A few months ago, I was approached by JumpStart (the fabulous company with all kinds of software and products with children in mind) about trying out their JumpStart.com online program with my kids. I thought it sounded like fun, knowing how much we’ve enjoyed JumpStart products in the past, but when I mentioned it to my kids, that sealed the deal — they already knew about JumpStart’s online program and had been wanting to try it.
When I initially tried to get online with JumpStart, I ran into some issues. I tried a few times, but for whatever reason, it just wouldn’t finish loading on my computer. I spoke with Jennifer from JumpStart and she was so helpful! Not only was she apologetic that I couldn’t get it to work (which was totally not her fault, of course), but she contacted their IT department to provide me with ideas of how to get it to work. Great customer service!
In the end, I just tried one of the other computers at our house. I’m happy to say that now my kids have played JumpStart’s virtual world on both of the other computers at our home, as well as one at my parents’ house with no problems. (Seems like maybe it was just my own computer being glitchy.)
Now, logistics aside, let’s talk about the actual virtual world and what my kids (ages 6, 9, and 11) thought about it. Everyone wanted a chance to have their say about JumpStart’s virtual world, so I decided to break up this part by child, and pretty much just let them have their say (in their own words). While I know this doesn’t seem like it would be the best way to write a review, I want to share with you what my kids thought in their own words, not in what I played around with to make it sound better.
Molly (age six)
Molly: I really like it. My favorite part is going to StoryLand.
Mom: Is there anything you didn’t like?
Molly: Um…not necessarily. I like it all.
Mom: Would you recommend it to other kids?
Molly: Uh, yes (with a face that said, “Duh, Mom. Haven’t you heard us talking about it nonstop since we started playing it?”)
Noah (age 11)
Noah: I like the quest where we had to find all 15 hearts to warm up the eggulator and warm up a Mythie egg.
Mom: You were pretty excited about those Mythies, weren’t you?
Noah: Yes, I was! The first one I got was a dragon. When it was still in its egg, I had to get the bar into the green zone, that way the egg would hatch faster. Then, when it first came out, it was only an infant. Ivy said I should take care of my Mythie. As long as it stays happy, it grows faster. When my Mythie grew, I was able to play hide and seek with it. When it gets bigger again, it can go to flight school. There, it went on the launch pad where I used the ball to hit the target and my Mythee got airborne (but it wasn’t ready to fly yet). I had to take care of it for three days. After that, the Mythie was big enough to take care of itself. After that, you can get a new Mythie. Ahhh…good times.
(If it isn’t apparent, the Mythies, which are mythical creatures like unicorns and dragons, were a huge hit in our house. The kids would talk about them often, even when they weren’t playing.)
Jack (age nine):
Mom: What did you think of the educational games? I know you played a lot of them.
Mom: What was your favorite of the educational games?
Jack: Probably the Jet Pack game. In that game, you fly around on a jet pack and there are rings that say correct or wrong answers. You chose the question difficulty each time you play.
Mom: What kinds of questions did they ask you about on that game?
Jack: You got to choose between reading and math, but there are different things you can do in each category. Like, you might find all of the even numbers or it might ask you to find all of the words with a certain number of syllables. I like that you get to shoot the wrong answers.
Okay, now back to me…
My kids absolutely loved the JumpStart virtual world. They have been playing it every day since I registered each of them to play. Even though we were able to try our membership for free, I appreciate that I could have registered each of the kids on one membership (you can have up to six children on the same account), rather than requiring each of the kids to have their own paid membership.
JumpStart’s Virtual World was intuitive for the children and nobody had to ask me for assistance to be able to do any game that they tried. While I don’t mind sometimes helping the kids with computer games, as a busy Mom, I appreciate that I’m not going to be called over to the computer every two minutes to help.
Along these sames lines, I liked that there were multiple worlds in the Virtual World which catered to various age groups. This allowed all of the kids to have a good time and be successful without having activities that were too easy or too hard. (But, if they wanted to try other lands, they were welcome to. Molly’s favorite, StoryLand, is actually geared toward children ages 3 – 5.)
I loved all of the educational content. Jack’s favorite part, as he mentioned, were games that were all educational in nature. One was about geography, which we clearly haven’t covered enough yet, and it gave me the opportunity to sit with him and we talked about the questions as they came up. I know that some people try to shy away from the computer for learning experiences, but I think in moderation, computer games can be a great interactive way to engage children.
JumpStart also has a great blog to share information about new things coming up, improvements, and other information. This is a great source for learning more about their Virtual World.
Now for the Giveaway
I’m so excited that JumpStart.com is providing one of my readers with a free three month membership to their Virtual World! I just know that someone else out there is going to have just as much fun as my kids have been having.
This giveaway will run through Saturday, November 13th at 11:59 pm EST. You may enter through up to six different methods (one entry for each). You can do all six or you can do just one.
How to enter the giveaway (leave a separate comment for each entry):
1. Share one educational activity you like to do with your children in a comment.
2. Share your favorite JumpStart product (past or present).
5. Follow JumpStart on Twitter.
Giveaway Closed. Congratulations to Tristan!
Disclosure: I was provided with a JumpStart membership at no cost by Knowledge Adventure in order to test the products’ abilities and give my own personal opinions on it. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but were not influenced by the company or the free product provided.