This 3-CD-ROM set designed for toddlers includes the previously released JumpStart Toddlers (first released in 2000), a Sing-Along Time CD, and Art Time. It's a nice set that is suitable for early users of the computer with help and involvement from caregivers.
Previously released as JumpStart Toddlers, JumpStart School Time is the main program of the set and is a colorful and fun CD-ROM that introduces young children to basic academic concepts and computer skills. While it's not the best program on the market for absolute beginners, it is an excellent title for advanced toddlers who have graduated from other toddler titles and for young preschoolers. Dee-Dee the Duck is children's guide in a bright and colorful environment. The cursor is a large feather and children need only roll the cursor over hotspots in order to activate them. Children who are not ready to use the computer mouse can use the keyboard to interact with the game in a more random fashion. There are seven activities altogether, five of which contain two levels. In the treehouse for example, kids can roll over any of the shapes to launch a scene in which Chippy builds the selected shape on level 1, and find requested shapes on level 2. Some of the level 2 activities are too difficult for many children in the target age group. However, the program is very forgiving and encouraging. A full review of the program can be found here.
The second disc in the set is entitled Sing-Along Time and features live-action music videos for young children to enjoy. Frankie the Dog (in costume) is accompanied by two children. The team works together to act out songs like the ABC song, Old MacDonald Had a Farm, and If You're Happy and You Know It. Some humorous scenes and catchy music make this CD-ROM a nice bonus, although there is little in terms of interaction found in the game.
Art Time features a collection of creativity games and printable crafts. Here, children can create storybooks using stickers and backgrounds, decorate banners and greeting cards, and create printable crafts. Young users of the program will certainly need some help navigating this game, but should enjoy creating unusually colorful banners, "stories", and cards using the program's paint colors and chunky stickers.
This set is recommended for older toddlers and young preschoolers. Kids will certainly need some help playing the games, making this set best used in a parent-child interactive manner. Catchy songs and striking visuals that are common to most JumpStart titles are found in this set, and a pleasing variety of early academic concepts are presented in rather creative ways.
Minimum system requirements are Windows 98/2000/Me/XP, Pentium II 266 MHz (Pentium II 300 MHz for XP), 64 MB RAM, and 12X CD-ROM. Mac users require a PowerMac G3 266 MHz or faster, System 9.2.1, 10.1.2, 10.2.3, 64 MB RAM, and 16X CD-ROM.
Color identification and matching, number identification, counting, letter identification, shape identification, object recognition, vocabulary, matching and sorting, prediction, music, and creativity.
Academic basics, such as alphabet, shapes, colors, and numbers, are covered nicely in this set of programs. With a little help from caregivers, toddlers will learn to identify basic shapes, colors, numbers, and letters. They also have the opportunity to play with music in an especially creative activity that involves turning musical phrases in classical pieces on and off.
Snappy songs and rich graphics grab and hold children's attention. Most kids will happily explore each of the program's activities, and the pleasing variety of games will keep children's interest levels high.
The School Time program is designed with young users in mind. Pinpoint accuracy with the mouse is not required in order for children to enjoy the game. In fact, kids can tap any key on the keyboard in order to activate many of the activities. Two levels are included in most of the activities so that children who are ready for slightly more advanced activities and concepts can stay gently challenged. Young children will need some help, especially with the other two CD-ROMs in the set.
Pleasing variety of activities and plenty of learning opportunities are features that boost replay value.
The program carries a suggested retail price of approximately $29.99 US.
Reviewed: June 2003