I remember fondly my favorite childhood activity using a computer. This was not much of a computer; it was a small “Mac-in-a-box” Macintosh Classic. As I recall, it had a single 3.5 disk drive, a 7-inch black and white screen, enough horsepower to type a document, and not much else. I would play with Aldus Superpaint for hours—cutting, pasting and using the multitude of brushes and shapes to create everything from pictures of my house to floor plans for my perfect RV (it was a stage).
Over the years, there have been a few programs that get kids used to drawing on the computer, used to pointing and clicking—Kid-Pix for one.
Lately, I have been having my younger kids from kindergarten on up use a program called Tux Paint. Tux Paint is one of the many educational programs created by Open-source programmers for the Linux platform. However, Tux Paint (along with many other programs) is also ported to Windows and Mac.
Tux Paint lets kids color with an array of bushes on hundreds of backgrounds. They can stamp any number of pictures from the large clip art library and draw to their heart’s delight. One of my favorite pictures lately was of a penguin performing a drum solo in outer space surrounded by monster trucks that shot lightning out of their headlights. I may be a little biased, but I think it’s destined to be a modern classic.