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Software Review:    Caillou Magic Playhouse

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Four-year-old Caillou is an animated boy who kids can't help but love. He is curious, fun, and loves to learn--and he faces all sorts of everyday dilemmas that preschoolers can easily identify with. We were delighted to find that the PBS Kids show has made its debut on CD-ROM. Best yet, the two titles available are very worthwhile. Magic Playhouse and Birthday Party are unlikely to disappoint little fans. 

Happily, this title will please both parents and children. Caillou Magic Playhouse is much like an all-purpose preschool and Kindergarten title--it covers a number of early learning skills like pre-reading and pre-math in its 8 activities. Players start out by exploring the rooms of Caillou's home, searching for 6 pieces of (easy-to-find) "treasure". As they click around each room, they uncover animated surprises and activities. Each game opens with a related animation from the show and an instruction screen, and, once complete, children are rewarded with a video from the puppet segment of the television show. 

Many of the activities are multi-level:

  • Building Blocks: Kids build a pictured toy, like a boat or car, and then identify it from the shapes (level 1), spell out a word given the letters (level 2), or spell out a word without clues (level 3).
  • Caillou's Crafts: Kids select activity pages to print, including coloring pages, connect the dots, a cut-and-paste craft, and puppets.
  • Tap the Tune: Rosie claps along as kids help Caillou repeat the patterns that Julie taps on the xylophone. As levels advance, the length of the tunes increase.
  • Sing & Dance: Players select a song, like Frere Jacques, choose dance steps, then watch as Caillou dances along to the song.
  • Fly By Butterfly: Leo asks Caillou to catch a certain number of matching butterflies. As levels advance, the patterns on the butterflies' wings become more detailed.
  • Silly Stories: Children create a silly story by selecting a friend, place, and 2 objects that are included in the story. The words are highlighted as they are read aloud, and kids can hear the pronunciation of any individual word simply by moving the cursor over it.
  • Sort the Socks: This matching game involves finding pairs of socks with designs that become more detailed as levels increase.
  • Sky Spy: Kids identify objects (such as a dog or triceratops) in the clouds.

This program is well done for the most part. The video clips are short and interesting, the activities are valuable and entertaining, and the design of the program works rather well. Congratulations and instructions are sometimes excessive, however. 

We tend to prefer the other available title, Caillou Birthday Party, but the differences between the two are minor--both titles are designed similarly.

 

 
Pros:
  • Educational activities that address a variety of early learning skills.
  • Plenty of activities 
  • Pleasing graphics and video clips from the show.
  • Encouraging feedback from characters.

 

Cons:
  • Instructions are sometimes excessive.

 

Back

For Win/Mac By: The Learning Company  Ages 2-6 Published: 2001
 

 

Our Rating:

A

Buy Caillou Magic Playhouse  at Amazon.com

Also available: Caillou - Four Seasons of Fun

Reviewed December 2001
Comments? Email us.
 
 

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