Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Giggles Computer Funtime for Baby - ABC's & 123's

Giggles Computer Funtime for Baby - ABC's & 123's

Fall 2007 Software
Ages: 0 - 2 yrs.
Publisher: Leveractive, LLC
Price: $19.99
Platform: Windows Mac 10.1

Here is the third installment in the Giggles series of software, which has generally received thumbs-up from parents who want to give their babies a chance to pound on the keyboard without accidentally moving or deleting files in the process. When the software is in play, the rest of the computer is locked up, safe from destruction. The games play on the thrill of discovery, letting young children come to the realization that that by pressing a button (or slamming a fist upon several keys at once) they can make colors and objects appear, accompanied by silly sound effects.

The games in this particular edition include letters and numbers, a departure for a company that has tried to ensure that its products are not trying to teach too much, too fast, to children who are not developmentally ready. But the narration at the beginning stresses that the point is not to teach letters and numbers to 1-year-olds. Instead, the letters and numbers are offered as a way to give children exposure to them. One game, for example, is all about popping balloons. Each pound on the keyboard leads a balloon to pop (with a ‘boink’ instead of a bang) and the result is a yellow sunburst with a capital letter inside. In testing with a 19-month-old boy, who sat on his mother’s lap and squealed and giggled with each pop, the software led his mother to start naming letters almost automatically, while also pointing and labeling objects and colors that he might like.

His 3-and-a-half year old sister, who is just starting to actually recognize and label letters, showed interest too – so much so that playtime erupted into a sibling squabble. Though the product is aimed at children no older than 24-months, parents may find some value in keeping it around while their children are starting to learn their ABCs. But be ready for bickering if you are trying to use software like this with older siblings around. Computers generally aren’t set up for cooperative use. Maybe the next Giggles product will include a way for two or more children to play together.

Lisa Guernsey   ©2007 Parents' Choice
Author of Into the Minds of Babes: How Screen Time Affects Children From Birth to Age 5 (Basic Books, Sept 2007)

Look for this product at:
Leveractive, LLC
Major, Specialty & Online Retailers

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