For at least a couple of years now my five year old has been interested in playing around on the computer. We started off slowly, finding software for her to use that we purchased which was early childhood user friendly. I remember her excitement watching balls pop in a maze, from her simply pressing any key on the keyboard. Now that she's older, as a parent i've found it difficult to find places online that is fun and educational, while of course being safe.
I've been familiar with the JumpStart educational software company for years now. The sell many software titles, but I am most familiar with their grade leveled software which provides learning opportunities seamless intertwined in a game based interface. I was contacted via my blog to check out JumpStart's Online 3D Virtual World. At the time I had no idea JumpStart had a website for children, so I decided to allow Sj to explore the online world. At JumpStart online there are two types of playing, a membership based virtual world complete with 4 downloadable games to play while not online or a limited version to play for free. Please note the downloadable games are only for a PC, so we weren't able to utilize the games using our Mac.
Honestly, I am just amazed at how quickly my daughter picks up games online. I am not alone when I say that, our children at 5 years old are just technologically moving at leaps and bounds! Before I knew it she was creating her Jumpee (character in the game) to her liking. I think one of her favorite things to do is to switch up her hair color and clothing on her Jumpee. To me the best part about the JumpStart Virtual World is that it's a game she can explore on her own. It's a safe environment where she's learning skills without even thinking about it. I allow her a set time (I use a timer) online and since we began our membership with JumpStart, that's really all she has chosen to play. Here's a map to all the places to explore in the virtual world. So far, each day she's become more excited about what she's found in Adventureland, not bored. We all know how quickly our tech savvy kids get bored. The game builds upon her previous skills and is always progressing with her, which is fabulous to keep her attention! There are even parts she has yet to figure out, I can see the determination on her face when she tries to figure out the best way to reach a new part of the world. So many possibilities.
From what I gathered on the JumpStart website the monthly family membership fee for the 3D Virtual World with the downloadable games is $7.99, but there is also a reduced rate for an annual membership.
JumpStart has offered one of my readers a FREE 3 MONTH membership to the online virtual world. I am making this easy, just leave a comment on this post with a valid email/contact info. ONE winner will be chosen at random and please only one entry per person. Comments will close in one week on September 9 at 12pm MST. I will pass your contact information along to JumpStart if you are the chosen winner! Good Luck!
Jumpstart Pet Rescue for Wii
After spending time at the JumpStart website, I noticed there was a Wii Game that was about to be released called Pet Rescue. Even though my 5 year old daughter is very well versed with computer based games, I have to admit we have struggled trying to find games for her on the Wii that she can play independently. Rarely does she play the Wii all by herself, but when I say independently I mean allowing Sj to play the Wii with out any assistance from me when we play a game together. She loves trying out the sports games and Wii Fit, but let's be honest they weren't developed for children (especially Wii Fit). Frequently I find her frustration level on the rise when even playing some games that were intended for children.
We were given the opportunity to preview the JumpStart Pet Rescue Wii Game and when the box arrived I was thrilled to see the EC- Early Childhood label on the front of the box! The game is designed for 3-6 year olds. Hip Hip Hooray! A game my daughter can use as a tool to develop her Wii skills without feeling the frustration like she does with other games developed for older children. And an added bonus that surprised me when playing this game? My 2 year old could even play! Now I'm not saying she mastered the game, but it was really a first step in learning how to press buttons and utilize the remote control in a easy fun manner!
Take a peek at the Pet Rescue world being played by Sj with her virtual bunny named Fuzzy.
Two thumbs up from us JumpStart! Take a chance to stop by JumpStart.com and blog for even more educational ideas. While on their blog homepage on the left hand side you can find links to their Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, and YouTube links as well.