In my childhood, I spent most of my time playing with my friends in the backyard and was happy just to get a handheld Tetris as a birthday present. Today's first graders are expected to create PowerPoint presentations instead of sitting in libraries and digging through piles of books. What could be easier? All they have to do is to come home and turn the computer on, it would seem. But try teaching a child who has only just learned how to click the mouse how to work with the serious software - this won't seem an easy task at all.
But there is a way out, of course. There are applications that can help you teach your treasured little ones to be on close terms with a PC from the very beginning. Find a couple of minutes to spare, follow the article, and enjoy the results.
Your Kid's Magic Desktop
The app I'm about to cover is called “Magic Desktop” - it is a game with educational content for children aged 2 to 12. The game is split into 5 main sections, each with a wild variety of different activities:
- browse Internet.
Depending on the selected age, you can choose the level difficulty. Following the suggested tabs, your child will learn not only to count and solve math problems, but also to 'write' letters, read, and make words.
All children love animals, right? Well, there are animal characters in the game that will help your kid to draw, to differentiate baby animals, and to learn how to take care after pets, how to feed them, guess the animals based on their footprints, find out which animal lives where, etc. Your child will be able to try different occupations and maybe decide on what they'd want to do when they grow up. The game also develops attention and logic skills: it will offer your child to select matching shapes, play with spot-the-difference pictures, learn new colors and materials (like concrete or plastic), and even park the car! There are also music tools, which will teach the kid not only to play and write music but also to learn different musical instruments and their respective sounds.
Your kid will be able to make a wonderful present for any holiday by creating pictures, photo collages, cards, and so on.
Don't be afraid that little one will lose the cursor, because there's a Toggle Cursor Guide that makes a cute little dog follow the mouse cursor and help your child find it. Also, there's a talking parrot that the child can communicate with and chat a little bit to distract themselves from the game.
To encourage the kid not to give up, the game developers thought of a points system. Every time the child gets through a challenge, they get the amount of points that their parents have previously set. To share their results, your kid can send a so-called Magic Mail to their friend or relative (don't worry about this mail falling into wrong hands: the game is designed to be child-safe). They can also use the included web browser to surf kid-friendly Internet websites.
You Can Take Part Too
The application includes parental control settings to ensure that you can leave your little ones alone with the computer. You can stop them from being able to quit the game and read your documents or surf the Internet. Also, you will be able to see what your children do at your computer, which you can then use to limit the time they can spend in front of the screen. One more nice option is the language variety. The application is available in a wide variety of languages, which makes it accessible for parents and children in a lot of countries (and makes the game doubly useful for bilingual families).
Oddly enough, the game doesn't exactly do anything new or extraordinary; but all the included activities feel quite refreshing and a lot of fun. I think that it's got something to do with colorful graphics and memorable characters: the game helps children develop their imagination, and it makes it possible for them to learn new things by playing games and competing with others for high scores.
So Is It Worth Getting?
I must confess, I myself have been playing this game for quite some time and actually enjoyed it. I would definitely get Magic Desktop for my own children because it has so much more than any other child-friendly game I've tried. And I have tried lots of those, being a private tutor for children and all: I'm all about making my lessons more lively and engaging. Magic Desktop is not free, which may be somewhat off-putting, but consider what you're getting along with it: a whole collection of educational games, with a points system no less, a child monitoring system, a kid-friendly web browser, and some additional safety for your own files - I'd say that's quite a kit.