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This is not a repeat of the now infamous "How do I move the turtle in LOGO?"

Recently, I had the following conversation with my five year old daughter:

Daughter: Daddy, do you write programs?

Me: Yes!

Daughter: Daddy, what's a program?

Me: A program is a set of instructions that a computer follows.

Daughter: Daddy, can I write a program too?

Me: Sure!

This got me scrambling to think of a very basic language that a five year old could get some satisfaction from mastering rather quickly. I'm ashamed to admit that the first thing that came to mind was this:

10 INPUT "Tell me a secret" A$
20 PRINT "Wow really? :" A$
30 GOTO 10

That isn't going to hold a five year old's attention for very long and it requires too much of a lecture. However, moving a turtle around and drawing neat pictures might just work.

Sadly, my search for a LOGO interpreter yielded noting but ad ridden sites, flight simulators and a whole bunch of other stuff that I really don't want.

I'm hoping to find a cross platform (Java / Python) LOGO interpreter (dare I call it simulator?) with the following features:

  • Can save / replay commands (stored programs)
  • Has an actual turtle
  • Sound effects are a plus

Have you stumbled across something like this, if so, can you provide a link? I hate to ask a 'shopping' sort of question, but it seemed much better than "Is LOGO appropriate for a five year old?"

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6 Answers

up vote 15 down vote accepted

Sure there is!

Get yourself latest Ubuntu (you may use Wubi or Virtual Box), then install KTurtle. It looks like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atZKpac07X0&feature=related

Also check out:

http://onemorelevel.com/game/lightbot

http://onemorelevel.com/game/lightbot_2

If you do not want to install anything. The second one is very much a puzzle though. Your daughter might do better with a more verbose LOGO.

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She's got Kubuntu to start with (I like writing her firewall). Amazing that I did not find KTurtle! Thank you! –  Tim Post Feb 17 '11 at 18:06
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@Tim, cool. If you look at Edubuntu, and Ubuntu's educational package (I suggest you browse/search through Ubuntu One as well), then you should see all kinds of educational packages for kids. –  Job Feb 17 '11 at 18:12
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You might look at Scratch, a project that takes the same concepts as LOGO and runs with them. It provides a graphical interface for programming that doesn't actually dumb it down, just streamlines it.

It has good built-in graphics and sound capabilities, and a thriving community of submissions and 'remixes'.

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Although this is not LOGO, you also might want to check out PythonTurtle, which is inspired by LOGO. This looks great--simple, cute, and perfect for learning:

enter image description here

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Another alternative to look at would be Microsoft Kodu It's a fun way for kids to learn programming concepts without having to learn a complex syntax. They even have a turtle enter image description here

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That actually looks rather neat. Any experience with it running under WINE? Her netbook is Ubuntu, because it simplifies parental controls. –  Tim Post Feb 17 '11 at 18:00
    
Apparently it's available for PC and Xbox. –  Mike Brown Feb 17 '11 at 18:04
    
I think it probably requires DirectX...does WINE have DirectX support yet? –  Mike Brown Feb 17 '11 at 18:08
    
Also, Windows 7 has a "Family Safety Control" that you can download. explore.live.com/windows-live-family-safety?os=other that makes parental controls easy. –  Mike Brown Feb 17 '11 at 18:12
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I found this rather old thread whilst looking for exactly the same thing for my 5-year-old boy. Perhaps in another 2 years someone else could make use of this...

I found http://turtleacademy.com/ to be fairly true to my LOGO experience of so many years ago, and I especially appreciate their attention to the tutorial / learning experience.

Would have been cool to see the old turtle running around on screen again though ;-)

The link mentioned was from a really useful summary on Medium about resources for teaching kids to program, so maybe some of those might also prove useful if you're looking for the same: https://medium.com/global-silicon-valley/a2dc04ea9529

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I recall back in school we used to have an actual turtle "robot" that we hooked to the Apple IIe and used LOGO to make it move.

So it exists... but I'm not sure if there's anything for a modern PC.

I admittedly haven't read this article fully, but it may provide a clue for a modern version.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logo_%28programming_language%29

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