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 educational title allows kids to practice problem solving, phonics, telling time, etc. While the box suggests that it's appropriate for ages 3 to 6, the game is best played by kids in kindergarten and first grade. Parents of preschoolers should be ready to help, because some of the instructions, mechanics, and content are too challenging for the littlest ones. Even with older kids, parents will need to help them learn how to use the DVD controller.
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What's it about?
To start JUMPSTART FRANKIE'S FIELD TRIP PREK-1ST, kids climb aboard a school bus for a series of four field trips led by Frankie the Dog. Embedded within the field trip are many learning games. For example, to teach navigation, Frankie gives kids clues about what direction they should go. At each intersection, kids use the arrow keys on the DVD controller to direct the bus.
Problem-solving games include sorting the post office's packages by color and shape and navigating through a maze at the farm. At the fire station, kids play an arcade game involving pushing the up or down arrows to jump over or duck under objects obstructing their progress. Kids also practice phonics, telling time, and following directions to create scrapbooks. The controls are set up to ensure success: If children don't answer correctly, the program tells them to try again or eliminates the wrong answers, and if kids stop interacting the DVD story continues anyway.
Is it any good?
JumpStart Frankie's Field Trip PreK-1st manages to be both entertaining and educational. It's a visual delight, with crisp, boldly colored animations that are cute and entertaining. For the most part, this DVD game does an excellent job of using the limited DVD technology to create an interactive learning environment for children. It even saves the child's progress at certain points.
Unfortunately, most DVD controllers have numerous buttons, not just the "Enter" and four directional arrow buttons used in this game. Since young children love to push buttons, parents may need to help with controller use. Most of the extraneous buttons on the controller will simply not engage, but if kids push either the "Stop" or "Power" buttons, they'll lose their progress.
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