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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 some of the items didn't always work very well on a Macintosh, using either Safari or Firefox. Parents will also be happy to hear that the sound can be toggled off and on. Families who visit this site will be "edutained" for a couple hours. Most of the games are for kids eight and up, although there are certainly activities for younger kids.
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What's it about?
Created by a partnership between the nonprofit Professor Garfield Foundation and Ball State University, this site features Garfield the cat at his best. He's the resident "edu-cat-or" on a jazzy spaceship. Robots help you decide which activities to try first. You might drop by the "Art-Bot" to watch videos on how to draw Garfield and other animals. Garfield's creator, Jim Davis, inspires budding cartoonists with his upbeat tutorials. "G-Cubed" is an addictive multiplayer trivia game. Smaller kids will like a visit to "Orson's Farm" to have some fun with rhyming words.
Is it any good?
The rhyming activity at "Orson's Farm" fits the bill for younger kids; it's not hard and the pictures are sweet. In contrast, some of the games offered in "Star Sleeper" (in which the world's laziest feline provides lots of information on the importance of sleep) are somewhat sleep-inducing themselves.
A favorite feature is "Word Wrestling" in the "Reading Ring." Drag and drop comic strip panels into the correct order and then answer questions about what's going on. It's a great way to learn about sequencing ideas and practice reading comprehension.