At a very early age, even as young as infancy, reading books is the most important aspect of developing strong early learning skills. However, as infants age into toddlerhood, the attention span and stimulation demands of that young mind starts to mature.
Starting as young as three years old, young children consume information as quickly as a sponge absorbs water. Before the age of computers and the Internet, preschool teachers and parents relied on educational toys to foster and develop early learning skills. However, once the Internet became prevalent, the opportunity for even more effective learning games quickly developed into very valuable online learning resources like the Game Goo website
Game Goo Main Page
The first thing you'll notice when you visit Game Goo is how simple it is to navigate. The difficulty level starts from "Beginner" at the bottom in a blue section, and then goes to "Intermediate" in dark purple and then "Advanced" in light purple. The games are scattered throughout each section so that your child can explore each game within their own difficulty level.
Learning Skills for Each Game
For parents and educators, the nice thing about the layout of the games on the main page is that when you roll the mouse over a particular game, the learning skill associated with that game is listed at the very top of the screen. For example, rolling over "Fearless Frieda The Big Kahuna" reveals that the game teaches spelling and requires keyboarding skills.
The Antonyms Game
In the advanced category, you'll find fun games like "Squanky the Tooth Taker - Quiet Quest for Opposites." In this game, Squanky the Tooth Taker teaches children about antonyms. However, animation and score-keeping aspect of the game keeps kids interested and involved, even in a subject that normally most kids find boring. This is the beauty of online, interactive learning games.
The Spelling Game
The Fearless Frieda game is another example of a topic that kids normally consider dry and boring, but transformed into an animated and highly interactive game where they can learn how to spell. During game play, a word is repeated orally (speakers required), and the child must spell out the word, or else the skateboarder who is performing stunts will fall. Perform the spelling correctly, and the skateboarder performs an impressive flip or twirl into the air, and lands perfectly.
While many of the games for toddlers are captivating enough to hold the interest of children over the age of 4, and effective enough to teach them important skills, the "Beginner" area is actually a bit more complicated than one would expect. For example, the Paw Park Sassy Seals game is almost more difficult to understand than some of the more advanced games.
After a while, your child may figure out that she or he needs to match words that start with the same sound in order to get the fish to jump into the fish bowl. However, the rules of the game aren't really intuitive during game play.
The Arcade Area
While playing learning games may be entertaining while teaching kids about spelling and reading, sometimes it's just fun for a child to just relax and play a game for the sake of playing a game. The good news is that Game Goo does provide a separate game area just for this purpose. Your child can get to the arcade game area by clicking on the "Fun Goo" icon on the main page.
In the "Fun Goo Games" area, there are about six games that are there for the sole purpose of having fun. Clicking on any of these links will take your child to the game page where they can use the mouse and keyboard to play very simple and very fun games.
Piggies on the Run
One example of these games is the very cute "Piggies on the Run" game, where you need to use the keyboard to navigate through a maze in order to get your character to where a pig is located. If you catch your first pig, you're transported to the next level where you have to navigate through several screens and passageways to chase after the elusive pig. Don't worry, there are only two levels to this game, and the pig can't run as fast as you can!
Compose a Goo
Sticking with the overall "Goo" theme of the site, even music is apparently considered as "Goo." With this in mind, children can compose their own Goo using various Goo bodies and Goo heads that represent different sounds, tones and even side effects.
By first clicking record, and then clicking on each of the Goo bodies and heads, your child can create an entire symphony of strange music and sound effects, and then play it back for their own amusement or the amusement of their friends.
Overall, the site is an excellent way to help foster the development of basic reading skills for young children, but it isn't quite as professionally designed as it could be. Some of the graphics are somewhat amateurish, and a few of the game windows, particularly in the "Fun Goo Games" area, are too small.
Among all of the children's websites that are out there, this one is definitely worth bookmarking as a safe and educational site for your child, but it should be one of many learning sites that you've set aside for your child to play and learn.
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