ItzaZoo

Common Sense Media says

Exciting learn-to-read game incorporates your drawings.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game sends the message that reading can be fun. It also encourages kids to express themselves through art, because everything they draw in the game comes alive and is incorporated into the ongoing stories. Kids can play with animals that are either female of male.

Positive role models

The animals that you interact with are friendly, kind, and silly. They express emotions in response to what you draw. If you fail to provide something essential (like a door in the house you draw for them), they may express dissatisfaction, but then they simply ask you to fix it. Kids can play with animals that are either female or male.

Ease of play

This game comes with just the right amount of help. The controls are easy to figure out.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that ItzaZoo software is a great way to get kids interested in reading. By playing with charming zoo animals who communicate with you via talk bubbles that can be read aloud, kids join in adventures by creating their own artwork for the animals. The drawings get incorporated into the game and animate via a revolutionary technology called "Living Ink." The technology behind this game is truly amazing to behold.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading comprehension
  • vocabulary

Arts

  • drawing

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • deduction
  • investigation
  • solving puzzles

Creativity

  • making new creations
  • producing new content

Communication

  • multiple forms of expression

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Charming talking zoo animals are animated via amazing "Living Ink" technology, making reading games irresistible. Plus kids are rewarded with stars to covet.

Learning Approach

Animated interactivity helps kids associate words and reading with objects and action. Questions also challenge players to think logically and experiment to find answers.

Support

This game is intuitive and inviting as kids click around to see what they can interact with. The play adjusts; kids get to level up as their reading improves.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading comprehension
  • vocabulary

Arts

  • drawing

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • deduction
  • investigation
  • solving puzzles

Creativity

  • making new creations
  • producing new content

Communication

  • multiple forms of expression

Kids can learn skills for reading comprehension and problem solving as they add free-form artwork to colorful kid-themed landscapes in ItzaZoo. Kids read or hear questions that prompt them to draw in objects. Objects are then brought to life in the story. Maybe they sketch in a snowflake that then falls from the sky. The story line helps kids associate words with objects and action in a fun and fanciful way. Questions also challenge kids to think logically and experiment to find answers. Learning to read is a magical experience as kids' art comes alive within the game.

This Learning Rating review was written by Jinny Gudmundsen

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

In ItzaZoo, a downloadable PC game, elephants, lions, turtles, polar bears, and monkeys invite your child to come inside their enclosures for silly adventures that teach your child to read. When kids click on the animals, they talk to them via word bubbles. By mousing over the words, kids can have them highlighted and read aloud. The animals ask kids to help in their adventures by drawing objects. Using crinkly translucent paper that magically appears on the screen, kids can draw objects that then come alive and get incorporated into the ongoing story. Kids will also have to be creative in helping the animals, because sometimes the animals' requests aren't obvious. For example, when you need to find 10 penguins and you only see one, you learn by experimenting that if you click on the one, it will lay an egg to produce more.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

ItzaZoo is truly a remarkable piece of software. It brilliantly uses funny, silly characters to attract kids to the game, and then delivers a story in a way that motivates kids to read. By asking kids to contribute to the story by drawing things and then animating their drawings and incorporating them into the story, kids commit to this game. They are motivated to read the questions asked by the animals so that they can figure out what to draw next. This amazing "Living Ink" technology anticipates what the child might draw and then takes what is drawn and makes it fit within the story. It fills in the child's drawings with appropriate color and detail and then resizes them to fit the situation. For example, when you are playing with the turtle, he asks you to draw him a new shell. Whatever you draw, the game resizes it to magically fit on his back.

Ā Another great aspect of this game is its replayability. Every time you play, you have a different experience because your drawings will always change. This game is appropriate for kids ages 4 to 8; and perfect for those just starting to read. It helps them to decode words by associating highlighted words with objects that they draw. This is children's software at its best ā€“ don't miss this one.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how fun it is to talk with the animals. Do you wish you could do this is real life?

  • Did the software make learning to read fun?

Game details

Platforms:Windows
Price:$19.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Sabi Games
Release date:November 1, 2009
Genre:Edutainment
ESRB rating:E for (No Descriptors) (Windows)

This review of ItzaZoo was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 4 years old June 18, 2010
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

good

love it

What other families should know
Educational value
Parent Written bymulcyber September 5, 2010
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

My 4-yr-old's fave computer game -- and MINE too!

Thanks to the unique mouse-over reading function, my four-year-old daughter picked up on the concept quickly. Where she would normally employ me to help her figure out the instructions to other computer games she plays, ItzaZoo's interactive reading tool empowers her to teach herself. The quick "reward system" seems to help too. ItzaZoo rewards the child with gold stars when they complete a short task. Other games my daughter has played tend to make her finish a lengthy trial (albeit with character encouragement throughout) before she receives her reward.

What other families should know
Educational value
Parent of an infant, 2, and 5 year old Written byā˜†burst December 27, 2009
AGE
4
QUALITY
 
What other families should know
Educational value

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families