" This is the best Blues Clues game Ive ever played!" Jack, age 5.
Well, if Jack were writing this review there would be no need to go further. Blues 123 Time Activities is the follow up to Blues ABC Time Activities from Humongous Entertainment. For the uninitiated, this game is based on Nickelodeons popular preschool television show, Blues Clues. This innovative show encourages its young viewers to play along with the show by presenting them with questions to answer and games to solve. The television show stars a charming and likable live-action host named Steve who lives in an animated setting. Blue is his spirited and inquisitive little blue puppy.
Blues 123 Time Activities brings the same playful learning approach found in the TV show to the world of numbers. In the game, preschoolers can practice pre-math and problem solving skills with Blue and her friends. These activities include basic addition and subtraction, weight and measurement, number lines and pattern recognition. Each of these helps to strengthen childrens early math skills of counting and number recognition, sorting and classifying attributes, prediction and estimation, and sets and subsets.
I have to admit that I am totally charmed by this game. I was already a huge Blues Clues fan and when Steve met us at the entrance to the Backyard Fair my son and I felt right at home. The interactive interface was very familiar since we enjoy the same characters and structure of the games from the television show. Only this time, my son was able to play with Blue, one on one.
The games production values are excellent. The graphics are two-dimensional cut outs which are just like the television show. In fact, you feel as though you have just stepped through one of the picture frames with Blue!
One of my sons favorite activities in the Baby Bears Card Game. This game is very similar to Uno where players must match numbers or shapes as they try to get rid of all of their cards. Not only does this activity encourage children to recognize, identify, and discriminate colors and basic geometric shapes, but it also enhances the childs logical thinking skills. Shovel and Pails Mother May I? game introduces the number line as a learning and problem-solving tool by having Blue move as Pail plays "Mother" and tells how many steps to take.
One game that was a bit confusing for my son was Tinks Train Ride. In this game supplies are gathered for his train ride by exploring problem solving strategies and the concepts of addition and subtraction. The problem here seemed to be navigating around the screen. Tink tells you that he needs 1 square block but gives no further instructions about where and how to get Blue to pick them up. I eventually figured it out and showed Jack. First you click on one of the bins holding the piece you want then you click on Blue in the train. Blue will then go pick it up for you.
Other games include Bells Souvenir Stand where you can weigh and compare objects while developing a mathematical vocabulary of such terms as "less", "more" and "the same as". The Felt Friends Pattern Parade encourages children to help the Felt Friend decorate floats for the Fair by recognizing and completing patterns. And Mr. Salt and Mrs. Peppers Snack Stand allows children to help Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper sort, categorize and classify objects by one or more attributes.
As you complete various activities in the game you collect Blue Dollars which can be turned in at Prize Text for Big Prizes. I love the problem-solving approach to this portion, too, since you can only buy pieces of the Big Prize and need to make predictions regarding what it could be when all the pieces are collected.
When I first started playing this game with my son, I immediately wanted to see a choice for difficulty level. As we explored and played the game I noticed that as each game progressed, the instructions become more challenging. I tend to like this better than having the ability to change levels. This way, children can play at their own developmental level and progress as their skills improve.
Humgongous, as always, produces high-quality interactive games for children. My whole family has enjoyed several of their other titles, such as the Putt-Putt series, Freddi Fish and Pajama Sam. They are on the right on track again with Blues 123.