something that all modern children have to experience - their first encounter with real software, their first use of a mouse. My son took to it all very easily and was soon creating his own works of electronic scribble art, much to the delight of his grandparents.
Of course I knew what the next step would be. Next time he saw me working on my Mac, he asked me: “Daddy, can I do drawing?” He wanted to play with Paint again, but we don’t have a Windows machine for him to use.
So I quickly trawled around for some simple drawing and painting apps for Mac, and he and I have spent some happy hours since then trying them out.
The first one we tried was Palette, which had my son chewing his lip with concentration and shouting with delight when he’d found something new.
Tux Paint is very appealing, partly because it’s open source and partly because it is so well designed. Every aspect of the interface is visually appealing but easy for a child to comprehend. I particularly like the way drawings are saved and re-opened, using thumbnails. You never need to type a filename.
Another one we downloaded was μPaint, which is a nice drawing app but not suitable for children - well, not young children anyway. Teenagers, or perhaps younger ones with some experience with computers, will be able to dive right in.
What’s your favorite kids app?