Ok, peeves for today - mouse which gets stuck from time to time, Photoshop which crashes, impending no-maid weeks, my crankiness, lack of time for anything. To counter: sunshine, light breeze, one more holiday tomorrow, child at home, opportunities for sharing, books ready. One would think these are enough, but no, I am cranky and need to sleeeeeeeeeeeep, and won't, because equally I need to day-dream, think, imagine, read, be stimulated, create, feed inner hunger. And sleep. Still sleep wins, is the best antidote to crankiness, and still I ignore it. Sometimes I remember that robot from this movie - must be 10-20 years old, which I saw drifting around on HBO maybe 7 years back - the one that super-flipped through huge phone books, chanting 'Input, input, input' all the while. I feel that hunger: constant, gnawing, never satiated...
In accordance with the wishes of the mouse that sticks, I was going to feature a one game site, but then I found this, and didn't remember what it was, and clicked it, and - how can I not share it now? It has been ages since we played these, so hopefully I myself will remember to click through on this next meal time :) Game goo is an educational game site with the catch phrase 'learning that sticks' created by Earobics, which I think is a part of Houghton Miffin Harcourt. They make educational software, so this would be just a showcase for them, hence the lack of adverts or other distractions.
The index page and all the games are on a deep purple background, which I might not have chosen myself, but it works! The home page is laid out according to level, which is pretty useful. But if your kid is anything like mine, there need to be at least three times these many for each level! Hover over each game to hear a funny little sound, and to read a mini description at the top of the game board. (If you want a detailed description of the game and the level, try the 'description' or the 'educational standard' page.)
The beginner level has five games. You can try to arrange the bears in right alphabetical order, which reinforces both the correct order as well as the pronunciation. Or you could connect lost baby kangaroos with their parents by choosing the correct lower case - upper case combination (kangaroo confusion).
You could follow Teena's directions to collect bugs - simple directions like 'check under the bridge and behind the trees'. Or you could play Teena's make believe or real game, which asks children to differentiate between two scenarios, only one of which is real.
Sassy seals will feed and collect the fish whose spoken word starts with the same letter as the word said aloud by papa seal.
Of the middle level games, two are nearly the same, both involving clicking on the components of the given component - space trash and letter bugs. The words are not always very clear to our Indian ears, and the letters fly too fast for someone just learning. Which is probably why it is not the beginner level :) Monkey business is even more complicated, involving laying down the various parts of sentences in correct order.
We haven't tried the advanced levels at all, giving up at this point! But, there is also the fun goo page (from the right lower corner link). It has links to game previews (games coming soon), screen savers and wallpapers. Colouring goo has printables, so no good for us :( Goo tunes has tiny little tunes that play when you click and drag a coin on the left to the 'tune' machine. Not a very fulfilling game as the tunes are neither child friendly simple ones, nor complete in themselves. And finally are the gooey games! There are half a dozen games I think, each opening in a separate window.
Catch a piggie is a cute little maze game, with no time limit, but the piggie keeps running away, and you have to master the trick of moving to another part of the maze to find him. Interesting idea for children to grasp.
Some of the other games are creative but not so cute - create a Frankenstein for example, but they will do fine. There is even a musical game. Compose a goo has seven of these - goos - in a row, and according to the goo face you click in the top row, they will either sing proper notes (do-re-mi) or something really silly, using which you can record and playback your composition. You can't change the kind of notes midway though - not from do-re-mi to ah-oh-ouch for example.
Overall, a site I would recommend especially to teachers! And oh, although this too is flash, it doesn't take any time to load at all!
The url - http://www.earobics.com/gamegoo/gooeylo.html
P.S. I think sleep is vastly underrated as a healing tool. Witness poor Beetle -