When my parents were in Singapore, they bought Gavin Disney’s Phonics Quest. It is a CD ROM game intended to teach children from kindergarten to learn how to read. Although it is labeled for ages 5-8, I’ve already introduced Gavin to it.
I was intending to record a video review of this game because I thought a video would do the game more justice. Unfortunately, being a Mum, I can barely get through a blog post without interruptions so you can imagine how difficult it is to record a video… If I ever get around to it, I’ll be sure to update this blog post with a link to youtube. For now, I’m afraid stills will have to suffice.
The game begins with a short story set just after the story “Fantasia“. Instead of flooding the wizard’s tower with water, Mickey has managed to lose six of his master’s magical items. The items are scattered all over Fantasia and it’s up to Mickey to find them all. To find them, Mickey needs to enlist the help of all his friends – Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Minnie, and Pete – and then some. However, before his friends can help him, he needs to help them by solving various word puzzles.
There are six places your child can visit. Each place has its own special puzzle. Each puzzle has four levels denoted with stars and increasing difficulty.
Puzzle 1: Sort the baby dragons and send them back to the correct mother.
Level 1: Each mother dragon will tell you the sound that the word of the picture on her baby’s t-shirt starts with. Your child has to identify the pictures on the baby dragons’ t-shirts and figure out the sound of the letter that they start with.
Level 2: Same problem as Level 1 but the pictures are replaced with words.
Level 3: Each mother dragon will tell your child a word that the word on her baby’s t-shirt rhymes with. Your child has to identify which baby dragon’s word belongs to which mother dragon.
Level 4: Your child has to recognise a combination of things about the words. For instance, the words on the baby’s t-shirt might be ones that belong in a school and begin with an “s” sound.
Puzzle 2: Help the Genie.
Level 1: The genie will read a sentence with a picture and your child is required to identify which word describes the picture.
Level 2: Fill the blank with the correct letters to complete the word.
Level 3: The genie will read the sentence and ask your child a question about the sentence. Your child will have to find the answer from one of the cloud bubbles. This puzzle tests your child’s understanding of the sentence. In the example above, the question was “what climbs to the top of the mountain?”
Level 4: The genie reads the sentence and mispronounces one of the words. Your child is required to select the word that has been pronounced incorrectly.
Puzzle 3: Help Goofy get the armour ready for the guards.
Level 1: Goofy will tell your child to count the number of words on each shield that begin with a certain letter and hang that shield under the correct number. For example, how many words begin with the letter “t”. The first shield has four words therefore it needs to be hung under the number four.
Level 2: Your child is required to count the number of sounds in each word and place the sword under the correct number. For example, the word “fun” has three sounds – “f”, “un”, and “n”. Basically you have to read each word as if you were trying to use phonics to teach you how to pronounce it correctly – kind of what they used to do in Sesame Street when they were introducing new words to the children.
Level 3: Your child needs to find the number of words on a shield that ends with the same sound that Goofy provides and place the shield under the correct number.
Level 4: Same as level 3 but slightly more complex.
Puzzle 4: Help Donald learn to read.
Level 1: Daisy will say a word out loud and your child has to identify which word was spoken.
Level 2: Your child has to identify the two words that are homophones.
Level 3: Daisy reads a sentence and your child has to select the word that fits into the blank.
Level 4: Your child has to identify which words have the same vowel sounds and place them under the correct word. For instance, “gold” and “rope” have the same “o” sound; and “cross” and “stop” have the same “o” sound.
Puzzle 5: Help Pete with some stone work.
Level 1: Place the picture that represents the word in the blank square.
Level 2: Find the letters that complete the word describing the picture.
Level 3: Find the letters that go together to spell the word represented by the picture.
Level 4: Find the letter that will correct the spelling error.
Puzzle 6: Help Minnie find her music notes.
Level 1: Click on the pictures of the words that rhyme. In this example “plane” and “chain” rhyme.
Level 2: Just like level one except the pictures are replaced with written words.
Level 3: Your child has to find the word that rhymes with the sound that Minnie tells him.
Level 4: Your child has to find the letter that will change the word into the word that Minnie tells him.
Once your child has completed all the puzzles, Mickey will gain each of the magical items back. So far, Gavin’s only got one item back.
I started playing the game with Gavin to help him out a little. Now he’s playing on his own with some help from me. This game is a great way to fulfill the Glenn Doman rule of “not testing” your child to see what he knows. The game is an educational way to entertain your child and it will allow you to discover all the things you never knew your child already knows. This game was how I knew Gavin could read and spell certain words.
My parents mentioned that there were other Disney Interactive CD ROM Games available in Singapore. I also searched online at Amazon and found the Preschool Bundle and the Kindergarten Bundle (which includes Phonics Quest). Since Gavin enjoys Disney so much, I’ve been really tempted to get those, too.
Have you seen any other CD ROM games for young children that you recommend? What are they? Where did you get them from?