[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Review CornerSoftware
World of Fun & Learning 1st Grade
Rating: four and a half stars
The Bottom Line
This package is a value-packed bundle of previously released software titles and an activity notebook. Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted School House is an adorable underwater adventure that has kids using their heads trying to solve a mystery, and Big Thinkers! 1st Grade has strong educational content (though some of it is challenging) as well as kid-appeal — a winning combination!
Award of Excellence
Ages: 5-7   Subject: Curriculum  Brand: Humongous Entertainment
Review Sections: Product Overview  Entertainment Value  Technically Speaking  Design  Skills Covered  Replayability  Educational Value  Dollar Value
 
 
World of Fun 1st Grade Product Overview
This software package includes 2 award-winning software titles plus a fun Freddi Fish activity notebook:
  • Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse is a junior adventure game in which Freddi Fish and her pal Luther solve the mystery of the missing toys in the Schoolhouse. Kids collect objects, use them to solve problems, and play mini-games along the way.
  • In Big Thinkers! 1st Grade, kids enter the happy world of Ben and Becky Brightly to play curriculum-based activities. Success in the activities earns them Smart Stars.
  • The Freddi Fish Notebook is a cute little booklet that contains activities for fun and learning, stickers, and coloring pages. New activities and coloring pages can be downloaded at the Humongous website.
This is a nice little package! In Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse, problem-solving is the key to solving the mystery. Through exploration and discovery, kids find and collect handy items such as a rope and a pulley. These items can be used at various points of the game to help solve the mystery and to navigate through the various parts of this underwater fantasy world. The mini-games players encounter are fun and include a chalkboard art activity, and a fast-paced arcade game that involves knocking crabs off rocks with splashes of water. A myriad of intriguing characters, humor, and fun "clickables" help make this game interesting.

Freddi Fish 2 is a game children will return to time and time again and the objects are randomized, keeping the program fresh every time a child starts a new game.

Big Thinkers! 1st Grade (see our full review) is another previously released title that delivers some fun educational activities. Curriculum-based activities cover important first grade skills such as phonics, coin values, time, math, and more. The main characters morph into all sorts of things, including puzzles and a crane! Smart Stars are FUN to collect and they pop up on the screen after some successful game-playing, and kids love to click on them and watch their antics as they drop down and even parachute into their BrainBank.

Becky and Ben's house is filled with "clickables" as well as an excellent variety of activities. This title is more challenging than most first grade programs.

The Freddi Fish Notebook is an approximately 5"X5" vinyl-covered binder with a snap closure. The kids loved their special little book full of activity pages. There are mazes, dot-to-dots, coloring pages, scrambled words, stickers, and assorted activities. The smaller size is fun and makes the notebook more portable. However, the pages seemed to have been designed for larger paper, but reduced in size. As a result, some of the activities are tiny and numbers and letters are small, and kids of this age group generally don't quite have the fine motor skills necessary to work with such tiny numbers and letters.

Technically Speaking
Minimum requirements are Windows 3.1 or higher, 486/33, and 8 Mb RAM. For Macs, a 68040/25 with 8 Mb RAM, System 7.0 or higher.

No installation is required for Windows 95/98 and Mac users — simply plug in the CD and play!

Skills Covered
problem solving, strategy, thinking skills, first letter identification, measurement & estimation, sequencing & patterning, spelling, phonics, time telling, alphabet skills, reading, sentences, counting, computation, geography, directions, environmental science, thinking skills, spatial perception, art, creativity, music

Educational Value
Both software titles have a good amount of educational value. Big Thinkers! 1st Grade is more challenging than most first grade programs, but for kids who are up to a challenge, it has a tremendous range of educational content. Kids learn problem-solving skills while playing the adventure with Freddi Fish, and the Notebook provides some away-from-the-computer activities.

Entertainment Value
This package has above-average entertainment value with its colorful characters and activities.

Design
Both titles are designed well, though the activity Notebook contains some numbers and letters that are too tiny to work with. Freddi Fish 2 features randomized objects to make each game a little different, and Big Thinkers! 1st Grade has adjustable difficulty levels.

Replayability
There doesn't seem to be an end to the number of activities in Big Thinkers 1st Grade, and the Freddi Fish adventure can be played over again because the objects change their hiding places when a new adventure is started.

Dollar Value
At $20 US, you can't go wrong. Buyers get two high quality software titles and an activity notebook. Comparatively low system requirements mean families with older computers can still enjoy this package without feeling cheated in terms of graphics and entertainment value.

Released: 2000
Reviewed: March 2000