Monday, January 24, 2011

The Land of Me: Kids Educational Software

I have been given the priviledge to try out a children's educational software called The Land of Me. Let me first tell you what it is about before I tell you what I think about it.

What Is It?
This educational software targets children aged 2 -6 years old. It is designed to give you the feel of reading a picture book but one that is interactive. The three main characters are Buddy Boo (the bear), Eric (the raccoon) and Willow (the owl).

There are 6 chapters (or games) and each covers a different learning concept.
  1. Chapter 1 is about shape, size and colour. (By the way, this chapter is free). Children get to transform the 3 friends into various creatures by selecting a combination of different shapes, sizes and colours.
  2. Chapter 2 is called The World Outside. The 3 friends tell Mr. Rigby, the eagle, where they have ventured to. Children select the landscape, the weather and the time of day to create different sceneries.
  3. Chapter 3 is about making things. Anthony, the anteater, has children select what kind of building they want, what is it going to be made of and on what kind of foundation. So children may end up with let's say, a jelly teepee on water or a stone pueblo on mud.
  4. Chapter 4 will have the 3 friends dancing with Dodo the otter. Children select 3 animals they would like to imitate. Then, with music, they will hop like a rabbit, swish like a shark, snap like a crocodile, pinch like a crab etc....
  5. Chapter 5 is music time with Bernard the crocodile. Select which friend you would like to sing about. Then decide on the type of music and if it is going to be fast, medium or slow paced.
  6. Chapter 6 allow children to create stories. They select the hero, what the story is going to be about and also if they want a happy, sad or funny ending.
If you want to learn more about it, click the following link: The Land of Me

Have a look at what Chapter 2 is like.

What I Think About It?
  • The first thing that struck me was the graphics. It really is beautiful and different from usual cartoon illustrations of other computer games. I am reminded of Disney cartoons. You don't get loud, annoying music nor graphics that make your head spin. It really is like a story book.

  • It is best played with the accompaniment of an adult. I like how at the top right hand corner of the screen, are additional facts and questions that parents/caretakers/educators can use to add to the lesson. For example, there was a question that asked "why do you think Willow always sits on top of Eric's head?".

  • You won't find your children playing on the computer for hours with this software. Well, at least not in my case. My son (4 years old) doesn't play more than 1/2 hour. After a while, he gets bored. It is understandable because this is not like other mindless or violent computer games that are purely just for entertainment. It is a perfect addition to my homeschooling effort for my son. After some reading and writing exercises, I use this software as a break. He gets to use the computer and I get to squeeze in more educational stuff. So, it is best not to treat this program as a "babysitter" but rather as a fun teaching supplement.

  • I like how the children get to change the words in the sentences and that will change what is happening on the screen. However, I do wish they had more choices. Each word only has 3 choices.

  • It is not just computer games. There are printables too. You can continue offline doing crafts and activities that you can print out.

What I don't like about it?
  • It was quite time consuming for me to download everything. First, I had to download the software. Then I had to download the "Chapters" one by one. Each chapter took me about an hour to download. Now, not everyone has a fast internet connection. If that is the case with you, I advise you to order the DVD.

  • I notice you have to buy each Chapter separately. If there was a packaged deal where you buy all the Chapters at a discounted price, I think that would appeal to many people.

Overall, I think it is a beneficial software for young children. It is something they will enjoy playing with you by their side.

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