Wanting to switch my 8yr old off Win 7 to Linux based OS, wondering whether Edbuntu is still the gold standard? He likes the same stuff most 8yr olds like Mine craft etc. but some educationally slanted stuff would be a plus, he is comfortable with Unity, Mate, well he’s comfortable with Linux so DE is not an issue. I5 Dell desktop, plenty o’ ram, decent video card, currently running many games on Win 7 but he asked to switch!
If you think I’m going to suggest anything other than Ubuntu-MATE on these forums, you’ll be disappointed
In reality Ubuntu-MATE is a perfect match for your son. It ships with all the user management features you need to control his access to the system and avoid potential damage to the OS. Meanwhile the linux ecosystem can provide you with numerous tools to implement a safety net for internet usage, some of which already ship with the Ubuntu-MATE, like the ufw firewall manager.
Most of what you want from a kid oriented distro is resumed to the above. Next is just the choice of a few kid oriented themes for your DE. Thankfully MATE is flooding with those on many theming websites.
The advantage of all this, as opposed to just go out looking for a kids distro, is that you get to build something for your son, and I personally just find that so much more rewarding and satisfying. And at their age, when we are still their heroes, he will very openly express his delight for your hard work.
Try Li-f-e: Linux for Education based on Ubuntu Mate more distros you can check out are linked from that page.