Sunday, January 18, 2009

Berenstain bears: official**, RandomHouse** and at PBS***

You know a young mother by the way she -
- rocks gently on her heels when standing in line with a couple of bags in her arms
- looks out of the window and sees only the cows, pigs, dogs and assorted animals which make noises she can imitate
- mimes eating herself when she is feeding a toddler - or watching one being fed
- finds sharp corners and exposed electric outlets better than anyone else
- looks only at the children's books section in the library, the bookstores and the houses she visits...

It is perhaps just as well that my recent book buying sprees have been limited to kid books, twenty of which would occupy as much space as one of mine, because otherwise I would have to move out of my own home! I am more than an impulse buyer of books: I am an unstoppable force. As long as there is money in my wallet, there will be books in my basket. Especially if there is a sale on, when I will not even pause to examine if the books are appropriate for age or not. After all, if not now, they can always be read later. Or by me. Anyway, one of such acquisitions last year turned out to be a Berenstain Bears book, of which I had been previously unaware. It was the one in which the brother sister 'get the gimmies', something that thankfully we haven't had to deal with yet. I thought that its overt preaching would put my then just two year old off, but so far, its magic is holding. Perhaps because the characters are not really identified with? Keeping my fingers crossed anyway!

Berenstain bears were created by Stan Berenstain and his wife Jan, who took inspiration from their real life family for the books. Subsequently the family has also been turned into a tv show. So, instead of one site, today I am going to talk of three, all of which feature Berenstain bears.

The official website is of course, 'The official Berenstain Bears Website', owned by the Berenstain Enterprises, Inc.



Its a java based site, so may take just a little while to load up. The home page has a separate scrollable menu on the left, which is useful. Or you could click on the links in the image itself. Do not click on the enticing 'new' site promoted here - it has no games at all. Of course, if you want to know more about the Stan Berenstain foundation, you should visit. Or for such other academia of no interest to small children :) The link to click is the Activities one -



You'll notice that most of these are actually downloadable activities, for example the dress up figures, mazes, colouring sheets, and all of the newer activities. The interactive story book is the one thing that this page is worth visiting. It allows you to read one whole book online by turning the pages. Rather small, but beggars can't be choosers!



The Factoids are about eight little - factoids. The trivia quiz is also - trivial. Slider puzzle is online, single slider puzzle. And the mystery message is a message in code, with the decoder ring given on another page. All these are therefore suitable for the pre-teens more than kindergarten kids.

And oh, there is a video page; the link is called Barn theater, which has three or four very very small sized clips. Small as in viewing size, although the length is not great either.

The colouring pages below come from the Random House page of activities related to Berenstain bears. Nice detailed drawings to colour online, with the added advantage of being able to scribble or add a few simple shapes over any drawing so completed. Be warned that the eraser is rather permanent: you can't colour over it once erased!



But the best set of games come from, as usual, PBS kids.



The matching game is standard, but I have not seen a single matching game being given the miss so far, so all is well. The join the dots game has letters rather than numbers, spelling out the name of the thing drawn, and is an interesting find.



The 'pack a picnic' game is fun too, even if you are not aware of the bears' family histories, as we were when we first found it. It involves opening up or moving a lot of things to find the required article.


The 'make your own story' game is directed towards slightly older kids, who can read and are being taught parts of speech etc. But I still read it out and we have fun filling in the blanks.



The game I liked the most, partly because of the long time it takes I admit, is the 'find whats wrong' game. In each room, there are a few things which are amiss, and it takes a bit of observation to find all of them. An enjoyable game too.



Dress a bear is a game which falls somewhat short of expectations in that the dresses don't 'click' into place, but merely hang over the image like stickers, leading to some strange montages when put together by not so adept fingers. Oh well, as long as they are having fun... The video clips here are predictably more numerous, though, alas, just as short.
Here are the urls:
The official site - http://www.berenstainbears.com/
Berenstain bears at PBS kids - http://pbskids.org/berenstainbears/games/index.html
Berenstain bears at Random House Publishers -http://www.randomhouse.com/kids/berenstainbears/activities/
P.S. It has been suggested to me that by engrossing myself in all these children's books, and websites, I am actually reliving my own childhood a second time. Hmm, what if? And if so, isn't it fun!

2 comments:

drowninginlaundry said...

Awesome!

I am always looking for something to entertain the dictator with online!

Swati said...

Thanks. Do join in with your favourites to feature here!