Parents familiar with the older title Eager to Learn from Sierra will recognize Adiboo and his unique little world. Adiboo, along with his suction-cup dog-friend Pup and a host of other animated characters, welcomes kids to his PlayLand.
Parents not familiar with Adiboo titles will be awestruck by the program’s sheer number of activities. The opportunities to explore and learn seem almost endless.
On the first disc of this 2-CD-ROM set, kids explore and play games in Adiboo’s garden and house – the PlayLand. Besides plenty of multiple-response clickables, there are flowers and vegetable gardens to tend to, a robot who can make fruit trees grow at lightning speed, creativity activities in the playhouse, and baked treats to make and decorate in the kitchen. Cleverly, the fruits, vegetables, and wheat that kids plant and eventually harvest are tied in with the program’s baking games, and even activities like feeding the birds. As such, kids happily go back and forth between the garden and playhouse, keeping themselves busy.
In the PlayLand, many activities are in a free-play format and can also be played as directed games. For example, kids can experiment with creating baked goods using the food items in the fridge, or follow recipes. Similarly, they can create silly faces freely, or choose to try to match features on a mask to match the given one. Most activities have multiple difficulty levels. There are music videos, songs, and the like. Again, the activities are interconnected in a delightful way, creating a unique and immersive experience for little ones. For example, clicking on the radio in Adiboo’s living room will prompt a news report that reminds kids to harvest their gardens before a storm approaches. "Photos" can be taken in the kitchen, and are stored in the paint box.
Kids create an avatar and enter their birthdates at sign-in, and if they play on their birthdays, plenty of birthday surprises are in store throughout the game.
The program’s featured games – designed to allow children to explore and discover music and rhyme – are found on the second CD-ROM. Here, Maestro Gnome welcomes kids to Music Land, where the Sing-a-ma-jig Melody Machine is broken. Kids can find all of the pieces to fix the machine by playing the musical activities.
The multi-level activities are plentiful and fantastic. Kids learn about musical symbols – including things like eighth notes and rests – as they match notes in the note windows to the cute singing frogs; they listen to singing penguins then repeat the notes the animals hit on musical ice pipes scale; children play a memory game that involves matching animal sounds in order to free animals that have been frozen into ice cubes; they match musical styles of the songs they hear to CD jewelcases at the Jukebox; after listening to a song (like Six Little Ducks), kids determine the dancing fish who is beating the matching rhythm; children save everyone’s ears by determining the instrument making the sour notes – the list goes on and on.
Best yet, when kids make mistakes, they’ll get some "Adiboo help". As well, there are musical games and activities to print out and play long after the computer is turned off. Another cute feature involves Adiboo reminding children to "take a break" after they’ve played for awhile – the game goes into a sort of snooze mode if kids agree.
Play and learning are tied together cleverly in PlayLand, though most of the learning is contained on the second CD-ROM, which can be accessed independently once the program is installed.
Some flaws include some lengthy, non-interruptible sequences, and excessive directions. Most kids ages 4-5 will find some of the activities too challenging. On the up side, however, kids will learn all sorts of things about music. They are exposed to musical styles and facts about jazz, opera, piano sonatas, and more. The activities are very clever.