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Review CornerSoftware
Disney's Mickey Mouse Toddler
Rating: Rating
The Bottom Line
This title may not contain as much content as some other toddler titles currently available, but it is easier to use than most, and both parents and toddlers will love it. Thoughtful features and design make it an excellent title for children just learning to use the mouse. The vibrant graphics, educational content, satisfying gameplay, and humorous and appealing characters all add up to an outstanding program for young computer users.
Award
Ages: 18mos.-3yrs.  Subject: Early Learning  Brand: Disney Interactive
Review Sections: Product Overview  Entertainment Value  Technically Speaking  Design  Skills Covered  Replayability  Educational Value  Dollar Value
 
 
image Product Overview
What a wonderful little program to use as an introduction to the computer! Mickey Mouse Toddler welcomes children to the positively vibrant world of Mickey's neighborhood where popular friends have some surprises in store.

Mickey greets little ones in front of his home where they can choose to play his activity or roll their mouse over the arrow and select any of 4 other activities hosted by his beloved friends:

  • Mickey's ABCs involves searching for letters of the alphabet that are hiding in Mickey's front yard. This activity is adorable! Kids move their cursor over a partially hidden letter and it will roll out of hiding. Mickey identifies each of the letters as they are found.
  • In Minnie's Shapes, toddlers enter the predominantly pink and purple world where Minnie makes her home. Rolling the cursor over the screen will identify circles, squares, triangles, hearts, and diamonds from everyday objects. Each shape is outlined in vibrant colors — even the pink tree is in the form of these shapes!
  • Goofy's Colors allows children to experiment with colors and designs. Goofy needs help fixing up his house, and when kids select a paint can filled with colorful paint (including wacky patterns), they can paint his house. As the cursor rolls over various objects on the screen, it turns into a paint brush, saw, hammer, or hedge clippers, and each activates a fun surprise.
  • The setting of Donald Duck's Noisemaker is Donald's houseboat where Donald wants to take a nap. However, his boat is filled with musical surprises, and kids can activate clattering oysters, clanging bells, and more to the tunes on the radio. Will Donald ever get some peace?
  • In Pluto's 123s, toddlers need to fetch Pluto's squeaky toys, shaped in the form of the numbers 1 through 10, from gophers as they pop out of holes in the ground.
This title guarantees success for novice "mousers". Rollover mouse skills are needed — clicking is not necessary. In fact, mouse clicks are only required to exit the game. Children can use the keyboard for a less deliberate experience — they need only tap any key for a random onscreen response.

Parents can access the Print and Parents' Information sections by pressing Ctrl-P (Command-P on the Mac). In the Print and Learn section, coloring pages that reinforce basic concepts are available and ready for printing.

We love the interface in this program for toddlers. There isn't any main screen. Rather, children roll their mouse over the large arrow at the top left of the screen and the different bold and big activity buttons appear. This makes navigation wonderfully easy for the littlest of computer users.

Also commendable is the errorless nature of the program. For example, if children can't find the last letter of the alphabet after a certain amount of time in Mickey's ABCs, the letter will roll out of hiding on its own!

The graphics are nothing short of delightful. Colors are vibrant and screens are warm and detailed. Nice little touches include fun comments from Disney characters (in fact, they will respond with a giggle or comment when a child rolls the mouse over them during an activity) and humor that parents will enjoy. Particularly excellent are the ABCs and Shapes activities that reinforce these basic concepts in a very effective manner. This title is easier to use than most toddler software programs available.

Technically Speaking
Minimum requirements are Windows 95/98, a Pentium 133 processor, 32 Mb RAM, and 4X CD ROM. Mac users require an iMac G3 or better, with 32 Mb RAM, System 8.1-9.0, and at least 4X CD ROM. This title requires 30 Mb of free hard disk space. A color printer is optional.

Skills Covered
letter recognition, number recognition, shapes, colors, eye-hand coordination, social skills, music appreciation, listening skills, cause & effect, observation, problem solving, abstract thinking, visual relationships, reasoning, critical thinking, computer mouse skills

Educational Value
The activities are some of the best ones available for getting children to learn mouse "swiping" skills, and kids will want to learn to identify the letters of the alphabet in the extraordinarily fun game of peek-a-boo-Mickey's ABCs. This title does an exceptional job of encouraging children to explore without penalty.

Entertainment Value
The graphically-rich screens and activities are very satisfying for toddlers.

Design
This is a very easy-to-use program with an intelligent design. Children can use the keyboard for random results or use the mouse by rolling it over the screen without the need to "click". The interface is wonderful for novice computer users. Thoughtful features ensure success and help boost confidence.

Replayability
While Mickey Mouse Toddler doesn't have as much content as some other toddler programs on the market, kids will want to return to the game often due to the appeal of its characters and fresh, simple games. This title makes a nice addition to any family's toddler software collection.

Dollar Value
This CD-ROM sells at $29.99 Cdn/$19.99 US.

Released: 2000
Reviewed: July 2000