[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Review CornerSoftware
World of Fun & Learning Kindergarten
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. Putt Putt Saves the Zoo is a classic adventure program that kindergartners will love, and Big Thinkers! Kindergarten has strong educational content as well as kid-appeal — a winning combination!
Award of Excellence
Ages: 4-6   Subject: Curriculum  Brand: Humongous Entertainment
Review Sections: Product Overview  Entertainment Value  Technically Speaking  Design  Skills Covered  Replayability  Educational Value  Dollar Value
 
 
World of Fun Kindergarten Product Overview
This software package includes 2 award-winning software titles plus a fun Freddi Fish activity notebook:
  • Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo is a classic junior adventure game. Putt-Putt, that lovable, wide-eyed purple car, and his dog pal Pep need help saving the missing baby animals in time for the Cartown Zoo Grand Opening. Kids collect objects, use them to solve problems (such as a shovel to later dig a path through a snow bank), and play mini-games along the way.
  • In Big Thinkers! Kindergarten, kids enter the playful world of Ben and Becky Brightly to play curriculum-based activities. Success in the activities earns them Smart Stars.
  • The Putt-Putt 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! Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo is an older title but the graphics are superb. Putt-Putt titles released after this one featured randomization of clues and items so that the games feel different each time they are played. While this feature is missing in Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo, this may be beneficial for younger players. The predictability of the game after the first work-through is soothing for preschoolers and kindergartners.

Problem-solving is the key in the game. Through exploration and discovery, kids will find handy items such as a toolbox, a log, and even hot cocoa! These items can be used at various points of the game to help out a baby animal or to navigate through the various parts of the zoo. Mini-games encountered are great fun and include ice hockey with polar bears and animal tag. Information stations providing interesting facts about animals are scattered throughout the program.

Putt-Putt Saves the Zoo seems to always be well-received by youngsters — endearing animals, fun mini-games, and the chance to help out Putt-Putt and Pep are all strong motivators.

Big Thinkers! Kindergarten (see our full review) is another previously released title that delivers some fun educational activities. Curriculum-based activities cover important Kindergarten skills such as letter identification, measurement, sequencing, simple spelling, sequencing, and more. The main characters morph into all sorts of things, including fish and airplanes! Smart Stars are FUN to collect — 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 — even parachute — into their BrainBank.

Becky and Ben's house is filled with "clickables" as well as 16 activities.

The Putt-Putt 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, 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 — numbers and letters are small, and kids of this age group generally don't have the fine motor skills mastered to work with such tiny numbers and letters.

Technically Speaking
Minimum reqs 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.

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! Kindergarten is more challenging than most kindergarten 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 Putt-Putt, and the Notebook provides some away-from-the-computer activities.

Entertainment Value
Both software titles are great fun, and the characters are totally engaging.

Design
Both titles are designed well, though the activity Notebook contains some numbers and letters that are too tiny to work with.

Replayability
Kids will return to both programs time and time again. New activities and coloring pages for the Notebook can be downloaded at the Humongous website.

Dollar Value
This package is a real bargain at the suggested retail price of $20 US.

Released: 2000