How Young is Old Enough for Sugar Learning?

olpc hanalei
Mmm.. tasty XO ear!

The beautiful Hanalei Stockard Vota is now almost 7 months old, and she's already enjoying the XO laptop. But not in the way you might expect. For her, gumming the ears or banging on the keyboard are XO highlights.

Which makes me wonder: when should a child start learning with Sugar?

If you are the parent of an infant XO user, when did you see the child start to interact with the XO in a meaningful way? When might my daughter go from slobber to science? As she doesn't even speak at 7 months, I'm thinking that right now Record Activity might be the best I can excite her with.

Any suggestions or ideas? I want an Sugar-addicted daughter before she's wooed to the dark side by Doom on the XO.

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My then-three-year-old liked the "speak" demo. Nothing much else interested him, but then again he'd been using Windows machines for a while by then. (Really.)

My son was 3 when he started to use the XO mainly Speak and Tam Tam. However now my son uses reader rabbit on my XP computer.

The two comments above make me thing we need to have some XO programs writen for the toddler set.

I agree, I'd definitely love to see some activities / games being developed with pre-school children in mind. One thing that could be useful for example is a fun game that introduces children to the use of the touchpad and keyboard.

My toddler just turned two and loves watching herself with Record, and typing then hitting the enter button to hear it spoken in Speak. Some dedicated early years programs would be great!

I have three kid users of the XO. My 21 mo old uses TamTam. He has fun with that and we have an external mouse for him to move around the cursor. My next kid started as a late 2yr going onto 3yr. She started with TuxPaint & Speak & Maze being her favorites. By the end of her 3rd year, she was very proficient using Sugar. My oldest has been using since 5 yrs old. She's got Sugar completely understood and now even using activities that I have set up for her via the terminal (i.e. mplayer). She also used the OLPC to catch up from being a "late" reader. We downloaded 1900 era "Readers" as eBooks and now she is reading a grade higher. Now she is interested in learning to touch type, so she is using the TypingTurtle Activity on the XO. Also, the Journal concept is great for a parent because I can track all the activities (and her pictures/videos she makes) that she likes to use. Helps me keep up with her latest interests. Love the OLPC... never too early to start a kid on one.

Heh, well, I notice that she's got a thing for beer bottles too in those photos... but I don't hear you asking about fostering her interest in beer (or is that her father with the interest in beer bottles?!).

All joking aside, there is probably no such thing as "too young", but it is true that there aren't many programs aimed at this age group.

On the other hand, some research done a few years ago on TV concluded that children shouldn't be exposed to TV before age 2. ( I am not sure whether there would be a correlation, and babies aren't really my field, but the logic follows in my head.

I wrote a little program using Scratch that moves the cat around the screen and speaks whatever key my 2 year old daughter presses. (I recorded myself saying each letter and number.) Unfortunately, there are lots of keys that Scratch doesn't support, and my daughter always finds a way to completely hang the system so no keys work. She also loves watching herself in Record (and has since she was one). Haven't tried TamTam with her yet.

Would love to find other little activities for her.