Computing With Kids: Top Edutainment Titles Combine Learning, Fun

 
by Jinny Gudmundsen, Battle Creek Enquirer, December 6, 2003

After testing hundreds of new titles this year, here's our "Best Picks for the Holidays" in the category of children's "edutainment" titles. Edutainment software combines entertainment and learning.

‘Clifford Phonics'

Kids play with Clifford in a special carnival that teaches phonics. It's as fun as it is educational. Scholastic, www.scholasticstore.com, ages 4-6, $20, Windows/Macintosh.

‘Alice in Vivaldi's Four Seasons: The Music Game'

Children play 12 music games with the whimsical characters of Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" while being cocooned in the exciting music of Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons." A brilliant title! Music Games International, www.KidsMusicStage.com, $19.95, ages 6-up, Windows.

‘I Spy Fantasy'

This software packs 54 visual "I Spy" puzzles into three exciting fantasy adventures. Scholastic, www.scholasticstore.com, $20, ages 6-10, Windows/Macintosh.

‘Learn to Play Chess with Fritz and Chesster"

Kids learn how to play chess by going on an adventure in the Kingdom of the White King during which they play mini-games that teach how each chess piece moves. Viva Media, www.viva-media.com, $29.99, ages 7-12, Windows.

‘Mia: The Kidnap Caper'

A magical adventure set in a truly amazing graphical world seen from the perspective of Mia Mouse. In it, children learn either Spanish or French as a second language. One of the year's best! Kutoka, www.kutoka.com, $20, ages 6-10, Windows/Macintosh.

‘Math Missions Grades 3-5'

As tweens zip around Spectacle City helping mathematically challenged store clerks with their math problems, they earn money to buy their own arcade business. Scholastic, www.scholasticstore.com, $20, ages 8-11, Windows/Macintosh.
 
‘Scooby Doo! The Scary Stone Dragon'

Kids join Scooby and the gang in China to solve a mystery involving a stone dragon that appears to have come alive. A great mystery with fun logical thinking games. The Learning Company, www.learningcompany.com, $24.99, ages 5-10, Windows.

‘Zoo Tycoon: The Complete Collection'

This fabulous bundle includes the original zoo-building simulation "Zoo Tycoon," expansion packs "Marine Mania" and "Dinosaur Digs," and the new bonus pack "Endangered Species." Microsoft, www.zootycoon.com, $29.99, ages 10-up, Windows.

Gudmundsen, editor of Choosing Children's Software magazine www.ChoosingChildrensSoftware.com,  publishes a free, weekly newsletter at www.computerwithkids.com.