Thursday, January 27, 2011

Games for Toddlers - Owlieboo

If you'd like to find an online space where your toddler can play and learn some elementary computer skills, as well as interact with simple games, Owlieboo might be the answer. Games are grouped into Pressing Keys, Moving the Mouse, and Clicking and Dragging.

Games I tried:

Painter - lets kids colour simple scenes by dipping a paint brush into their chosen shade and dragging it to the scene to touch the space they want to fill with that colour.
Music - click on an owl and it makes some musical sound; add more owls; click again to stop, one after the other, and experiment with composition.
Animals - press any key for the animal to make its sound.
Egg - press any key and continue to press to see the egg crack and different animals emerge. Includes some Australian monotremes.
Nocturnal - move the mouse and shine your torch on animals of the night.
Puzzles - four and six piece jigsaw puzzles where pieces can be dragged into their correct position to make a scene.
Stickers - choose a scene eg polar landscape and then decorate it by dragging animal stickers to where you want them. Like a digital flannel board.

What I liked: the designers really have kept things simple. The interface isn't cluttered, it's intuitive, and it works smoothly and quickly. There's also an emphasis on involving kids in activities associated with music, art, and thinking that appeals to me. The games really are very simple and well-targeted at toddlers, and there are also colouring pages and wallpapers you can download. 

The only drawback are the ads either side of your working screen. The whole time I was playing, the ads were never inappropriate for kids - ads for foxtel, CDs and evening dresses. But I figure parents will be supervising toddlers so don't see these as a big problem. And we need to realize I guess that the people who create these websites try to pay for them somehow. It's either that or we pay to subscribe. I know what I prefer!

Other websites I've written about and like for younger children: Boowa and Kwala, Poisson Rouge, CBeebies, KneeBouncers and Fun with Spot

I think a certain amount of screen time for kids is fine, under parent supervision. I truly do believe that the greater part of a child's day should be spent playing, listening to stories, singing, rolling down grassy hills, painting, building, kicking a ball around outside, and pretending. However, websites like these help kids explore technology in a developmentally appropriate way. NB: I am NOT an expert anything - just a chook with an opinion! 


  1. Regina @ Chalkinmypocket.com27 January, 2011

    I wish I could cut and paste your last paragraph onto my car and drive around the local elementary schools! I've got my degree in computer science and educational technology and even with that background I just can't find value in the amount of screen time many of our children experience. Yes, there are quality and educational sites out there but young children need to be getting their hands on things, not mousing around experiencing things virtually. And don't get me started on the television! I just came across your blog and I'm your newest subscriber!

  2. The Book Chook27 January, 2011

    Regina, great to have you chez chook! Thanks for introducing yourself. If there's anything in particular you're looking for, shoot me an email.

  3. I agree! I think exposing young children to technology is great. And let's face it: it's just part of our life. But then, most learning should be hands on. Harrison (3) doesn't use the computer at all yet but he's an expert at the iphone. HA!

  4. The Book Chook28 January, 2011

    Like so much I think, it gets back to balance. I remember my parents warned me when we got our first TV that I would get square eyes, or that my brain would go to mush, if I watched too much TV.

    Well, my eyes are definitely not square.

  5. What a sweet site! I do wish that they would do away with the ads since it is geared toward beginning computer users.

  6. The Book Chook05 February, 2011

    I'm not sure how they can generate money without ads. I do know there are programs I've read about that strip the ads off a web page but I guess that wouldn't work with flash programs?


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