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Review CornerSoftware
Little Bear Kindergarten Thinking Adventures
Rating: four stars
The Bottom Line
This title is charming — it features beautiful graphics and pleasant audio that capture the magic of Little Bear and his friends. The activities are generally appealing and are opened up along a linear adventure story line.
 
Ages: 4-6   Subject: Thinking Skills  Brand: The Learning Company
Review Sections: Product Overview  Entertainment Value  Technically Speaking  Design  Skills Covered  Replayability  Educational Value  Dollar Value
 
 
Little Bear Kindergarten Thinking Adventures Product Overview
Based on the popular and loveable Little Bear storybooks and television series, this program features 2 CD-ROMs and learning adventures designed to develop problem solving and critical thinking skills. Players travel with Little Bear to the seaside on a camping trip where they play the following activities:
  • Gathering Camping Equipment involves helping Little Bear pick camping items for his trip and helping Mother Bear find the ingredients she needs to make cookies. This is a good activity for developing listening skills and directional skills.
  • In The Sketch Pad, kids make pictures for the mermaid Little Bear hopes to see at the seaside.
  • Flower Sorting involves determining which flowers are different from the rest.
  • Shadow Play requires listening to Little Bear's and Cat's descriptions of the objects they want, then locating them.
  • Beaver Dam involves fixing the broken dam by solving a puzzle.
  • In Owl Patterns, kids hunt for objects to make wind chimes.
  • In Fishing Game (pictured at right), kids catch different types of fish by listening to the mermaid's descriptions.
  • Dot-to-Dot Constellations is a simple but fun activity that helps kids learn number sequencing while creating constellations in the sky.
Disc 2: Family Fun contains printable workbook pages that include activities from the following categories: Arts & Crafts, Toys, Projects, Games, and Parties. The printable activities are superb and help to extend learning beyond the computer. There are 25 printable activities available which include the creation of a board game out of funny family photos and memories, party plans including recipes, invitations, games, and more (pictured at left), and instructions to build a terrarium.

This program is part of the LearningBuddies series that helps tailor programs to meet a child's needs. Progress is monitored, positive reinforcement is given, skill levels are adjusted automatically, and help is readily available when a child is struggling with a particular skill.

The magic of Little Bear is captured successfully in this computer translation. The narration, music, and atmosphere are true to the television show.

Keep in mind that the format of this title is a combination of adventure and free play. Children progress through an adventure and activities are opened up to them as they follow this linear path. However, they are not required to complete the activities before moving on. Some children prefer to have a main screen from which all of the activities are accessible; others will be drawn to the idea of a story unfolding as they play.

Technically Speaking
Minimum requirements are Windows 95/98, a Pentium 75, 16 Mb RAM, and 4X CD ROM. Mac users require a Power PC with 16 Mb RAM, System 7.5.3 or higher, and at least 4X CD ROM. Both require 20 Mb of hard drive space.

Skills Covered
strategy, logic, problem solving, critical thinking, prediction, sequencing, ordering, planning, memory, following directions, pattern completion, spatial reasoning, creativity, comparing and contrasting, size relationships, sorting, classifying, matching, listening, numbers, counting, quantities, shapes, colors

Educational Value
The learning activities focus on thinking skills as opposed to general kindergarten curriculum skills. However, some of the traditional skill areas are covered -- like numbers, shapes, colors, etc.

Entertainment Value
There is a quiet atmosphere to this software game, much like the nature of the Little Bear television show.

Design
The format of the game is such that players progress through a linear path and play activities in the order given to them. Difficulty levels adjust automatically according to the performance of each player, but can also be adjusted manually from each activity screen. Help is a click away — a Little Bear icon is accessible on each activity screen.

Replayability
There are 5 activities, each with 3 levels of difficulty. Children in the upper end of the suggested age group will find a fair amount to do.

Dollar Value
Suggested retail price is $29.95 US. The printable activities are excellent and add to the value of the program.

Released: 1999