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I’ve always been a huge fan of free open source software. I find most are high quality and have wonderful support by either the developer or user community when needed.
I also love free software because it really helps stretch the budget! These are a few of my favorites.
GCompris is a wonderful software bundle for children age 2 to 10. It’s filled with games to for young children to learn how to use the keyboard and mouse. It also includes games for math, science, geography, reading, puzzles, drawing, and much much more. It has a full free version available for Linux, and partial versions for Windows and Mac.
Childsplay is another collection of educational games for young children. It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. It helps children practice early math, alphabet, spelling and puzzles.
Tux 4 Kids has some wonderful software for Linux, Mac and Windows. Tux Math is a fun math game where children learn their math facts. Math facts fall from the top of the screen and they have to type the right answers in to destroy the asteroids that are heading towards their planet.
Tux Typing is a great typing program with 2 games and lessons. One game comet zap is similar to the Tux Math game, the other is Fish Cascade where the children have to type the right key then Tux the penguin eats the fish the letter is on. Then there are normal typing lessons where rows of text are on the screen and the student has to copy them down.
Tux Paint is a super fun paint program for children. Our children LOVE this one! The canvas is a set size so the child doesn’t have to worry about setting the right size. A cute cartoon Tux is in the bottom corner to share hits and info with the child. There are many brushes, stamps. lines, shapes, text and special effects to explore.
Scribus is a free professional page layout program very similar to Adobe InDesign, although I found it easier to use then InDesign. This is a great program for designing anything from flyers, scrapbooks, eBooks etc. It has versions for Linux, Mac and Windows.
Digikam is my favourite program for working with photos. The best way I can describe it is a a combination of Picasa, Adobe Photoshop Elements and Lightroom. Some of what it does, it easily imports photos from your camera, flash drive, hard drive or import them from sites like Facebook. It exports to just about every website I can think of from Facebook, Flickr, Picasa and a long list of others and email of course.
You can set what folders on your hard drive or external drive to scan for photos. It can edit photos or open them in Gimp to edit. A favourite feature of mine is that it supports photo versions. Any time I edit a photo I have it saved as a new version. Adding tags and descriptions is easy. There is way too much this program can do for a short mention. I’ll have to do a detailed review soon! Digikam is available for Linux and Windows.
Gimp is a great image editing program. It does have a small learning curve, but there are many great tutorials and videos online to help. It’s very similar to Photoshop and I use this often for editing and creating images.
LibreOffice is a great word processing suit. It’s a branch off Open Office and works very well for all my needs. It includes a great word processor, spreadsheet, database, and slide show program.
Inkscape is a free open source vector graphics editor similar to Illustrator and CorelDraw.
OpenShot is a great free video editor for Linux. It supports many audio, video and image formats. It has great clip editing tools, many image overlays, watermarks, and title makers.
Minitube is a cool program for watching YouTube videos on your Linux, Mac or Windows desktop. But only the Linux version is free. You can enter a keyword and watch videos with out going to YouTube. I like this as it doesn’t show the comments. Often times the comments are not something I want the kids reading.
TimezAttack is another great math program for Windows. They have both a free and paid version and our children have loved practicing math facts with it!
What are your favourite free programs?
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