[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Review CornerSoftware
Fisher Price Ready for School Toddler
Rating: Rating
The Bottom Line
A wonderful first experience with the computer, this game teaches basic skills and doesn't require any mouse skills whatsoever.
Award
Ages: 1.5-3  Subject: Early Learning  Brand: Davidson/Knowledge Adventure
Review Sections: Product Overview  Entertainment Value  Technically Speaking  Design  Skills Covered  Replayability  Educational Value  Dollar Value
 
 
image Product Overview
This is a nice program to add to your toddler collection. It features the Fisher Price Little People — those chunky, colorful characters that come in lots of Fisher Price toys. The main screen shows 10 of these characters. Your child needs only to click on one of them to access an activity. Note that there are two different activities for EACH character, depending on whether the game is set to level 1 or level 2. That adds up to 20 different activities altogether:
  • Bubbles Big & Little: On level 1, kids click to see a character blow big and little bubbles and watch them pop. A unique option is allowing the kids to blow into a microphone, and the character will blow on cue! Level 2 allows kids to choose big or little, and to click on bubbles to pop them.
  • Who's Hiding?: Click to find out who is hiding in or behind a box on level 1, or play hide-and-seek after counting to ten with the Little People on level 2.
  • Shapes & Colors in Our World: Click randomly to help Max complete a dot-to-dot shape, and hear its name and color when it is complete on level 1. In level 2, follow the instructions (such as "Color the star yellow") by clicking on the paint can with the correct color paint, then on the right shape. The picture then transforms into an object. This was a huge favorite with my youngest daughter.
  • ABC Fun: Pressing the keys or the mouse on level 1 brings up the letters of the alphabet on the screen, and when all the letters have appeared, the alphabet song plays for your child. Level 2 contains a number of scenes (like the beach or a little town) that your child can populate with stickers.
  • Count With Me: Learn to count from 1 to 10. On level 1, help Smiley the Clown give balloons to the Little People, and on level 2, help Eddy clean up his room by collecting different quantities of objects (for example, Eddy might say "Can you help me find 4 balls?")
  • Bodies in Motion: On level 1, help Natalie wash her face by randomly clicking or pressing the keys. Click on different parts of John's body to make him move that part on level 2. Kids also learn the concept of quick and slow in this activity.
  • My First Things: This is a vocabulary game, as kids help the Little People find different objects on both levels. Kids need to choose from 3 objects on level 2.
  • Music Magic: It's sing-a-long time, and kids get to add silly sounds to the songs on level 2.
  • Animals on Parade: (Pictured below) Big chunky animals move along the screen, and kids must match an animal sound to one of two animals on level 2.
  • Telephone Talk: Answer the telephone on level 1 and see and hear some Little People friends. On level 2, kids can click on individual characters to hear how they help out in their community.

Kids listen to an animal sound and click on the corresponding animal.

No mouse skills are required for all the activities on level 1 — kids need only press keys on the computer keyboard or click the mouse anywhere on the screen to play the games. When children are ready to use the mouse, they can play level 2 by themselves. I used to play these ones with my 12 month old daughter until she could do it all by herself.

The Colors & Shapes activity is excellent on both levels to teach a young child their shapes and colors. Another favorite is Telephone Talk — you can actually record your OWN messages into any of the 9 number buttons! We left a few of the original messages, but programmed in a number of surprise buttons for our toddler with the voices of her mommy, daddy, sister, and brother. What a delight! My daughter still loves to hear these messages at the age of 2 and 1/2.

At random intervals, Spot the dog appears on the main screen as well as the activity screens. He always has something positive to say, such as "You're doing great!" Parents can opt to record their own messages from Spot as well. Printing can be turned OFF to avoid accidental printing from your young child. If you choose to allow printing, you can choose between printing in color or greyscale, or make printouts in coloring book-style.

Remember that you can purchase Little People characters separately (if you don't already own them) to delight your children. My daughter loves to hold on to these little toys and has a special affection for Eddy.

Technically Speaking
Minimum requirements for Windows: 486/66, 8 Mb RAM, 2X CD ROM. Mac users require at least a 68040 processor, 12 Mb RAM, System 7.1 or more, 2X CD ROM.

The graphics are excellent — they are colorful and crisp — and the audio is clear.

Skills Covered
"in/behind" concepts, identify animals and their sounds, identify objects, vocabulary, songs & rhythm, color and shape recognition, following directions, counting, sorting, manners, ABCs, creativity, parts of the body, "big/little" concepts

Educational Value
Compared to most toddler programs, this does the best job of teaching things like shapes and colors. The learning games are very age-appropriate as well.

Entertainment Value
This software has tremendous appeal to toddlers of all ages. The characters are familiar ones.

Design
The design is excellent — kids who have no mouse skills at all can still enjoy the activities.

Replayability
The inclusion of 2 different levels actually makes for 20 different activities. There's a lot of content here, and the activities are mostly very fun. My daughter has had this game for 1 and 1/2 years, and she still plays with it.

Dollar Value
At $20 US, it is worth every penny. In Canada, it usually goes for $25, which is excellent. I hold this title in high esteem, along with Reader Rabbit's Toddler — I consider these two titles to be the best for this age group, to date.

Released: 1997