04 March 2009

Star's Island

Like all siblings, Star and Dandelion don't always get along. Some of that is just life. Having friction with the ones closest to you is pretty common. Then there's the premeditated stuff. If we give our kids two options, you can bet that they'll take whatever the other doesn't want. Should we make waffles or crepes this morning? Star will choose waffles and Dandelion will choose crepes just to be difficult. BUT, there are a few things you can count on both our kids to always want to do even if the other one wants to too.

1. Watch Kung-fu Panda
2. Play with Matthew
3. Eat ice cream
4. Go to the play land at the gym
5. Go to Uncle Joe's
6. Go to the Island (to play games at pbskids.org)

Here they are, happy as larks. And here's the Island full of rides Star earned.

For all you parents out there, this is a resource that I recommend. It introduces children to a variety of reading and pre-reading concepts through games. As they complete tasks they earn tickets that they can spend at the prize booth for things to decorate their tree house (Star has a popcorn machine, a gold fish, a rainbow dragon, and a bunch of other things too). And once they've mastered (or completed--not sure if they differentiate) a certain number of games, they advance to a harder level that builds on what they did before. The child's reward for advancing is a new ride on the island.

Matthew told me that this same model of task completion, rewards, spending fake money and acquiring fake things is at the heart of World of Warcraft and I'd imagine a host of other games for older folks. So the Island is a gateway game, and you can make what you will of that.

Is there something like the Island out there for early math skills? I'd like to get the kiddos into something like that. Anyone? Please send me your recommendations.

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