Child's play

Let your baby play on the computer with this kid-friendly program.

Anyone who's ever been around small children can tell you that they love to imitate Mom and Dad. If this tendency is endangering your computer with Junior's indiscriminate keyboard banging, Baby Kids Keyboard Free Edition might be the program for you. This simple software provides kid-friendly images and sounds while protecting your computer from potentially problematic keyboard inputs.

The program comes with five themes: the default theme (an assortment of random objects), cartoon animals, keyboard, piano, and an editable theme that you can customize. Each touch of the keyboard changes the image displayed and, depending on the theme, will play the object's name, the letter pressed, an animal sound, music, or a particular piano note. Babies can bang away on the keyboard and enjoy the resulting images and sounds, and when it's time for Mom or Dad to take over, typing ABCDE returns users to the main menu. The program doesn't have a Help file per se, but we didn't necessarily feel that one was needed; it's all pretty self-explanatory. The free edition has some pretty significant limitations: it only displays a portion of the images contained in each theme, each theme will play for only 90 seconds before returning to the main menu, and additional themes can't be downloaded. It gives you enough information to decide whether you want to upgrade to the paid edition, but if you're looking for a totally free program, you'll likely find Baby Kids Keyboard Free Edition to be a little too limited.

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