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A rather narrow age range
on September 26, 2011
I have two daughters, the younger one will be three in December and the older one will be five in November. This laptop seems to be squarely between their ability levels. It's far too easy for my older daughter, although she likes playing with it anyway. She likes to get "100" on all the games (and she gets rather frustrated if she gets anything less). On the other hand, it's too advanced for my younger daughter, although she can do some of the activities with adult help. For one thing, the younger one hasn't been able to figure out the mouse, so she can't work the games on her own. But even with adult help to work the mouse, she still needs help with the games themselves. It appears that this game is appropriate for children perhaps three to four and a half - ages when children are learning basics such as letters and numbers.
For Christmas we bought the younger one a "Leaptop" by Leap Frog. This children's laptop is quite a bit better. This laptop has quite a bit more functionality, including several features within each of four different categories: "Music Party", "Letters and Words", "Numbers and Shapes", and "Logic and Games".
Music Party includes ten different songs for kids to chose from and each can be spiced up with extra sounds by pressing the letter keys. The top row of letter keys produce musical notes as if played by a piano. The bottom row produces animal sounds such as a dog bark and a cat's meow. The middle row contains a variety of sounds including a belch, much to the delight of your average preschooler. My younger one can play this one on her own once I select a song for her. This section doesn't seem terribly educational, but my kids seem to enjoy it, until I get annoyed enough to tell them to choose something else.
The Letters and Words section and the Numbers and Shapes section both contain learning modules and interactive games. For instance, there is a "picture dictionary" which will present a word for each letter of the alphabet and show a picture of that word. The Shapes section has a module which features a dog walking down a path passing various shapes which are named as he passes them. There are also games involving recognizing letters that are partially hidden, counting shapes, and adding small numbers.
My older daughter seems to like the Logic and Games section the best. The games are quite simple, such as matching shadows to the animals which produce them, finishing a two-piece puzzle and finding the "odd one out" among four pictures. There's also a module which simply shows a fish swimming in a tank and children can change the fish by clicking the mouse.
After completing activities in the Letters, Numbers and Logic sections, children can get their "report card" to see how they've done.
There is also capability to connect to the internet and download additional material, but we haven't tried that yet, and we might not; it just seems like a lot of work and hassle for a three-year-old's toy. I will update this review if and when we do attempt it.
This laptop does seem pretty durable. My kids are less than dainty and they've already managed to bump and knock it around a bit. It doesn't seem to have suffered any ill effects so far.
Because kids will grow out of this pretty quickly, I recommend it more for learning centers or daycares where multiple children will have opportunity to use it, or at least households with multiple children who can use it in succession. It seems rather expensive for the use that just one child will get out of it, unless you have other children in mind to hand it down to. 3.5 stars.