The other day I was on Twitter and I friended Ken Kavanagh President of Clicktoy Interactive, Inc. I did a little research into his company. I learned that Clicktoy is essentially a pop up book for the computer. It is an interactive environment that children can play in without fear of hitting the wrong key and erasing last year’s tax return. The reason that you need not worry is that the program has “proprietary ClickSafe technology ensures that children can safely play within a contained computer environment using the keyboard, without the risk of accidentally leaving the game and encountering anything else on the computer.” I thought the game would be perfect for Eva and her ever expanding imagination so I asked for a review copy of the software so I could share my findings with you. Ken agreed.
Eva loves our computers, he little fingers love to push buttons and we often have to shoo her away so that we can get real work done. However, there are times when we sit Eva upon our laps and let her play games like those on PBSKids.org and other kids sites. We have to watch her carefully however because on those sites one wrong click and she has shut down the computer. The same cannot be said of Clicktoy – The Meadow. With this game Eva can touch any key and the all it will do is make the game play happen.
The Meadow is a beautiful environment in which there are numerous 3d illustrations of bunnies, frogs, fish and foxes among its inhabitants. Parents can seat their children on their laps and let the child explore the world with their fingertips. Each key does something different that interacts with the 3D world. Bunnies run around, cows, moo, even an acrobatic chattering squirrel shows up. The meadow is in the round which means that you can spin 360 degrees and change the scene. Two little bunnies run from scene change to scene change. As you explore the world you meet new animals and see many fun animations.
Playing the Game
Click a button make something happen. Click a button and a cute animation occurs. This is completely unstructured and allows children to do what they would like while they play. This gives me as a father chances to ask questions of Eva. We talk about the things we see together as she explores the world. If I was more creative myself I’d make up an overall story to tell about what is happening. As Eva gets older I sense that she’ll be the one who is telling me the story. So for now I ask her questions about what she sees as we play.
There are many benefits to playing Clicktoy – The Meadow. Interaction with your child is first among them. Encouraging creativity by asking questions is another. Being entertained also has benefits and shows children that computers are not scary things but can be fun too. Also as you play the game more you can teach your child the alphabet. For example you can ask your child to push the “A” key to see what happens.
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