|Blue's 123 Time Activities, created by Humongous Entertainment, is a wonderful math game for young children!
Preschoolers strengthen early math skills at the Backyard Fair as they collect Blue Dollars to help Blue win one
of many big prizes at the Prize Tent. Multi-level activities help kids develop logical thinking and deductive reasoning
skills, practice simple math and explore numerical estimation and prediction. The software is based on Nickelodeon's
preschool program "Blue's Clues," and features Steve and a cast of two-dimensional animated characters,
among them Blue, a fun-loving, spotted blue dog. The price for Blue's 123 Time Activities is $19.99. There is also
a Blue's Birthday Adventure and Blue's ABC Time Activities. (See our review of these programs.) All games can be
used with a PC with Windows or a Macintosh. The Humongous Entertainment Web site is a great place for both parents
and kids to visit. There is all sorts of information, games and such. http://www.humongous.com
Installation. The program was very easy to install.
One excellent feature of Humongous products for users who have limited disk space is that they don't
take that much space.
Interface. The interface is well-done and children love to see the same
characters they already know from the television series. The graphics are bright, the music and rhymes are appealing
to parents and children.
Difficulty Levels. Six of the seven activities gradually and automatically
become more challenging as each child plays the game and masters the concepts. The difficulty level of each game
and for each player functions independently of other activities and players.
Storyline. Blue wants to go on
a spending spree at the Backyard Fair but she needs
your help to win Blue Dollars. You can help Blue earn these dollars
you you play activities at the fair. There are seven activities, including
the Prize Tent where you can help Blue buy a Big Prize with Blue Dollars
earned while playing the other six activities. The items you see on
the Backyard Fair Selection Screen represent the activities.
Activities. Children love these Blue's Activities games but they are filled
with multi-level learning games. For the activities below, I have listed the objective, learning opportunities,
and level progression to give you an indication of the effort Humongous puts into these games to insure that your
children have fun and learn important skills at the same time.
- Shovel and Pail's Mother May I Game--Blue loves to play Mother May I? with shovel and Pail and other
Blue's Clues friends. You can help Blue as she attempts to be the first player to reach the number 10 on the Backyard
Fair number line.
Learning Opportunities: introduce the number line as a learning and problem-solving
tool; introduce and practice simple addition operations; practice counting; explore one-to-one correspondence;
recognize and identify written numerals and their corresponding number of objects; introduce the concepts of "greater
than," and "equal to"; emphasize that numerical and mathematical concepts surround us in daily life;
explore and apply mathematical problem solving skills; and develop logical thinking and problem solving skills.
Level Progression: as the game progresses, the instructions become more
challenging. In beginning levels, you count only on the number line. In more difficult levels, you count objects
around the screen, then move that many spaces.
- Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper's Snack Stand--Mr. Salt and Mrs.
your help sorting snacks for customers at the Backyard Fair. You
can help by sorting snacks so they go with the signs on the shelves.
Sometimes a customer requests one of the snacks you sorted. You
need to listen carefully and then find the correct snack.
Learning Opportunities: enhance logical thinking and deductive reasoning
skills; develop skill in observing details; explore the fundamental concepts of sets and subsets; recognize, compare,
and contrast attributes; sort, categorize and classify objects by one or more attributes; recognize that groups
can contain objects that are alike in some ways and different in others.
Level Progression: As the game becomes more challenging, there are more places
to sort snacks. In beginning levels, you will sort snacks according to two attributes. In more difficult levels,
you will sort snacks according to five attributes.
- Tink's Train Ride--Tink built a train ride for the Backyard
Fair, but he needs
your help to gather supplies to make his train ride longer and fancier.
After you have helped Tink get some supplies, you can see a new
part of his ride.
Learning Opportunities: practice counting; discover and apply mathematical
problem solving strategies; understand and explore the concepts of addition and subtraction; explore one-to-one
correspondence; and reinforce shape recognition.
Level Progression: As the game becomes more challenging, the train moves faster,
more items need to be collected, and more bins are added. In beginning levels, you will only add supplies to the
train, while in more advanced levels, you will add supplies to and take supplies from the train.
- Baby Bear's Card Game--Baby Bear made a card game to play with you and Blue. The object of the game
is to be the first player to get rid of all your cards.
Learning Opportunities: enhance logical thinking and deductive reasoning
skills; practice counting; recognize, identify, and discriminate colors; recognize, identify, and discriminate
basic geometric shapes; identify similarities and differences between objects; develop skills in observing details;
and explore one-to-one correspondence and matching.
Level Progression: In beginning levels, fewer items appear on the cards. In
more difficult levels, more items are displayed on the cards. As the game becomes more difficult, Wild Cards and
numeral cards are introduced.
- Bell's Souvenir Stand--Blue needs your help weighing souvenirs
at the souvenir
stand. One of Blue's friends asks for a souvenir based on its weight.
To hear the request again, you clic on Blue's friend. Blue's friend
might want the heaviest or lightest souvenir or two souvenir that
weigh the same. To fill the order, you must weigh the souvenirs.
Learning Opportunities: explore weight as a system of measurement; explore
estimation and prediction; compare and contrast the weight of familiar objects; explore equalities and inequalities;
formulate and test a hypothesis; and develop quantitative vocabulary such as "less," "more,"
and "the same as."
Level Progression: As the game progresses, requests for souvenirs become more
challenging and weights of available objects become more similar. In easier levels, you will be asked to find the
lightest or heaviest object. In more difficult levels, you will also be asked to find and compare the weights of
- Felt Friend's Pattern Parade--The Felt Friend is making
floats for the Backyard
Fair Pattern Parade, but needs your help finishing them. You have
to place shapes into the correct location on the float. When you
correctly complete a pattern, the float animates.
Learning Opportunities: develop logical thinking and problem solving skills;
recognize that a pattern is comprised of regularly repeating parts; recognize that patterns can be linear or non-linear;
recognize and complete linear and symmetrical patterns; explore sequencing and ordering; and recognize and identify
Level Progression: As the game becomes more challenging, patterns, become longer
and more complex. In easier levels, you will fill in the last shape in a simple pattern. In more difficult levels,
you will fill in any shape in a pattern.
- Cash Register's Prize Tent--At Cash Register's Prize Tent,
you can help Blue
buy a Big Prize. You can buy components needed to assemble one of
the Big Prizes. Each Big Prize contains nine components. Each of
these components appears on the shelves in the Prize Tent.
Learning Opportunities: understand the concepts of earning and spending
money; practice simple mathematical operations; explore one-to-one correspondence; count money toward a purchase;
enhance spatial and perceptual memory skills.