JumpStart is an educational website for kids age 3 to 10, it's a virtual world of learning. Children make their own avatar, then learn how to navigate among the many areas such as FutureLand, Uncle Milton's ScienceLand, AdventureLand and MarineLand.
One of Luke (age 8) and Eliza's (age 6) favorites was Enchanted Sanctuary, where they hatched and raised their own dragon.
As your avatar travels around the various sections, you play along side the avatars of other children, as they play online from their homes.
I was recently asked to check out JumpStart's latest addition, the interactive DreamWorks Madagascar™ area!
Your avatar can visit each character, and do a slide puzzle, but the real fun starts when you go through an underground tunnel, where the Penguins explain a new game, where you go to Europe, collect "Zoovenirs," bring them back underground, and by using the Transmorpher, create a new Zoo Tourist.
To get to Europe, you take the train from the Zoo, which goes through a tunnel, flies past Paris, and arrives in Venice, Italy.
There's quite a bit to learn as you collect the Zooveniers. If you click on a floating question mark, a window will pop up with facts about Italy, if you click on the artwork hanging on walls, you learn the name of the painting, the artist, and the period it is from. We looked at paintings of The Last Supper, The Marriage of the Virgin, and looked at the Statue of David.
There are chances to earn coins that you spend in the shops, Eliza picked out an I Heart Alex shirt. If you enter the movie theater, you can watch the trailer for DreamWork's upcoming movie, The Rise of the Gurardian's. You can even take a gondola ride over to a cannon, which you fire at a target, in order to earn even more Zooveniers.
Once you have all the Zooveniers, your head back underground to the Transmorpher. After choosing which animal you want to create (such as Monkeying Around or Hungry Hippo) a recipe will appear. We chose Just A Giraffe.
This is where math skills come in. The recipe will say how much you need of each item, such as 1 1/4 cups of water, or 3 teaspoons of sand. If you do not do it correctly, you need to start over. After you click the mix button, your completed animal will appear on the screen.
Eliza really had a lot of fun playing Madagascar, it's definitely different from the usual online games she plays.
The only thing that we didn't like was that sometimes when you are waiting to go to a new section, a window would pop up while it loads (it would tell you what other JumpStart areas to check out that you might not have known about). Sometimes it took a while to get to the next page, but that was usually at times when it seemed like several other kids were playing as well, which might have slowed the game down a bit.
I realize technology is a big part of all our lives, but I feel like some games we play are kind of mindless. What is nice about JumpStart is that Eliza was being entertained while learning at the same time, laughing out loud at things, and calling me over to look at others. Overall, we give JumpStart Madagascar a thumbs up!
If you would like a chance to win a three month membership to JumpStart, please leave me a comment telling me what kind of games you enjoy playing with your kids.
For additional entries, check out JumpStart on facebook, twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, or their website, and let me know your thoughts. All entries can be included on one comment.
I will choose a winner with random.org on Wednesday November 14th.