Thursday, October 23, 2008

Funbrain Mom and Kids Playground*****

I am busy! Too busy to write!

Terribly so? Well, I suppose I could always take the time out to write, but then other things like kid, house and home, festivals, school etc etc. will have to go, so I am forcefully and rather unwillingly curtailing my natural tendency to ramble and letting you have these posts undiluted. Will this trend remain? I hope not! But on the other hand, who knows? Wait and watch!

The aptly named Mom and Kids Playground is the page for young children from Pearson Education, Inc. - one among their many excellent free resources on the net. This is actually an offshoot from their Funbrain page but that deserves a full post separately - so more on that later.

The home page is attractive, featuring weird but ultra cute and friendly looking oddities, which invite kids to play with them. The game frames are small sized, but there is never any feeling of being short of space because they are designed so well. There is usually an ad from the family education network on the right, but it disappears when you start playing. Each game is different; if there is any repetition of style or theme, it is well camouflaged. The games are simple to master, and do not pressurize the kid to play to any unreasonable deadlines or results. Each successful operation - achieving whatever the game needs you to do - is rewarded with a star though. In some games, a mistake the next time will erase all the stars but they are always easy to regain. Three or five stars end the game. I am so tempted to feature nearly all the games here but no, you ought to be given the pleasure of discovery with your child...

Star climber has this little cute thing in overalls trying to climb up and gather three stars. Unfortunately wandering satellites get in the way (oh the junk in space!) and down he goes to begin again. While the idea is that kids learn to predict where the satellite will be and take evasive action, sometimes it is so much more fun to deliberately bang into them and hear the character go 'Gaaaaaaah'!

In the same vein, the Vine Time game is supposed to teach counting, with the round blobby thing with incredibly elastic arms picking up fruit from trees (and berries from bushes below) counting aloud the number of fruits you help it gather. But did you know that you can click on both hands and it lets go and falls, with appropriate sound effects? There you go, much more fun! Especially when mama is knocking her head in mock despair and pressing you to not do so!

One of the very first games we had tried was Simon See which has a finger shaped - monster? with three eyes admiring himself in the mirror. His eyes of his reflection in the mirror open and close in a random fashion and you have to click on the real eyes to match the image. Each time you succeed, he gives a satisfactory grunt and smiles, but in a moment the reflection changes and he is like 'uh-huh?' while the corners of his mouth turn down. As it was the first encounter of my toddler with a 'monster' I was wondering it it would be scary. I needn't have worried - it was a hit from the first! Try it; it is addicting for the tots!

There are, also, a bubble popping game, a feed the crocodile game (judge the parabola from the angle of fish loaded canon), a change the pattern game (five shapes in a row), a simple colouring game, a dig out the worms and money game (to increase click rate - not for the really tiny ones), and more! The girl in the swing in the top row, and the boy standing in the last, lead to stories, not games. The only thing to avoid perhaps - and its a recent addition - is the squirrel or monkey to the left of the middle tree in the top row. That is a card matching game, and has images from LeapFrog's touch reading system covers. Well enough if you have them, but as it is, the small size makes them unclear (and unlike all the other games here).

The url -

P.S. Just one thing - use the playground button on the left of the game to return rather than clicking on done, and then going back - too long a process! Also, there is no option of playing again, so choose reload in the browser and you are set.

1 comment:

priya kuriyan said...

these are fantastic ..played some of them myself and I must say I got hooked