- Laughter Lake FREE
- Twister Top $4.95
- Galaxy Garden $4.95
For Ages 4-7
There is also a sister site with programs which address higher level reading skills. This can be found at skatekids.com
GoGoKabongo is an online resource which aids in building prereading skills cleverly disguised as games. Reading involves putting many different skills together in order to decode the letters and words on a page, but active learners often don't have the patience to still still and look at printed resources. Now GoGo Kabongo has put these important skills in an interactive format online. Some of the brain Skills Kabongo focuses on are:attention, working focus, several types of processing, planning, visualization, alphabet knowlege and phonics.
GoGoKabongo has a nice chart which shows which skills are addressed in each game that you can find here.
The first place a user goes on Kabongo is the Treehouse. Here they can design an avatar which is not a human form, but a funny creature. This is also the place where they can design their own comic book with rewards they earn.
Kabongo features three different habitats with 3 games in each. Each game has 6 levels of play. The habitats each have a different character host which welcomes the child and gives directions for how to play the games. You can find biographies of them here.
Galaxy Gardens has Robo Bobo, Rocket Racer and Photo Safari.
- Robo Bobo is a game where the player chooses a piece off the conveyer belt and puts it into the proper place on the picture. Like an online jigsaw puzzle, but most of the puzzle is already present.
- Rocket Racer is a race game in which the player steers his robot to the letters which he had been previously shown. The letters must be found in the same order as they were presented to him.
- In Photo Safari the user takes a picture of an animal and then finds the item the animal wants. If the picture is not taken correctly then you lose a picture chance. You must watch closely as after the picture is taken it is briefly shown the player and the item to look for is shown briefly in a speech bubble. If the item is found correctly then the player receives another picture opportunity.
Laughter Lake features Going Buggy, Critter Sizer, and Scuba Dude.
- Going Buggy requires the child to listen to the sentences which are read and put in the pictures which match the sentences.
- Critter Sizer address the difference between big and small and makes sure the child can differentiate between the two.
- Scuba Dude requires the child to run his submarine to catch the color and letter clam that matches the one he was given in the beginning.
Twister Top features Desert Dash, Design-a-Door, and Crazy Maze.
- In Desert Dash the child assists the character to drive through the desert and find the sound they letter sound they heard.
- Design-a-Door shows children a space ship door with several designs of the same or different colors for a couple seconds,removes them, and the child then needs to duplicate what they saw.
- Crazy Maze helps a child took make words. They are provided with three different beginning letters and the ending and the child needs to guide the letter ball they chose through a lane or simple maze.
How we used GoGoKabongo
My 6 year old is within the target range for this product and he tried it out twice, but overall he was not interested in it. He generally loves all computer games and anything he can do on the computer so I was very surprised by this. I think this was probably because he is reading at a solid 3rd grade level and the games were below his skill level. He might have been more willing to play if it wasn't so slow in loading between habitats and games within each habitat. The games play well, there isn't any lag in them once they start, but waiting for them takes a long time.
So that I could really see what GoGo Kabongo is all about I spent some time playing myself. I played through each of the games to learn what they are. The games are well thought out and put together. They address critical prereading and logic skills in a fun manner. Each game or activity is short; the child only has to do something once or twice before they are rewarded with a virtual sticker for their comic book, skatepark pieces, or objects for their tree house. Most of the games are slow enough paced so a child who is not familiar with using a mouse could easily play them. It seemed to me that as the skills are built some of the games do speed up the pace.
A couple downsides I ran into are that it is very slow loading and sometimes the prizes, stickers, are not visible, just a big black square. When I played Desert Dash I found it hard to hear some of the spoken letters I was to hunt for over the music. These would probably be very discouraging to a child.
The background music also became overwhelming to me after a while. I can do several things at once, including having the TV on in the background and am not usually bothered in this way. When my son played GoGoKabongo or other computer activities it doesn't seem to bother him, so this is likely not an issue for everyone or all children. But I do feel it is something to be aware of.
I wish I had known about GoGoKabongo several years ago. Playing these activities would have helped my son with things such as sequencing, letter identification, memory and following directions. He was not one who took direction easily; he much preferred to try something himself and figure out what to do on his own. Several of the games might have helped him develop the skill of listening and following directives better.
Other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew also used and reviewed GoGoKabongo. To read what they had to say you can go here to the crew blog.
Disclaimer: I was given a free trial of GoGoKabongo in order to write this review. I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.