Saturday, October 25, 2008

The mouse club***

The mouse club is a site for young children created by the publishing division of d2 Digital by Design Ltd., U.K. They also produce "a range of educational resources for 3-19 year olds using media including print, video, CD-ROM and web."

To begin, click on the clubhouse on the home page. It opens the mouse club in a new window, full screen (or nearly), from where you have a choice of games, activities, mouse tales, secret club, and joining the club (free). There are no ads.

Secret club, when loading will show the mice sliding down a dirt tunnel to their 'secret' location, where you have to click on the right shape Roly mouse is thinking of to gain entrance. As that is prominently featured in a thought bubble, it is easy but kids love the 'secret' part of it! The club has four games - bits and bobs, which is basically like gluing four stickers on to a scene and printing it out; mouse olympics, which is the one game I do not recommend for it involves repeatedly and very rapidly pressing two keys to win, and which can injury little fingers; mouse hockey - ice hockey actually, which involves mouse movements to hit the puck; and snakes and ladders. As you just have to click the dice on your turn, it can get a bit tedious watching the counters move slowly by themselves. On the other hand, you could always count aloud and teach counting or addition.

There are also Roly's recipes, a tiny personalized story book which uses kid's name, town and school name, and Blue's scrap book containing downloadable activities like making a card or helping Roly shop.

Mouse tales has six stories at this time, not all feature the mice. Worth a look in case you find something you like.

Activities includes a couple of games as well. Mouse control is a grid of squares which light up in different colours by rolling over and produce sounds when clicked. Good for younger kids. Mouse music, the only game I persistently have trouble loading on my connection, has three instruments and a couple of rhymes (only the music of course). Surprisingly the piano, which can be played using the keyboard as well, sounds different, harsher when you play it than when the computer plays its melodies! Its been a while since we tried the other two instruments though, chiefly because they don't seem to be loading up no matter how long you wait - and waiting is tough for kids!

You can also, in that section, write to Roly, print a card or gift tag. I haven't tried the last, but there is no 'back' button apparently when making a card. You have to exit, and re-enter the clubhouse.

There are only five games essentially although divided into sections. For instance, hide and seek may be at the beach, garden or shop. Or a maze en route to school, at a birthday party or in a garden. In addition, find tic tac toe, join the dots and mouse keepy uppy - clicking on a ball to keep it in air. This is the only game which is not as easy as it sounds! The others are all pretty simple and designed to improve mouse and keyboard skills of young children.

When you are done with the clubhouse, return to the home page for a scribbler e-card, kid jokes and a slider puzzle. Grown ups can find downloadables, activity sheets, lesson plans, party ideas and the like.

The url -

P.S. The back button when you are in the games section doesn't work - at least just now. Click on games again to go back.

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