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Arthur's Kindergarten CD-ROM Review by Stacy Rocha

Software for Kids
2217 Armada Way
San Mateo, CA 94404

Arthur's Kindergarten, for ages 4-6, is a wonderful way to help your children practice the material taught during their kindergarten year. For each educational activity completed, your children will earn "materials" to help Arthur and his friends rebuild their tree house. After earning all the stickers, your children will get to play additional games. There is a goal checker for keeping track of progress.

Arthur's Kindergarten comes with two discs. The first disc has the learning activities. The second disc is the creative disc; it includes the music machine, activities to print, and a card creator.

Disc one has nine activities covering different skills. Your children can choose which of Arthur's friends they want to help. For each friend they help they will earn a sticker towards playing in the tree house. Each activity has three different levels. Help Francine at the city dump by looking for pieces of junk by name, by words that rhythm, or by group. Go to the ice cream shop and help Arthur and The Brain's mom fill in the missing letters to the ice cream flavors. At the first level, the child is asked to identify the letters by name. At level two he or she must identify them according to the sound, and at the third letter the Brain's mom will say a word that starts with the sound. At the Hardware Store your children will help Buster find the tools that he needs. Depending on the level, there will be different amounts of boxes, half of them will be empty and the others will have the tools that he needs. Buster will show them which tools are in which boxes and then close the lid. Buster will ask for a tool, and your child will click on the box he thinks it is in.

Your child will learn about shapes and colors by playing with The Brain at the Auto Repair shop. This game is for 1 or 2 players. Your child will be asked to move to the crate that has the shape or color that is called. Your child can visit DW in the garden and follow the garden path by solving pictorial addition and subtraction problems. This game is for 1 or 2 players as well. At the library your child will help Muffy sort books into fact or fiction. Muffy might say, "This book is about a dog barking at a cat. Is that fact or fiction?" Your child will click on the correct bin that the book belongs in. The descriptions of the books get a little harder with each level. Go to the Window store and help Binky Barnes earn a window for the tree house by putting pictures in the correct sequence. The last two activities your children will need to complete before playing in the tree house deal with directional skills using a map and money identification.

After completing all the activities, your child will get to play three different games in the tree house. My five-year-old son loves these. The first game is tick tack toe using jacks. It is just for one player against the computer. The second is Monkey Match, a game of concentration. Your child will match the monkeys according to what they do. My son laughs at these monkeys' silly antics. The last game is the Rubber Ducky Factory. Here you child will help paint the rubber duckies as they roll by on a conveyer belt.

One of the features I like most about this CD-ROM is that you can let the computer decide which level your child needs to work at or you can set the levels yourself. When the auto learning feature is turned on (under the preference button), the activities start at level one. Depending on how your child does, he will either stay at the current level or be automatically moved to the next level. If you choose to turn the auto learning off, you will need to set the levels yourself at the beginning of each activity.

Disc Two is fun as well but doesn't have as many activities. With the Music Machine, your child can make up his own songs. There are many possibilities for different musical arrangements. Your child can arrange the four different instruments (clarinet, piano, flute, and drums) into any musical combination desired. You can print activities from this disc as well as create cards to print with the Card Creator.

My son has had a great time with Arthur's Kindergarten. He has learned a lot, and it has given him something educational to do while I work with my older children. I'm sure any child who likes to play on the computer would love to add this to their collection.

Product review by Stacy Rocha, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2009