4 PC Games For Playing And Learning

May 10, 2010

Children are very much digital natives who tend to gravitate towards the computer and all things digital. What better way, then, to sneak in some learning than on the computer. There are many good software available that entertain and teach at the same time.

Here are four that young children will love.

White Bear and Little Penguin are delightful companions.

White Bear and Little Penguin are delightful companions.

My First Maths Adventure Adding and Subtracting

Publisher: Dorling-Kindersley

“Hi, I’m White Bear and up there, somewhere, is my friend, Little Penguin.” Bear and Penguin are delightful companions to have along on this maths adventure—they are joking and winding each other up all the time.

Kids learn to count, add, subtract, problem solve and use the plus and minus symbols in this gentle introduction to the language of numbers. Designed for the 3-8 year olds, there is enthusiastic cheering for every correct answer and encouragement for the wrong ones. “Next time you’ll be a winner,” White Bear says.

Five activities: Countdown, Easy Adding, Maths Machine, Paint by Numbers and Hidden Pictures are presented at three levels of difficulty. They culminate in a Supergame in which players can win certificates.

For kids who cannot yet read, all the instructions are read out; and the program runs at such a relaxed pace that even the little ones, who don’t quite possess the mouse skills, don’t get left behind.

Bear and Penguin get up to all sorts of funny antics—they fall down, they roll and tumble all over the place, and keep the kids in fits of laughter.

Minimum system requirements:

For Windows: Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP: 486DX 33 MHz or better, 16 Mb RAM, 10 Mb free hard disk space, 640×480 display/256 colours, 2X or faster CD-ROM drive, 8-bit sound card.

For Macintosh: Mac OS 7, 8, 9, X Classic Mode: 68LCO40 25 MHz or better, 12 Mb RAM, 6 Mb free hard disk space, 640×480 display/256 colours, 2X or faster CD-ROM drive, 8-bit sound card.

Dr Seuss' rhymes teach kids to read.

Dr Seuss' rhymes teach kids to read.

Dr. Seuss Reading Games

Publisher: Creative Wonders/The Learning Company

The zany, rhymy world of Dr. Seuss comes to life in this software. Two favourite Dr. Seuss books, ABC by Dr. Seuss and the classic The Cat in the Hat, turn interactive with plenty of amusing activities to keep the little ones interested.

This is a busy and fun-filled reading primer that helps kids with the alphabet, word recognition, pronunciation, reading comprehension, spelling, vocabulary and rhyming before they even suspect they are learning anything.

Izzy and Ichabod are two adorable guides with floppy ears in the ABC book where every alphabet has a hidden surprise. For example, Aunt Annie’s agreeable alligator, Albert, waddles out onto the screen to demonstrate big A and little a.

The music and graphics are captivating and the ABC sing-along song will have the kids singing out loud, often at the top of their voices.

After reading the Cat in the Hat book, it’s quite fascinating playing with this interactive version. As the story is read aloud, words are highlighted to help children make the connection between the sound of the word and the letters that make it up.

Words change to pictures and back to words again. Kids get to test their reflexes trying to catch Thing 1 and Thing 2 with a net. They can have a go at games like scrambling and unscrambling pictures and helping the Cat balance on a ball with all kinds of crazy objects.

Minimum system requirements:

For Windows: Windows 98, ME: 90 MHz Pentium or higher CPU, 16 Mb RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive or faster, 640×480 display/256 colours, video and sound cards compatible with DirectX.

For Macintosh: Power PC: System 7.5 or higher CPU, 9.5 Mb RAM free, 4X CD-ROM drive or faster, 640×480 display/256 colours.

Woody introduces children to English, Math and Science.

Woody introduces children to English, Math and Science.

Learning Ladder Year 3

Publisher: Dorling-Kindersley

This software kept my children engrossed for hours at a time over a period of many months. It is designed to support the British Year 3 curriculum (7 to 8 year-olds) with up to 300 exercises in maths, reading and writing.

The host—a pencil tied in a knot, called Dash Scribble or Woody for short—yells: “Lights, camera, action”, and brings the children into a playroom where they need to navigate their way around looking for different activities.

By clicking on the different items in the room, children will stumble onto quizzes that cover topics in maths, reading and writing and the world around us.

There are exercises on place value, adding and subtracting, multiplying and dividing, shapes, patterns and symmetry; phonics, writing sentences, vocabulary, basic grammar; clocks and calendars, maps, science, nature and living things, among others.

Every time a set of questions is correctly completed, the child is awarded a sticker, which he can paste inside his sticker book provided within the software. Kids seem to get a kick out of this sticker system.

There is also a progress chart for parents to monitor each of the activities and assess the children’s strengths and weaknesses.

System requirements:

Windows 98, Windows 98 SE, Windows 2000, Windows Millenium, Windows NT, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7: 486 DX2 33 MHz or above, any Pentium or equivalent, 16 Mb RAM, double-speed CD-ROM drive, 6 Mb hard disk space, 8-bit sound card.
Note that this software will not work if you have Windows 2000 and a Creative SoundBlaster Live! sound card.

A chance to save the worlds from androids...

A chance to save the worlds from androids...

Jump Start Adventure 3rd Grade

Publisher: Knowledge Adventure

Which kid doesn’t harbour dreams of saving the world? When bratty Polly Spark programs 25 robots to change history, kids team up with Botley the friendly robot to capture the androids and save the world from a distorted history.

To do this they have to go around Polly’s Mystery Mountain mansion playing games and solving puzzles that sneakily teach and reinforce knowledge and skills in maths, language, history, music, astronomy, geography, biology, ecology, art history, logic and reasoning.

The adventure theme keeps kids interested and even when they do not know the answers they are spurred to carry on by the goal of collecting clues and capturing all the 25 robots.

At every stage of the adventure, explicit instructions are read aloud. Children set their own pace—the software allows for skill levels to automatically adjust to match the child’s burgeoning abilities. Kids get a progress report that helps them and their parents track their growth.

The graphics and colours are engaging and Botley is a lovable kind of a robot. Some parents, however, have lodged complaints about Polly’s bad behaviour and worry that their kids might see her as a role model.

System requirements:

For Windows: 98/ME/2000/XP: Pentium II 266 MHz (Pentium II 300 MHz or faster for XP); 64 Mb RAM (128 Mb RAM for XP); 100 Mb hard disk; 12x CD-ROM drive; 16-bit colour; Windows compatible sound card.

For Macintosh: PowerMac G3 or better: 266 MHz or faster; OS 9.2.1, OSX Classic Mode; 64 Mb RAM (128 Mb RAM for OSX Classic Mode); 100 Mb hard disk; 16x CD-ROM drive; 16-bit colour.


2 Responses to 4 PC Games For Playing And Learning

  1. Fei Chin on July 4, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    How to get this Dr. Seuss Reading Games?

  2. Eileen Lian on July 4, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Hi Fei, if you are in KL, try the PC shops in Mid-Valley, Digital Mall or Low Yat.

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