First, let me tell you a little about the program. ABCmouse.com is an online interactive early learning program geared towards kids aged 2-6 although younger and older kids would get great benefit from the program as well. It's divided into six levels from Preschool to Kindergarten, and even includes an area for toddlers. Each child gets their own profile that includes a personalized avatar and guided lesson plan that saves their progress each time they log on and off. Lesson plans include subjects such as math, reading, art, music, & geography in fun activities that the kids will enjoy doing. Don't worry about your kids getting bored. There are over 350 lessons and more than 2,000 activities! Not only are all the lessons fun, but after each lesson is completed your child will get tickets that they can use to buy items for their virtual fish tank, bedroom, hamster cage, and backyard. I love this part because it teaches your children to understand addition and subtraction, savings, and rewards for work well done. In addition to the lessons your child is free to do any activities found on the site on their own and you can rest assured that they are learning something.
So back to the question ... What do we think? We LOVE it!!! I seriously was so excited that I wanted to tell you all about it on day one! From the first day we logged on to the program it's all the girls can talk about. They would play ABCmouse.com all day long if I would let them. I don't like them staring at a screen all day though so I try to set limits. That's another great thing about this program. ABCmouse.com makes setting limits easy. First off they have a timer option that allows you to set limits for your child on how often they can access the site each day. Another way that they encourage children to learn offline is through printables. You can print out tons of worksheets that will teach how to write, letters, numbers, colors, etc. My girls LOVE this feature. When the girls are playing on ABCmouse.com I try and be there with them. I think it creates a fun bonding time for myself and the girls ... and Linc too. Although the website is easy to navigate and my girls could easily do it on their own, I feel that they get the most out of the program when we do it together. I try to make sure that they are thinking outside the box, using all the options, and having fun at the same time. We especially love singing the songs together and recording our lovely voices (yes there is an option to record your own songs). I can't say enough good things about this website, but don't take my word for it. I interviewed my girls and this is what they said...
RILEY - 6 years old and currently in kindergarten
I could tell the website was going to be a hit right from the start with Riley. She was so enthralled in the intro video. When they started talking about what she was going to be learning she was yelling excitedly "I LOVE MATH!!!" "I LOVE ART!!!" I LOVE MUSIC!!!" Oh yes, Riley was going to love this website. It didn't surprise me at all though. Riley loves school and this program was right up her alley.
What are your most favorite activities on ABCmouse.com? "I love the lesson path where you get all the numbers and then you get your prize. I also really like feeding the fish in the fish tank and cleaning the green poop off the glass. Singing songs is also really fun."
What are your least favorite activities on ABCmouse.com? "I like everything."
What have you learned about on ABCmouse.com? "Reading." - After talking more with her about this we decided to move her up to a higher level on the program. Riley is actually really advanced so she thinks the level that I put her on is too easy. She still thinks it's really fun, but she wants to be challenged more.
REAGAN - 4 years old and currently in her last year of preschool
Reagan is a different story. She's not like Riley when it comes to school. She's a little slower at learning and in general is not very excited about school and learning. She'd rather be out playing than doing homework or reading books. Well I was pleasantly surprised to see that Reagan was just as excited as Riley to use the ABCmouse.com website and she could play it for hours if I let her.
What are your most favorite activities on ABCmouse.com? "I love coloring pictures & numbers, reading books, singing songs... everything."
What are your least favorite activities on ABCmouse.com? "I like everything." - I was a bit skeptical of this since my daughter hates learning. I asked her if she even liked the environment tests where they teach her about each environment and then test her on it. I feel that this is the hardest part of the program. She said that she loved that part too. Wow! I was surprised.
What have you learned about on ABCmouse.com? "Animals, trees, numbers, & letters." - Reagan's learning quite a bit on this program. I might move her up a level or two as well. I started her off on the lowest level since she normally has a hard time, but she's doing so well so I think she can handle the Pre-K program.
ME / CHANA / MOM - 32 years old and a college graduate
I really want the best for my girls and want them to love school as much as I did. Oh yes, I was a big nerd with a capital "N". After watching the introduction video and seeing my daughter's eyes light up with excitement I just knew that this program was going to be perfect for us. I could tell that it was the perfect mix of both fun and learning to make both myself and my kids happy.
What are my most favorite activities on ABCmouse.com? I love all the activities, but my favorite is the lesson path and environmental facts section. I feel that the girls really learn a lot about the environment, different plants, and different animals. It also really teaches them to pay attention because they know there will be a test at the end. I also really like that they are learning to use the mouse. This is mostly true for Reagan. She's come a long way as far as control of the mouse in just a few weeks. I also really love the ticket/rewards system. It teaches my girls the value of saving to get something that you really want instead of spending all your tickets as soon as you get them.
What are my least favorite activities on ABCmouse.com? I love the whole program. There is so much on here that it seems like everyday we're learning something new. My only hesitation at first were the songs. The girls didn't know them and they can't read that fast so they couldn't sing along. It's for this reason I always make a point to sing the songs with them. This gets them excited about the songs and is probably why they both said they like the singing portion of the program. An area that I think needs improvement is the coloring section. I wish that the program would not allow the children to say they are done till all sections are colored. Sometimes the girls will tell the program they are done without finishing the picture, yet they still get tickets as if they finished.
What have I learned about on ABCmouse.com? Either I'm really dumb or this program is really awesome (I'd like to say it's the second option), but I've actually learned things while participating with the girls. I too have learned about each of the environments and it's inhabitants. You know it's a great program when it challenges the parent, but the kids are still learning and having fun without feeling overwhelmed.
IN CONCLUSION ...
I LOVE this program! I know I was hesitant about paying the subscription fee, but now that we've tested it out I know that the fee is totally worth it! For less than the price it would cost me for two full days at preschool for one child, I can get a full year of ABCmouse.com for three children. Now that's a deal!!! Now I'm not saying that I think this program can replace what a child learns at preschool, but it's a great addition to it. Kids these days are on computers and other electronics more and more and so I'd rather it be educational than just shooting birds through the sky. Nothing against Angry Birds. I love that game too and I'm sure the girls learn problem solving through it, but if I was to pick one over the other there would be no competition. That being said I would definitely recommend ABCmouse.com to any parent with children between the ages of 2-6. School's are expecting more and more from our children each year so the greater head start we can give them the better. I myself plan on buying a subscription as soon as our trial is over. The price is well worth the knowledge my kids are getting.
If you want to get your kids started on ABCmouse.com just visit their website by clicking the link above to sign up. Monthly subscriptions are $7.95 and yearly subscriptions are $79. They also have some free sample content if you want to test out some of their activities first. After testing out a few of their activities you and your kids will be hooked for sure! Also make sure to visit the ABCmouse.com Facebook page. There are tons of parents and teachers on there to chat with as well as up to date announcements on the newest features and activities. Don't forget to sign up for their sweepstakes while you're there. They're giving away Two $500 scholarships on April 1st!!!
OK, time for me to wrap this up. Reagan's begging to get on here so she can play ABCmouse.com. Haha! Go figure!!!
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