Kid-friendly creativity

Let your kids' imaginations run wild with this fun art program.

Kids tend to love both art and computers, so anything that brings these two things together is bound to go over well. Tux Paint is a drawing program that is both easy enough for kids to use and full of fun features and sounds. It may drive parents a little batty, but kids will definitely get a kick out of it.

When we first launched the program we encountered a configuration menu that let us adjust the program's audio, video, keyboard, and mouse settings. Certain features and controls can also be disabled to make the program easier for younger children to use. The program itself is a kid-friendly version of the typical drawing program; there's a color selector across the bottom, a toolbar on the left that gives users access to the program's various tools, and toolbar on the right that displays the tools' various options. When you click on the paint tool on the left, for example, a selection of different kinds of brushes appear on the right. Clicking the stamp tool on the left brings up various types of stamps on the right. We particularly liked the magic tool, which includes all kinds of cool effects and graphics. Each of the different tools is accompanied by a sound, ranging from what sounds like bass guitar notes to various other blips, bloops, and clicks; fortunately for parents, this can be disabled in the settings if desired. The program doesn't have a Help file per se, but it doesn't really need one, either; it's made for kids, after all, and even those who aren't reading yet should be able to figure it out pretty quickly.

Tux Paint installs politely but leaves a folder behind upon removal. We recommend this program to all users.

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