Terrapin Resources

About the Level 1 Commands

Kinderlogo commands are divided into two categories: commands designed for children to use and a tool command for teachers. The commands were chosen because they make sense: the letters are easy to remember and they relate to the turtle’s movements.

Commands for the Children

Forward - F

This command moves the turtle ahead in the direction in which it is pointing. Each turtle step moves the turtle 20 pixels or dots on the screen. If the turtle goes off one side of the window, it will “wrap around” to the opposite side, just as video game characters disappear off one side of the screen only to reappear on the other. Children will not mind this in the least; in fact, they are fascinated by it. Give them time to experiment with this feature. For very young children, stick a piece of masking tape or a colored dot on the F key so that they can find it easily.

Left turn - L

Pressing the L key makes the turtle rotate 30 degrees counter-clockwise. When the turtle points straight up, it is easy to see that it is turning left. However, pressing L makes the turtle turn left no matter which direction it faces.

Encourage the children to “play turtle” by pointing themselves in the same direction as the turtle in order to help them figure out whether they want to turn left or right. Children may expect the turtle to move in that direction, so help them understand turning the turtle and moving the turtle are two distinct commands. Again, a piece of tape on the L key may help non-readers.

Right turn - R

Pressing the R key makes the turtle rotate 30 degrees in a clockwise direction. Give the children practice in using left and right turns in their daily activities.

You may choose to introduce only one of the turn keys to younger children. We have found that the L key is physically more removed from the F key and is therefore less likely to be pressed by accident. You will be able to tell that children are ready to handle both turn commands when they become increasingly frustrated as they turn past their goal and must rotate the turtle almost completely around again. At this point, show them the other turn key and they will soon be using both. You will have fun watching them think about which key will be more efficient as they create their designs on the screen.

Undo - X or Backspace

Nothing is more frustrating to a child (or to an adult, for that matter), than creating a masterpiece and then having one false move spoil it! That is why, even at the beginning level, a command is available to redraw the picture without the last command.

When a child presses the Undo command, all the previous commands will be executed in order from the beginning. This is an excellent device for adults who want to leave the children to explore and draw without having someone hang over their shoulder.

After the design has been deemed complete by its creator, you may press the Undo command to see exactly how the drawing was made. You will see the sequence in which the parts of the design were made and might see the turtle perform dizzying spins showing the child’s attempts to point it in the right direction. The Undo command provides a very interesting and valuable display of the child’s thought processes.

New Picture - N

You must, of course, have a way to clear the window for another child or for a new design. Pressing the N key will bring up a dialog box and ask if the child wants to erase the picture. If the child clicks on Yes (or presses Enter), then the picture will be erased and the turtle will return to the center of the screen, pointing straight up. If the child clicks on No then the picture will remain intact.

Tool Command for the Teacher

Save picture - ✲

You can save or print pictures from the File menu. There is also a shortcut key for when you want to quickly save a picture. Just press * (Shift+ 8) to save the image on the screen. The image will be saved in the Downloads folder.

The file name will be the name of the level and the activity, then the full date (mm-dd-yyyy) followed by a hyphen and the time (hh-mm-ss). For example, a filename saved using KL1, the Exploring Level 1 activity, might look like this:

The file was saved on August 27, 2023, at 3:29 PM. (The time is represented in 24-hour time.)

Browser Settings

The browser you use may have settings that affect how Kinderlogo operates.

In most cases, Kinderlogo will run just fine, but here are computer setup tips to help Kinderlogo run seamlessly for your young children.

These tips cover:

  • making sure JavaScript is enabled
  • allowing pop-ups (some browsers think that opening an activity in a new tab is a pop-up)
  • enabling sound to play automatically (so that students don’t have to click to hear sounds)
  • having pictures save automatically to the Downloads folder without having to navigate to it
  • adjusting key repeat settings