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ABCMouse.com

(i)

 

Very busy learning world offers full preschool curriculum.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn a full range of preschool academic skills including early reading, numbers, shapes, and colors. The content ranges from letter recognition for preschoolers to reading comprehension, and measurement for kindergartners. Kids will also be introduced to art, music, science, and social studies and learn interesting facts about animals. Every activity includes a learning objective, and the video tutorial for parents assures them that even if kids only want to work on one type of activity -- puzzles, coloring, and the like -- they're still learning. Curriculum can be customized by age for kids 2 to 6, growing with kids as they learn.

 

Positive messages

Learning is fun, and even young kids can direct their own learning in many ways here. Some parents may find the concept promoted here -- that learning progress is rewarded by earning points for shopping -- is a negative message.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

No ads appear on the site. Kids can earn "tickets" by completing lessons and trade them in for virtual objects (clothing, pets, etc.)

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that subscribers have reported a very difficult cancelation process for this educational website for kids age 2 to 6 and companion app. In many cases parents who want to cancel can't reach a live person, cancel via email, and still receive a bill. However, the site -- created by the founder of NeoPets -- has been offered free to all public schools in the United States and Canada is easy enough for even the youngest computer users to play games and do activities that will help them begin the journey into reading and other kindergarten skills. There are no ads or external links. Families with a Web subscription can use their same account on the app, or you can sign up within the app. Each account can track up to three users

 

What's it about?

The educational ABCMouse website was designed for preschool through kindergarten kids. Parents set up an account for themselves and up to three kids, who learn about numbers, letters, and other basic concepts as they make their way through "learning paths" of varying difficulty. Kids get tickets for completing activities that can be used to buy virtual items like pets. A combination of voice-overs, images, and text guides kids through the site. The app features a virtual world with a classroom, zoo, farm, and map and activities.

 

Is it any good?

QUALITY

The ABCMouse site is easy to navigate, colorful, and encouraging -- and excellent way to introduce the youngest computer users to online learning. From the colorful kindergarten classroom homepage and learning zoo, to interactive books and songs, there are so many choices here that most pre-K children will be able to come back to this site and find something new to do and learn every time. Toddlers and first-time computer users will need help navigating the site, while navigation will be intuitive for kids who have already spent time on other popular pre-K sites. One of the most positive points here -- there are no ads directed at kids -- is somewhat dampened by the fact that learning here is rewarded by shopping, teaching a potentially unintended message.

The app content seems almost endless, and kids will discover solid new learning activities every time they play; but there's so much it's almost overwhelming. At every point of play, preschoolers are presented with multiple options: learning path, classroom, zoo, map, farm, songs, and featured activities. There are even more choices within each of those categories. Even the rewards are overwhelming, with options to buy items for your avatar, room, hamster, or aquarium, plus the option to count tickets earned that day by ones, twos, fives, or tens. The curriculum, though, is excellent, and there's a lot of bang for your buck. Parents also can customize kids' learning level, time allowed in-app, and more, creating a highly customized learning experience.

If you want to cancel your subscription, however, be prepared for a fight, as many parents report unresponsive customer service and bills received after cancellation.

 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why it's important to learn to read, to learn other school subjects, and to learn to use a computer safely and responsibly. Even the youngest children can understand that learning to read and learning to use a computer are skills that will help them grow up, and that parents are there to help them grow up smart, strong, and safe.

  • Discuss appropriate computer time limits with your child. Now is the time to set healthy habits; read Common Sense Media's Setting Computer Time Limits Tips.

  • What is your family's view on spending "virtual money" on a site like this? It can be difficult for a young child to understand that this isn't the same as buying something real from an online merchant. Does yours? Read Common Sense Media's Learning The Value of a Virtual Dollar.

Website details

Subjects:Language & Reading: following directions, letter or word recognition, naming, phonics, reading, reading comprehension, speaking
Math: addition, counting, measurement, numbers, patterns, shapes, subtraction
Arts: drawing, music, rhythm
Skills:Thinking & Reasoning: solving puzzles
Self-Direction: academic development, work to achieve goals
Genre:Educational
Topics:Numbers and letters
Pricing structure:Free to Try, Paid (The site has a free 30-day trial; subscriptions are $7.95 a month or $79.99 a year.)

This review of ABCMouse.com was written by

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Parent of a 1 and 4 year old Written byCdub88 July 19, 2013

Disappointed. Needs improvement.

ABCmouse sounded interesting, so I decided to register for my four-year old son. He really enjoys playing games on playstation, iPad and online (ie Fisherprice, Cartnoon Network). He also enjoys our own learning activities- we regularly do "homework", where he learns to read and write four to five-letter words, as well as math games, memory games, etc. I thought he would love this site. At first, it was neat to make an avatar that looked like him, and watch it move along the learning path, but it was way too easy. So, I took it to the next level...still too easy. ABCmouse apparently believes that math games for preschoolers should be counting to 10 and number identification. Dispite this, I let him carry on with the lessons. Later I noticed that there are quite a few "art" lessons, which was just frustrating. More than most, I appreciate the arts (my degree is in art, for crying outloud!) and I couldn't bare it. It was coloring pages, tons of them. The pointer had terrible delay for all coloring sessions and my son and I found it both boring and aggrevating. Maybe it's for some kids, but I don't see how coloring in line art could possibly teach anything to anyone. My son sees them as a chore. Why not put in an at-home craft activity, or have them look at actual art by real artists? After completing the "art activity", it wouldn't allow us to move forward unless we saved the darn thing. I customized the activities to exlude all coloring, but still, it just seemed so slow and boring. Games took so long to load, stories were slow and uninteresting, songs bored you to sleep. My advice is to save your money, download a few applications for your tablet or phone. If you can't do that, then check out Umizoomi videos at the library and check out a few beginner books. I can't say enough for the public library system. If you do have the ability to download apps for your child to use, I highly recomend Monkey Preschool Lunchbox for reading, Umizoomi Race Around the City for preschool math, any jigsaw puzzle apps for problem-solving, heck, there are tons of resources to keep your kid learning and motivated. ABCmouse just isn't quite there in terms of site layout, smooth navigation, and appropriate activities that will hold a preschooler's attention. I would have happily offered my suggestions when I cancelled, but they didn't provide a section to explain my issue, only a few boxes that gave you ONE option to check. If ABCmouse really wanted to improve their site, they should send a survey, or give parents a comment section.
Parent of a 7 year old Written byconnie1976 September 16, 2013

Kept Billing My credit card even after cancelation

We canceled our trial membership early because my almost 4 year old found the site too difficult to navigate. He had a hard time working the mouse and following their "path". The content was engaging enough for his 7 year old sister to navigate with him. You need a computer savvy 3-4 year old to get the most use of the site at that early age. Irregardless--I canceled my trial membership early, even got a "why are you leaving survey" and they kept billing me. For that reason alone, I don't trust this company.
Parent of a 6 year old Written byMarih December 17, 2013

:( sad

I recommend to use STARFALL its free and a really good educational program. Also consult with you child’s teacher and they will know some nice sites to use for free.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism