VTech InnoTab Software - Sofia the First
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that VTech InnoTab Software - Sofia the First is a game based on the TV show of the same name. It includes a somewhat classic princess story wherein the princess is sweet, people aren't nice to her, a villain tries to take over the land, and the princess's kindness triumphs. The story and games involve a lot of magic, including appearances by the Three Good Fairies from Sleeping Beauty. For the most part, this is a positive story with a kind and generous young girl as the lead.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- following directions
Thinking & Reasoning
- solving puzzles
- making new creations
Engagement, Approach, Support
Kids will find fun games and an enchanting story. The games have replay value and enough magic to keep kids returning.
Overlapping skills in different activities reinforce the learning. Some games have easy and difficult modes. Kids should be able to apply much of what they see and learn to their daily lives.
There is no in-game help, but there are plenty of prompts if kids get stuck. There's also no save feature or content to show how far kids are into the game. The VTech Learning Lodge can help shine some light on progress for parents.
What's it about?
VTECH INNOTAB SOFTWARE - SOFIA THE FIRST includes an ebook, a photo activity, and a collection of eight mini-games woven together loosely into a story. The ebook mimics the original Sofia the First movie, a tale about a common girl who suddenly finds herself stepdaughter to the king. She must win over her new siblings and defeat the power-hungry villain to start her happy life. The story is read out loud and contains a number of highlighted words, which appear in a glossary.
The mini-games center around the Royal Preparatory Academy, where Sofia goes to learn to act like a princess. She arrives on Jumble Day and must find all her classes, which have been moved to different rooms. To do so, she navigates the halls of the caslte, avoiding patrolling suits of armor and seeking out classmates to ask for help. They give her clues about the classroom door (for example, it has two blue bunnies on the left and one purple bird on the right). Each correct door leads to one of her five classes, which include Dance, Art, Table Setting, Riding, and Magic. She also makes a couple of stops to help others. She helps squirrels carry (and count) acorns, sorts books (by subject and by first letter of the title) in the library, and helps put back together a set of royal jewels (much like a jigsaw puzzle). Each class focuses on different early-learning concepts. For example, Sophia's dance class focuses on counting and skip-counting to help her remember her moves. Art class allows kids to paint one of four pictures using a paint-bucket technique. Once kids are finished, they can use a magic wand to animate portions of the pictures, which are housed in a gallery. After kids complete each class or activity successfully, they are unlocked in free play mode from the main menu. The title also includes the standard VTech photo lab activity, which allows kids to take pictures of themselves with characters and props from the game.
Is it any good?
VTech InnoTab Software - Sofia the First is a wonderful preschool/kindergarten title. Kids who already love Sofia will be thrilled to enter her world, while kids new to the franchise will quickly be drawn in. The games are fun and present a strong educational element. Also, the painting activity is sheer magic -- who wouldn't want her painting to come to life? Other than unlocking games in free play, there are no rewards or unlockables here, and it seems like a lost chance to gain gems to decorate a crown or parts to create your own ball gown. Still, this is sure to captivate princess wannabees and maybe even their princely counterparts.
Families can talk about...
What do you like about playing games on the InnoTab?
Look for patterns in everyday life. Use blocks, candies, or other objects to make your own patterns.
Talk about what it means to be kind and generous. How can we show those qualities in our own lives?