In every effort to prepare Toots for primary school, I have been letting her play around with my laptop for the last few weeks.
When we attended the open night at her primary school a few of the teachers explained that the school actively encourage the use of computers and that from day one each child will spend some amount of time using a PC every day. There are a bank of computers in each classroom and it works out roughly one computer for every three to four kids so there aren't any time constraints on the kids using them.
I've been allowing Toots to play around with the laptop, basically opening either a word doc or paint and letting her do her own thing. I want her to get used to the basics, using a mouse, drag and drop, navigating around the screen, that kind of thing.
Anyway, I'm very likely to be the last person to have heard about Big Fish Games, but I'll tell you about them anyway.
The weather was awful last week and I was starting to run out of things for Toots to do. We baked, did some crafts, colouring, painting, music, singing, dancing, you name we did everything, but it was getting a little repetitive so I went hunting online for something to keep her occupied. I didn't really have anything in mind, probably paper dolls or some new colouring pages or word games, but instead I stumbled upon Big Fish.
For anyone who hasn't heard of them, you should check them out. Ok, the games are mostly based n characters like Dora, Diego, Spongebob and Wonder Pets but there are a few lego games and such.
The games are designed with preschool age kids in mind and the way it works is that you can either buy the complete game (usually around 60 levels) for about $8 which is totally worth it for a preschool game. Toots received a V smile for her birthday and the games for that thing are £20 and upwards and no offence but they're crap.
The other thing you can do (and this is what I do) is download one free hour of gameplay. You can choose any game at all and once your child uses the free hour it gives you a handy uninstall button and you can download another free hour. I have six hours of gameplay downloaded and ready for her if the weather turns out to be bad again.
Toots loves the games because there is a lot of variety. Mostly they are number games, word association, colour matching and such. The games are actually very educational and best of all, considering that the games are essentially free, there aren't any advertisements at all.
Toots favourites so far have been Dora's Carnival Adventure 1 & 2, Diego's Dinosaur Rescue and the Wonder Pets Save the Puppy, particularly the last one because as she completes each stage she "wins" a colouring page which she can print out all by herself.
She's only played a little bit of each but so far I can see a vast improvement in her computer skills. She has absolutely no problems using either the mouse or the navigation pad on the laptop. She can click, double click, drag and drop ad type her name in at the beginning of each new game without any help at all.
I have linked to the preschool games but they also have free downloadable games for older kids and adults (CSI NY anyone). All you have to do is go to the homepage and click on "Download Games".
Any now for the winner of the Q Bee Chicks Giveaway.
Drum roll please...
Random.org chose number 11. The winner is Heather who said;
"These are adorable! Are they your original design? My favorite thing about spring is the flowers, esp irises. My nose hates the fine yellow coating of pollen everywhere though."
Heather, I've sent an email to you today and I'll get the Q Bees in the post to you as soon as.
I hope everyone is having a great Easter.