October 1997

Cyber News and Reviews is a monthly column published for parents, teachers & business owners featuring kids educational software reviews, business software reviews (small business & home business), games and entertainment articles, a free resource since 1995.


Fisher-Price Ready for School: Toddler, JumpStart 1st Grade Reading, Super Jewelry Kit and The Lost World: Jurassic Park Iron-On Gear

Fisher-Price Ready for School: Toddler from Davidson & Associates

When Ready for School: Toddler arrived, Becky my 2 1/2 year-old daughter couldn't wait for me to install the CD. Af ter one glance at the box, and especially the inside cover, she knew it hers. She was ready to play some games, talk on the phone, blow bubbles, sing her ABCs and more, with the Little People characters. This is a two CD set with the software on one and the Fisher-Price Parenting Guide on the second. The guide contains over 1,200 kids related articles plus an interactive medical guide.

Once installed, Becky went right into playing and learning, with my 6-year-old daughter, Sarah, waiting in the background. Even though the game is recommended for kids ages 1 1/2 to 3 years, Sarah liked connecting the dots and the painting activities. Also, most toddler software requires learning to use the mouse to access the activities, and that goes for Ready for School: Toddler. If your child hasn't mastered the mouse, now is the time. Becky learned the mouse by the time she turned 2, and found the activities easy to access and perform. For those children who haven't yet learned the mouse, a parent can help them through the activities.

From the main menu you have access to Bubbles Big & Little, Who's Hiding, Shapes & Colors, ABC Fun, Count With Me, Bodies in Motion, My First Things, Music Magic, Animals on Parade and Telephone Talk. You can also change levels and check your child's skill level in each activity performed. A unique feature, which takes advantage of the computer's multimedia capabilities, allows recording messages using a microphone connected to your sound card. You can record messages to be played in the Telephone Talk Level 1 activity and also record messages for Spot the dog to deliver. Spot will play a message randomly during activities.

Ready for School: Toddler has lots of fun educational activities, even for kids over the suggested age range. It even includes the Fisher-Price Parenting Guide as a bonus. This is another great educational tool from Davidson, so I recommend it.

The software sells for $29.95 and will run on any 486/66 MHz multimedia computer with 8 megabytes of RAM and Apple Macintosh with a 68040 processor or faster multimedia computer with 12 megabytes of RAM. Both computers require double-speed CD-ROM drives. For more information, contact Davidson & Associates at 1-800-545-7677.

JumpStart 1st Grade Reading from Knowledge Adventure

Sarah, my 6-year-old, also loves the JumpStart series of educational CDs from Knowledge Adventure. And at her request, we installed JumpStart 1st Grade Reading soon after the UPS driver handed me the package; actually while he was driving away. Although she has done fantastic with the Math Blaster and Reading Blaster series from Davidson, she was now ready to read with the help of Knowledge Adventure.

With this CD, your kids, ages 5 through 7, will learn reading in a circus setting. It's an adventure game where the goal is to find and assemble a puzzle of the missing Big Top performers. Kids will play wacky carnival games to earn tickets to visit the Lost & Found wagon and get clues to locate missing puzzle pieces. Once all 20 pieces are found, the circus will then go on.

From the Main Fairway you can access the all the fun carnival and circus activities including Fortune Teller, Music Machine, Mighty Mallet, Strong Dog, Lost & Found, the Big Top, Puppet Theater, Jungle Bowl, Splatter-the Batter and finally, Pluck-a-Pearl. With animation, sound effects and music your child will be encouraged to learn word order, reading comprehension, synonyms and antonyms, vowel sounds, spelling and much more. For example, in Splatter-the-Batter build sentences while helping the chef throw cake batter at his dinner guests. In Pluck-a-Pearl, match the vowel sounds spoken with the correct words displayed in open oysters.

Sarah has spent hours and hours with JumpStart 1st Grade Reading, and I know it helps. This type of educational software has really given her a head start in school. In fact, she's at the top of her class in reading, and JumpStart 1st Grade Reading has helped make that possible.

JumpStart 1st Grade Reading sells for $29.95 and will run on any 486DX2 66 MHz or faster multimedia computer with 16 megabytes of RAM Windows 95 or 8 megabytes of RAM Windows 3.1and Apple Macintosh with a 68040 processor or faster multimedia computer with 8 megabytes of RAM. Both computers require double-speed CD-ROM drives and 15 megabytes hard disk space. For more information, contact Knowledge Adventure at 1-800-542-4240.

PrintPaks Super Jewelry Kit and The Lost World: Jurassic Park Iron-On Gear from PrintPaks, Inc.

Two new neat computer kids craft kits are available from PrintPaks, Inc. The Super Jewelry Kit lets you and your kids make jewelry with the help of your computer and color printer. It includes a CD with animated instructions, lots of art, fonts, paint tools, rubber stamps and jewelry findings. You can even add photos to your jewelry. You'll find special shrinking paper to print your color designs on. Cut them out and then bake in an oven and they'll shrink to the right size. Next, add clips, pins and cord to assemble your very own jewelry designs. It sells for $24.95 and works on either an IBM PC or compatible in Windows or Apple Macintosh.

The second product will help you create Jurassic Park theme T-shirts using your computer and color printer to make iron-ons. It includes a CD with animated instructions, The Lost World: Jurassic Park artwork, fonts, paint tools, stamps, a T-shirt and special inkjet transfer paper for your iron-on designs. You can even include your own pictures on the shirts. It sells for $29.95 and works on any multimedia IBM PC or compatible in Windows. For more information call PrintPaks at 1-800-775-6860.

Software Companies Mentioned

Davidson & Associates, Inc.
P.O. Box 2961
Torrance, CA 90509
Phone: 1-800-545-7677

Knowledge Adventure, Inc.
1311 Grand Central Ave.
Glendale, CA 91201
Phone: 1-800-542-4240

PrintPaks, Inc.
513 NW 13 Ave., Suite 202
Portland, OR 97209
Phone: 1-800-774-6860