What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this site is chock full of ads. There is a banner ad at the top, a banner along the side, and a smaller ad along the bottom of each page. They aren't just static ads, either; they move, flash and are generally distracting. What is more annoying are the occasional interstitial ads that pop-up when you click on a game you want to play. The ad pops onto the screen and stays there while your game is loading, forcing exposure to the ad -- you can't just close a window like you can with a "regular" pop-up. There are "pop-under" ads that arrive, too, silently lurking behind your main browser window. The games themselves are fun, if you can concentrate on them with all the flashing adware competing for your attention.
What's it about?
Created by an educator, this site aims to please kids from pre-K to fourth grade. It's arranged by subject area. There's a section for math, science, language arts, social studies, and more. A handy curriculum guide helps you choose appropriate games for each grade level. There are many other puzzles, including matching games, word searches, and sliders. Other parts of the site include printables like award certificates and coloring pages.
Is it any good?
This site has created and licensed some entertaining games, but the downside is the over-the-top emphasis on ads, which cost the site at least one star in this review. In the Social Studies section, for example, you can try your hand at solving a strategy puzzle with Diego Smart. Unfortunately, the game is sponsored by a company that also tries to sell you a digital camera or printer after your game is over.
Some of the games, however, involve less advertising. In the math section there's "Da' Numba'," for example. The Tetris-like object is to click on falling tiles that add up to the target number. The clever part is that certain combinations unleash special sounds and animations, such as the "Numba Rumba." It's cute and helps kids learn to do fast mental math.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about having ads on educational sites. Do you think it distracts from learning? If a site needs to have ads, what's a good way to keep them subtle?