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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that registration is required for this early education site designed to teach language and math skills. You can test PoissonRouge for 10 days, but then you need to pay an annual $19 membership. You'll need to enter an email address to sign up for the free trial, but no credit card information is required.
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What's it about?
POISSONROUGE has provided games and activities for young kids since 1999. Users click on a picture on the site's home page to access items that cover a number of basic skills, including learning the alphabet, numbers, shapes, patterns, and reading clocks. Some also touch on the arts: Kids can play a few notes on a virtual piano or color in shapes. A red fish icon leads back to the home page from each page.
Is it any good?
PoissonRouge's home page is a playroom filled with puppets, dolls, and other toys. Click on one, and you're taken to a game or an activity. For example, a mannequin brings up a full-screen figure that can be posed in various ways. As with many of the site's activities, it's a simple exercise: Kids can click on the doll to see how the human body moves. Another activity involves a song that counts down from 10, using bottles as a visual. Kids also can see a virtual art museum and repaint portions of famous pieces; click on letters to hear them pronounced; or hear words \pronounced in French, German, Greek, Italian, Spanish, and English.
Kids won't, however, find many instructions. The activities are pretty intuitive, but it can help to have an adult's guidance. PoissonRouge doesn't have a lot of flashy computer tricks or complex plots. But if kids can use a mouse, they'll be able to access the many projects -- many of which reinforce basic math and language skills -- and should have fun doing it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about cause and effect. The site is designed around clicking on an item and watching what happens; how does that compare that to real life? For example, what happens if you bang on a drum hard, and what happens if you hit it softly?
The site doesn't feature any verbal navigation. Talk about how your child identified items to click on and the words that could correspond with each activity, if each were given a name and description.
Ask your child to identify a shape or pattern in real life after playing the site's shape and pattern games.
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