A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ni Hao, Kai-Lan: Beach Day is a fun and well-made -- albeit brief -- educational exercise for very young players. The three mini-games within pass on good solid lessons on both mental and social levels. The game's connection to the Kai-Lan TV show and the greater line of toys and products is inherently present, but not highlighted.
What's it about?
In NI HAO, KAI-LAN: BEACH DAY, the Chinese-American sweetheart from her own Nick Jr show takes her animal friends out for a day at the shore. They will play memory and matching games with pails, sort various fun-in-the-sun items, and challenge one another in (number-based) swimming races.
Is it any good?
There may only be three mini-games in Ni Hao, Kai-Lan: Beach Day, but they're all very good ones (and a total of three mini-games is not uncommon for a Leapster cartridge). The brief animated story sequences that frame the games are adorable and carry many good lessons in and of themselves. The stated age range for the game is 4 to 7, but there's a good likelihood that kids on the older end of that spectrum will find the game too simple as it feels solidly geared toward kindergartners and preschoolers.
Online interaction: Leapster 2 users can win rewards, like certificates or coloring pages, which can be downloaded from the LeapFrog.com website when the Leapster 2 unit is connected to a PC via USB cable. With an online account at LeapFrog.com, parents can also track their children's progress through this same connection.