Linux has been a versatile operating system catering the needs of people from all walks of life. Unlike Windows and Mac, which only target the general consumers, Linux offer various specialized distributions for engineers, doctors, religious people, and even kids. Yes, kids. Linux, thanks to its openness, has allowed many developers to create distributions made especially for kids of different age groups.

These distributions aren’t made to teach C++ programming for kids. Instead, they are normal, easy to use distros with user interfaces specially designed for the young ones.

Many of them come with games and educational software preinstalled, so that children can learn as well as have fun.

Here are some of the most impressive Linux distributions your kids and those who are young at heart would love to use
Qimo for Kids is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution with a desktop environment designed specifically for children. The distribution comes preinstalled with educational games suitable for children 3 years and older. The distribution comes with an intuitive and very easy interface with large icons so that even the youngest children will not have any difficulty playing with it.

Sugar is the distribution based on Fedora Linux that was designed for Intel's One-Laptop-Per-Child (OLPC) project. It is aimed at K-6 children and is a radical departure from the traditional desktop, putting more fun, ease, teaching and programming abilities into the computing desktop.It is especially designed for classroom use and it is so radically different from the traditional Linux desktop that you can begin to feel you are using a completely different operating system.

Edubuntu is based on the popular Ubuntu distribution. Designed to be easy to install and very Windows-like in its operation, The distribution has three different themes, called “young”, “plain” and “default”, for young users, a plain-desktop and a general-purpose installation. The default desktop environment is Gnome and the applications that come with the installation are, KDE Edutainment Suite and Gcompris. KDE Edutainment Suite includes applications for children between ages 3 and 18 and Gcompris includes applications for children in nursery/kindergarten.

Foresight for Kids is a derivative of Foresight Linux, aimed specifically at children between 3 and 12 years old. It has Gnome as the default desktop environment and includes Tuxpaint, Tuxtyping, Gcompris, Tux of Math Command, Super Tux, Super Tux Card, Foobillard, GNU Chess, Nibbles, Frozen Bubble, Super Maryo Chronicles, F-Spot Photo Manager, Firefox Web Browser, Banshee Media Player, Pidgin Instant Messenger and Totem Movie Player, among the applications installed. The children’s attention is attracted to the bumblebee character smiling and waving from the lower end corner of the desktop, warming them to the computer immediately.

Doudou Linux is based on Debian and thus it's quite stable (and also means that if you know your way around Linux, you can install programs from the Debian repository). The desktop environment is reworked completely to make it as easy as possible for children. Doudou includes Child's Play and GCompris, two popular collections of Linux games for Kids. In addition, Doudou Linux offers adventure, arcade, board, card, logic and sports games to enjoy, Geography, Kanagram, Hangman KLetters for learning, Instant Messaging (Empathy) and Web Browser (Epiphany) for surfing. These programs are grouped under "Learn", "Work" and "Enjoy" sections and arranged in a neat, tabbed interface. 

Get ready to prepare your kids to become the geeks of tomorrow :)

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About the Author

Aamir Mustafa is Ubuntubuzz contributor since January 2012. Aamir is Chemical Engineer from New Delhi, India. He have more than 6 years of experience in IT and Software solutions sales. Interested with this author, Contact him trough his social account Facebook , Twitter, Google + and DeviantArt .