A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a separate keyboard/software system that plugs into your computer using a USB connection. Adult computer files can be kept off-limits by using the system's password feature that requires a parent to log a child in and out and keeps kids within the game at all times. This separate keyboard can be operational alongside your regular adult keyboard. The system comes with one piece of software but is expandable with software titles that are appropriate for ages 3-5, or for ages 4-6.
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What's it about?
Has your preschooler discovered your computer? Perhaps slipping sticky fingers on your keyboard to see what happens? With the Fisher-Price COMPUTER COOL SCHOOL, you can encourage young kids to play on your computer with no risk to your personal or business files. Computer Cool School is a keyboard and software package. The Computer Cool School keyboard is a brightly colored, kid-friendly qwerty keyboard with an attached writing and drawing tablet and stylus pen. Also housed on the keyboard are five buttons to launch five learning centers that are featured in the software. The \"Computer Cool School\" keyboard can be plugged in beside your regular keyboard and both will work. It comes packaged with the Leo's Classroom software.
Kids play Computer Cool School by joining Leo the Leopard in an interactive classroom. Leo suggests activities, and clicking on anything in the room will trigger an animation or response. To access the five learning centers of reading and writing, math, science, music, and art, kids push illuminated buttons located on the special keyboard. For example, in the reading and writing center, kids help create an alphabet book that they can print. They will also practice writing the letters of the alphabet and numbers, using the tablet and stylus plus special cards to do tracing. Their writing shows up on the screen.
Is it any good?
One of the reasons this peripheral system is so good is it allows kids to explore educational activities on your computer without ever giving them access to your computer's hard drive. When setting up this software, parents have an option of making it password-dependent. By selecting this option, the program won't activate or close down without a parent entering his or her password. With this password option, kids have no way to click out of the program and into other files on the computer.
The software that comes with the system is excellent and features fun games in a variety of curriculum areas. Testers particularly liked the science center games where they could play hide-and-seek with animals and sort them into habitats. Also good is the add-on software ($16 each), which features such kid favorites as Scooby-Doo!, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and Sesame Street. Each software title follows the same format of making use of the five learning center buttons.
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