I have recently been asked to review ABCmouse.com. I must admit that previous to this, I had not yet heard of it. I looked into it a little before accepting the review, by which time we were looking forward to experiencing ABCmouse.com ourselves. Coincidentally, just a few days after learning about ABCmouse.com an ‘old’ school friend posted on her Facebook timeline that her children were using the program and about how much they were enjoying it. Our children are only a few weeks apart, so her endorsement sealed the deal for us. We were in!
ABCmouse sent me a code for a year’s subscription in return for my honest opinion.
How does ABCmouse.com work?
ABCmouse.com is laid out in 6 levels: Preschool, Pre-Kindergarten, and Kindergarten, with two levels in each of these categories. You can have up to 3 children using the same program, each with their own avitar and ability level for the one subscription price. Don’t worry if you’re unsure about which level to choose. After a week or so I moved Tristan up from level 5 to 6 to give him a little more of a challenge, and he’s been doing well on this since.
Kallista has begun right at level 1. I’ve sat with her on my lap and have been helping her learn how to use the mouse while she’s playing. There is also a mouse tutorial, which is helpful for wee ones who haven’t used one before. Kallista loves being like her big brother and working at the computer.
In total there are over 450 lessons and 3000 activities. ABCmouse.com is not just about letters and reading, though there is a heavy emphasis on this subject. In addition, children can learn math (numbers 1-20), science (through reading or listening to books), arts and colours (there are lots of colour by number/letter activities as well as printables to use with traditional crayons or paints, dot-to-dots, and tracing practice), and songs (which reinforce the lesson content the child is on at the time).
After each activity is completed, your child will receive 1-4 tickets which can be saved up to ‘purchase’ clothing for your avatar, items for your room, or equipment for your hamster, or the classroom fish. You never know how many tickets you will receive for a completed activity, which keeps the children guessing. They also have to decide whether to spend their tickets often, or save them up for larger purchases. This helps them learn about delayed gratification.
What do children think about ABCmouse.com?
The children love using ABCmouse.com. I don’t generally want them to use the computer as we try to be much more hands-on. However, ABCmouse.com works great because they see it as a treat. Tristan can use it on his own and enjoys ‘playing’ at the end of the day when we’re all getting tired and I’m making supper. Because I can set lessons for him to work through, or block activities if I’d rather he not work on them, I know he’ll be fine.
There isn’t any advertising or pop-up ads while the children are playing, so you don’t have to worry about them being led to inappropriate sites or spending your hard-earned money at the touch of a button.
Tristan loves working on his ‘learning path’ and completing the activities in each step so that his avatar can move along to the next step along the path. It helps to give him a view of his goal. He’s good at setting himself a goal of completing so many steps before supper is ready.
Kallista’s favourite activities at the moment are the songs, to which she claps and hums along to. She also really enjoys the colouring. I’ve printed off a few of the art sheets for Kallista to colour at the kitchen table while Tristan is working on other subjects. She’s starting to get the hang of colour-by-number already and matching the letters to each colour.
When you’ve signed up to ABCmouse.com you’ll receive the occassional email with some parent tips. They are short and in a simple 2 question and answer format.
We’ve enjoyed using ABCmouse.com over the past several weeks, and my children haven’t grown tired of it. And on those days where Tristan doesn’t want to ‘do school’, he’s always up for a little ABCmouse.com while Kallista sits nearby watching, and
impatiently waiting for her turn.
Now, back to my ‘old’ friend, I’ll think I’ll end with a direct quote from her about her family’s experience with ABCmouse.com:
“I just want to thank ABCmouse.com for all they have done for my children. They enjoy and love playing it everyday, they have learned so much and have become even more inquisitive about everything! My son Matthew (age 5) has found a new love in learning about the solar system, my daughter Gabriella (age 3) loves to listen to the books and sing and dance with the songs, the both love the color by numbers and don’t even realize they are learning while having tons of fun!! They both have discovered Mount Rushmore and we are planning a trip there so they can visit the real thing! Its all they talk about!! Once again thank you ABC Mouse for expanding my children’s learning!”