Educational preschool software games are the focus of this
article, in which we compare four computer games designed
specifically for preschoolers, and offer synopses of other
age-appropriate software games.
All-Purpose Preschool Program
Rabbit Preschool: (Sparkle Star Rescue)
line: Players earn special items for Miss Marigold's mural
by participating in 5 learning activities.
CD-ROMs, 2 of which are all-purpose preschool titles
featuring Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh. Plenty of
contains skill-building activities focusing on
the alphabet, numbers, counting, and sorting skills.
story line with educational activities along the way.
engaging story line; Blue's Clues fans will enjoy
interacting with the characters. Fun personalization
nice variety of activities, well-rounded package.
graphics, cute characters.
bright graphics; fun storyline holds the interest of some
activities are somewhat uninspired and not very original.
integrated (3 different CDs).
and animations are often superfluous. Irregular
challenges (some too hard, some too easy).
levels of activities inconsistent; doesn't cover as much
basics as the others.
of the show; children working at standard preschool level.
looking to add variety to their software collection.
who appreciate an ample reward system, cute characters and
||Kids who enjoy an adventure format.
found less magic in Reader
Rabbit Preschool Sparkle Star Rescue! than we did in the
other Reader Rabbit curriculum-based titles. However, the program
is worthwhile for children who enjoy adventures as opposed to
open-ended titles. Kids follow Reader Rabbit and the gang as they help
restore the sparkle to Sparksalot. As they do, they play educational
activities that drill phonics, color recognition,
early addition, and other skills. The problem we found
with this program lies in the challenge level. Some of the
activities fall out of the expected level of challenge for
preschoolerssome are very easy, while others are too difficult
for the average preschooler. Plenty of songs and gorgeous
animations, however, help draw in some preschoolers. Note that a
classic edition of Reader Rabbit Preschool is available, and is a
completely different product. Rating: B+
Rabbit Preschool Sparkle Star Rescue or the bundle with a
music CD and printables, Reader Rabbit Preschool
Clues Preschool is sound on many levels, except that it could
have been better if the featured educational activities were more
inspired! As it stands, the activities are not hugely unique.
However, the program is entirely age-appropriate, and offers fans
of the show the chance to play along with favorite Blue's Clues
characters. See our full
review. Rating: B-
[Buy Blue's Clues Preschool
Advanced Preschool is not the best of the JumpStart Advanced
series. Its graphics are adorable, but the games are somewhat
uninspired. It's not a terrible buy because some children will
enjoy the game, but the rewards and distractions are excessive,
taking away from the pure fun of learning. The program includes songs and fun graphics that accompany
kids as they build preschool skills. Plenty of
motivational rewards are here, but as noted, some parents might find
there is a little too strong a focus on rewards. Rating: C
[Buy JumpStart Advanced Preschool
Learning Preschool is a bundle of 3 CD-ROMs, two of which are
all-purpose preschool curriculum titles: Disney Pooh Preschool and
Disney's Mickey Preschool. The third title is Stanley Wild for
Sharks. Winnie the Pooh Preschool features a format
that is fun, although parents might need to pull up a
chair and help preschoolers find all of the activities.
graphics and fun characters in Disney's Mickey Mouse Preschool
will entertain children for a time, but replay value is rather
low. We didn't recommend this as a stand-alone all-purpose title
because of this, but as part of a bundle, the title will add some
variety to your preschooler's collection. Rating: A-
[Buy Disney Preschool Bundle (Pooh Pre-School, Mickey Pre-School, and Stanley Wild for Sharks)
Street Preschool is a new title that is really quite adorable.
It does have some flaws, however--namely, chattiness and slow
transitions. Still, kids will laugh as they learn with Sesame
Street characters that are true to form. Lots of exposure to
letters, words, numbers, counting, and simple addition are
featured, and the program's bright screens and original voiceovers
will delight kids. The entertainment and educational opportunities
make the title worthwhile despite its flaws. Rating:
from the game. For more information, and to buy, Sesame Street Preschool - 3 Pack
Thinking Skills, Logic, and Early Learning
Pick. An exceptional new program stars a big ball of
clay with eyes named Ollo. Ollo in the Sunny Valley Fair
(see our full review)
takes kids on a story-adventure of problem-solving fun. An
adorable cast of characters is featured, and educational hotspots
make learning easy. This is fabulous, A+ software. Rating: A+
[Buy Ollo in the Sunny Valley Fair
Focus on Pre-Math
program that helps children cozy up to the unique shapes of each
letter of the alphabet is Alphabet Express Preschool, an
older title that retains its merit. Children "paint"
pictures, watch short animations, play dot-to-dot activities, and
more with this excellent title that features both uppercase and
lowercase letters. Highly recommended. Rating: A
[Buy: Alphabet Express Preschool
workbooks from School Zone Interactive are very fun ways to
practice skills at home. On-Track Same or Different: Preschool,
On-Track Shapes: Preschool (our rating:
A-), and On-Track Beginning
Sounds: Preschool feature bright, colorful workbook pages. Parents
will appreciate its age-appropriate content, and kids will
actually love playing the fun games and working through the workbook pages.
All three have loads of
appeal and help reinforce facts, utilizing a workbook format that
is well-structured and mirrors school effectively.
[Buy Shapes, Beginning Sounds, Same or Different