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 incredibly well-made preschool game is both entertaining and educational. Players are made to feel as if they are truly taking part in both the preparation for and celebration of a Chinese New Year festival. Children over six will likely find the game far too easy, but for the intended audience or preschoolers or kindergartners, Ni Hao, Kai-Lan: New Year's Celebration is perfectly set up.
What's it about?
In Ni Hao, Kai-Lan: New Year's Celebration, Kai-Lan, the young Chinese-American heroine of her own Nick Jr. animated series, helps her friends and grandfather prepare for a Chinese New Year festival. They go through every step of the holiday. Preparation involves such activities as shopping for food, preparing traditional dishes, coloring and cutting out paper lanterns, and practicing a song with a band (which they later perform). When the celebration begins, they take part in a dragon boat race, a parade in which they carry floats, a dance, and a fireworks show. They even help clean up afterward.
Is it any good?
Ni Hao, Kai-Lan: New Year's Celebration is one of the best DS games created for preschoolers. The dawn-to-night format, which begins with Kai-Lan waking her friends and ends with her washing dishes (which is actually fun), is genius. Not only does it make kids feel like they're really taking part in this marvelous cultural celebration, it also spices up the gameplay with a lot of variety. Helping the grandfather shop for ingredients is a sort of I Spy game, while helping him prepare the meals calls for Cooking Mama-style gameplay. The fireworks display involves tracing shapes with the stylus, while rowing in the dragon boat race becomes a rhythm game. It's all super-easy, but as the average Kai-Lan fan is still learning the alphabet, that's exactly how it should be.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the benefits of learning about other cultures. What other cultures are your children interested in? Is there a holiday that your family does not celebrate that your kids would like to learn more about? Do you think is it important to be in touch with ones cultural roots?
Parents can also discuss the importance of emotional intelligence. How can you tell when a person is happy, sad, or angry? How can or should you alter your behavior to accommodate the emotional state of another person?
- Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
- Subjects: Social Studies: cultural understanding
Math: patterns, sequences, shapes
- Skills: Collaboration: cooperation, respecting other viewpoints, teamwork
Emotional Development: empathy, identifying emotions, moving beyond obstacles
- Price: $29.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: 2K Play
- Release date: November 5, 2009
- Genre: Preschool
- ESRB rating: EC for no descriptors
For kids who love preschool games
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.