TotWare - Benjamin's Favorites
Here are some PC
shareware and freeware programs we liked.
For other opinions, see what they're saying on
For a Web sites to visit with your child, see
the list compiled by Stephen Savitzky.
(We started this page in 1993 when both Benjamin and
the Web were younger. Lots of other folks now contribute
pages and reviews, too, so look around.)
Don't forget that shareware can be expensive
relative to a good commercial program,
since the latter often have many more activities.
For example, LetterLand is nicely done and only
costs $8.00 but may not be 1/4 as good as, say,
Bailey's Book House. (...Particularly when you
discover that it only has about 20 letters!)
[Last updated 11/17/95.]
There are lots of Macintosh mirror sites of the
and you should find one near you and use it gently.
These links are mostly to the
server at hyperarchive.lcs.mit.edu.
- A keyboard banger with wild pictures and sounds.
Suitable for even the littlest to keep them from
dragging your thesis into the trash.
- BabySmash -
- Same idea as KeyWack but just uses shapes.
- Coloring Book -
- Easy-to-use coloring book. Click on a palette to choose color,
click inside shapes to paint or redraw. Sound effects too.
- Kid Pix Demo -
- A fine drawing /painting program for small kids.
This is fully functioning but black and white,
unlike the commercial version, which also has more features.
B&W can be an advantage if you don't have a color printer
and don't want the tots to be disappointed when you put
their oeuvre on the fridge.
- Rainbox -
- A fun, brightly colored drawing program with animated
shapes and color changes. It is similar to "Toybox" without
freezing our Mac.
- Toy Box -
- Click to get different shapes and objects. Bright colors
rotate through the palette so it looks a bit animated
and is amusing to watch.
- Kids World (demo) -
- Easy-to-use tools, in the spirit of KidPix, for making animations.
Only runs for 20 minutes or so and has disabled saves.
Available along with many other demos, some playable and some
for other platforms, from
the Internet Shopping Network.
- Amazing Animation (demo) -
This is the same general idea as Kids World above, but not
as easy to use for a very young child or as well executed,
though it does allow more control.
which has other demos and products available on-line.
- Animals and Sounds -
- Hypercard point-and-click stack with animals and their sounds.
Option to hide the desktop (to prevent accidental application
switching under System 7) and
"Small Kids Mode" which lets very young kids
navigate through by simply clicking (without pointing).
- Bird Songs - [new site and version] -
part 1 (1700K) and
part 2 (1900K)
- Bird drawings and their songs. You can listen, learn, test yourself and
even keep those birds singing in the background.
Letters and Numbers
- Letter Land -
- Game to match letters and words to pictures, with counting
thrown in too. Colorful graphics and sound. Very engaging
and easy to play. Unfortunately, it doesn't even have the
whole alphabet. (The author said he didn't have nice pictures
for some of the letters!) Still worth trying.
- Alpha-boat -
- An alphabet game with pictures and voice. Uses mouse.
Shows pictures and asks for first letter. Second part says
letter and asks child to find it on the screen.
- Hurlman -
- A modern update of hangman. At least it's non-violent....
- Fatty Bear's Birthday Surprise (demo) -
- Small but self-contained version of game from Humongous Entertainment.
Adventure-type game, mouse only, things to find and do, good animation,
- Putt-Putt on Parade (demo) -
- Same idea as above, featuring a talking car in place of the bear.
- Dino Blocks Demo -
- A simple arcade-type matching game. Player directs dinosaurs to
catch falling colored blocks and drop them into same-color volcano.
- Dreidel -
- An interactive dreidel for the traditional Hannukah game. With video and sound.
- Oxyd -
- This is a series of puzzles that require more skill than
your typical two-year old has, but he might enjoy watching
you or an older sibling.
- Amy's Fun-2-3 (now v. 2.1!)
- This game is terrific. Several games in one teaching
counting, matching, numbers, music. Great graphics
and requires only minimal mouse skill.
- Talking Teacher -
- Teaches letters and words. Starts with a keyboard banger.
Amusing and seems to hold the attention, but dated.
Mediocre graphics, too much keyboard use.
- Animated Alphabet -
- Type the first letter of the word matching the picture,
which then becomes animated.
- Coloring Book -
- Just what it says.
- The Incredible Machine -
- This is a great game Rube Goldberg would have written.
Not really for toddlers.
- Word Rescue -
Combination word matching and adventure type game.
Excellent graphics, lots of fun.
Main drawback is use of keyboard
instead of mouse, often requiring two keys simultaneously.
On the other hand, it's an interesting non-violent
reincarnation with style similar to Apogee's
You can find other demos at this
- Math Rescue -
The game part of this is similar to Word Rescue but
the math problems are idiotic.
Fortunately you can turn them off, play the
game, and look elsewhere for good math education.