Dawn's Calculator

A calculator for young children

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Dawn's Calculator is aimed at very young children who are just beginning to do maths. My daughter uses it to check what she's worked out on her fingers or her numberline, and she gets a thrill when she and the calculator agree.

Because it's aimed at very young children, it's simple to operate. It responds to mouse clicks on the buttons, or to input from the keyboard.


First, you need to make sure your computer runs Java programs, as Dawn's Calculator is written in Java.

Then click here to launch the application, or to download the program & run it from your computer. Save it to somewhere handy (for example the desktop on Windows), and either double click on it to run it (Windows, Mac OS & Solaris), or run it from the command line (Linux).

How to use Dawn's Calculator


The program window is in two parts; the calculator's buttons and the display panel. The display panel starts by being empty, unlike a conventional calculator that shows 0. This is hopefully easier for young children to handle.

You can either type into the keyboard, or click on the buttons with the mouse. Just enter what you'd expect to see written down, e.g. 2+3=. The calculator will take the = as its cue to display the answer. You will see 2+3=5, and not just the answer 5, because that's probably more help to a toddler.

You can use the return key instead of =, because that's possibly what adults will be expecting to use, but children should probably be encouraged to use =, because that's what it's used for on paper.

Simlarly, you can use the X key for multiplication, as well as an asterisk which is more commonly used for the purpose in computing. Children should probably be encouraged to use the X.

For division, all you can use is the / button, as the conventional division symbol doesn't appear on the keyboard. This is unlikely to come up for younger children.

Having pressed = and got an answer, what happens next depends on what you do next. If you press a number, the display will empty and just that number will be displayed. Or, if you press + or another operator, the display will show the previous answer, followed by +.


V1.02 - Readout now resizes to prevent spilling off the screen.

V1.01 - Menu options for about and website.

V1.00 - Initial release.