Scholastic Family Playground
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this game and promotional site for kids ages 3 to 7 is part of the group of websites by Scholastic, the world's largest distributor of children's books. Many kids will recognize popular book and television characters here like Clifford the Big Red Dog, Maya and Miguel, and Word Girl, and enjoy playing their games. There are some verbal cues here, but definitely not throughout all of the site. Parents will have to read some instructions to young children who can't yet read. The site moves players in and out of other Scholastic websites without warning, especially in the games section, so kids may find themselves on the "Teachers" site or the "Little Scholastic Lap Time" site without knowing that they're leaving Family Playground.
Is it any good?
It's nice to see a website stress the importance of parents playing online with young children. That said, the many ads geared toward parents (and the less obvious ways kids are also pitched to on this site) are somewhat intrusive and overwhelming. And while there are many games and printables for kids to play with online and off-line here, the stories and videos sections need more content. The site feels sort of like a PBSKids.org, but not nearly up to that level of quality and quantity of things to do.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how even young kids can learn to decipher when they're being sold something. For example, some of the videos on the site are trailers for new books. Can your child identify which videos are ads? Read Common Sense Media's Parent Advice: Selling to Kids Tips.
This site stresses parent involvement, and parents will need to read a lot of the instructions here to young kids who cannot yet read. So ask your child how he or she likes it when you play along vs. when they play alone on kids' websites that have complete voice-over instructions. Is it more fun with Mom or Dad playing along?