** Updated 7/17/10 This contest is now closed! Thanks to everyone who entered.
I was recently given the opportunity to review JumpStart, an online learning game for children 3-10 years old. It’s a virtual world where kids can create avatars called Jumpeez for themselves and explore magical worlds, discovering and unlocking games, videos and storybooks that teach everything from math to reading.
When I first got the game, I wasn’t sure how I felt about letting my four year old play around on the computer, much less playing a video game. She’s never really been on the computer before. I wasn’t sure she would be able to maneuver her avatar around, if she would be able to play the games, and if the learning would be worth letting her sit in front of the computer. Well, it took about fifteen minutes to be able to move her Jumpeez around by herself and she just loves the game!
She was hooked right away when she created her Jumpeez and got to pick her hair color, eye color, clothes, shoes, and hat.
She loves being able to change the clothes, design her house, and take care of a pet.
At her age, she’s in StoryLand. It’s a nice area where she can do all the activities that older kids do in the rest of the worlds without having to find her way around a large virtual world.
There are learning games for her to play that she enjoys. They are very age appropriate for her and include letter recognition, number recognition, patterns, shapes, and following directions.
When she finishes a game, she collects gifts that she can use around her world: CDs, flowers, butterflies, and other similar items. She really gets a kick out of seeing what she wins after each game.
She can also color pictures using paintbrush type tools like Photoshop has then post them on billboards in her world.
Like any game, there are missions for her to complete. If she does, she earns pieces to books in the library. When she earns all the pieces, she can go to the library and have the books read to her. She doesn’t really appear to understand that aspect of the game. With my help, she managed to complete one book, but she doesn’t seem interested in earning more books. Overall, however, she does enjoy the game and is enjoying the learning games.
I have been playing as an older child as well. I have to say I am enjoying it as well. Older kids earn coins for playing the learning games that they can use to buy clothes or build and furnish their house. They have a neighborhood and could add their friends to their neighborhood if their friends were also playing the game.
I had two favorite areas. The first is FutureLand where there are learning games designed for 8-10 year olds.The games are set up like ” Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”. There are a lot of subjects available including reading, history, math, politics, and science. The questions seemed appropriate for the target age group. (I may have even missed one.)
My other favorite area was the Enchanted Sanctuary where you get to hatch and train a dragon. They are the cutest things in the world!
Overall, it seems to be a good learning system. Like all learning tools, it’s probably not as fun as some video games designed purely for entertainment, but it is fun. I think most kids would enjoy it. As a parent, I would say the 6-10 year age group is probably the ideal age to get for this game. At that age they’re old enough to really understand playing a game but not too old that they think educational games are lame. My daughter does occasionally get her Jumpeez stuck because she’s not adept at moving the mouse. She does, however, enjoy it and would play it all day if I let her.
When I asked her what her favorite part of the game was she said, “I like changing her clothes and making my house.” When I asked her what she didn’t like she said, “I love it all!” So there you go.
My biggest complaint is that it can be a little slow to load sometimes.
The best part is it’s free! Anyone can sign up and play. Of course, you can also pay to be a member. Members have access to more worlds and can earn more coins.
Knowledge Adventure has generously offered one reader a free 3 month membership to JumpStart!
The contest will run until July 17, 2010 at 11:59 pm. The winner will be chosen by random.org and notified by e-mail.
1) Leave a comment telling me who in your house will be playing the game. Make sure I have an e-mail address to contact you if you win.
2) Follow this blog with Google Friends Connect and leave a comment you did.
3) Like Adventures With Three Girls on Facebook (on the right sidebar) and leave a comment you did.
You can do one or all three for up to three entries.
Images courtesy of Knowledge Adventure.
Disclosure: I was provided with a JumpStart membership at no cost by Knowledge Adventure in order to test the products’ abilities and give my own personal opinions on it. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but were not influenced by the company or the free product provided.