Parental hits

Junior Summer Mind Academy

Junior Summer Mind Academy

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"Times change and we change with them" this Ovid's sentence is also reflected in the 21st century. We had to live in times when we can gain knowledge not only from books. The era of computers and various types of multimedia that help in learning has arrived. Not only adults can use the latest multimedia forms. For children, we also have a whole range of programs and games that aim to teach. The JUNIOR Summer Academy of Mind is such a program. This is an offer that I had the pleasure to test. I rated it not only me, but also my daughter and her friends. For the first time I am writing a review of a computer program, so I thought that in order for it to be reliable, I need the help of children. I decided that not only Maja, my daughter, but also three other children, would be my little assistants. I will present the results of our work to you, my dear parents, in the following way: my little helpers think about the game.

Let me start with the fact that, as an adult, I was "hooked" to various tasks presented in the game. Some games were trivially easy, but there were also some that I had to think a bit about. I will immediately note that the opinion of an adult may be slightly different than that of a child. It turns out that what I didn't like didn't bother the children at all. However, in most situations, the children showed me what might be interesting or completely unnecessary.
To start with, what you need to mention: graphics. Warm, pleasant colors that have been well chosen. Pictures, animals, butterflies are all very nicely designed. However, in one of the games, sometimes it was difficult for children to decipher the sports field. The field had to be guessed by the outfit the athlete was wearing. The outfits were not well mapped.

On the second place: subject. We already know her in the subject: summer. The holidays are coming, so we have to choose the games: "Mosquitos", "Ice cream", "Butterflies", "Harvest", "Flowers" etc. Football emotions are also ahead of us in June. Our program also included green turf. By the way, flags of different countries were used, which were placed in one of the games. The upcoming London Olympics have not been missed either.

I liked both the children and myself the ability to choose participants e.g. I could have been a pig, mouse, cow, lion, bunny, etc.

In third place: sound effects for some they can be an asset, for others a disadvantage. Academy of Mind offers us many sounds, music, background, effects. The kids liked them all. I liked the option that they can be turned down.
The fourth undoubted advantage is that the game is consistent in expression. The program has a guide. Her name is Tabi. Is a "speaking board". Tabi explains the tasks, gives instructions, encourages, motivates, and also informs us that we performed the exercise incorrectly. The vocabulary was chosen according to the age of the children, it's pleasant. The messages are clear. I also liked the tone of voice in which Tabi explained the tasks. However, I noticed that the children do not pay attention to what Tabi explains to them, many times they asked me to explain what to do. Perhaps unnecessarily our "helper" explains to children what they will learn at the moment. For example, one of the commands: "Stacked with flag blocks. Pair the flags until the stack disappears. This task stimulates concentration and trains perceptiveness. " Children usually did not listen to the last sentence, because they were focused only on what they are about to see. We have made it easy for the forgetful. Because if someone forgets what a game requires, they can quickly find out what it is all about, just click Tabi.

After each well-done task, Tabi motivates to continue playing. We can also see the degree of difficulty we managed to climb. This option turns on automatically. However, the downside is that after jumping to the game window again, we must click the button to be able to play the next step.

I really enjoyed that Several people can play this game and each of them has their work results saved. Eg Maja was a mouse, I was a pig. Thanks to this option we could compare our achievements.

Another advantage is well-chosen age range, i.e. 5 - 9 yearswhich I think was well chosen. The program offers games for children who cannot read yet and for those who read. There are many games that even five-year-olds did not cause difficulties. However, we do not think that they are all simple. The level of difficulty varies with the degree of children's skills. So, the bar sets the children themselves. The game trains perceptiveness, the ability to remember information. Improves spatial orientation, allows you to think logically. I train my memory. In a word, we train the brain with good safe play.

Our common mission was to learn about games. What surprised me the most was the way children approached the exercises and played games.

Older children Wiktoria (7 years old) and Nader (8 years old) were solving tasks based on instructions and what they could read. The younger Maja (5 years old) and Kamil (5 years old), who know the letters but are unable to read yet, focused more on the game and fun than what is worth reading. Here are the reflections of children:

I: Wiktoria, did you like the game?
Wiki: Yes! Very! (full of enthusiasm)
I: And what did you like the most about the game?
Wiki: That she was cartoon and heard different voices. I played different games, they were interesting.
I: Which game did you like the most?
Wiki: I liked the game "Butterflies" the most. I didn't know that butterflies have such funny names! (laughs) Playing Ice Cream was also fun - you can have the same fun as in a shop or even in a cafe.
I: Which game caused you the most difficulties?
Wiki: The one in which you had to add and subtract hours. ("Clocks" we set the exact time in various cities around the world, the starting point is Warsaw - editor's note)

Conversation with Nader (8 years old)
I: Nader, which game interested you the most?
Extremely: The one where you can chase away the mosquito. (We repel mosquitoes using a spray - mosquito note.) However, I didn't manage to do all of them. Sometimes they ran away and bit. Good that it was just a game. Because I would be bitten. And you know that in this game "Bonfire" I wanted to throw the guitar to the fire, but it did not succeed?
I: (smile) Which game was the most difficult for you?
Extremely: Same as Wiki and with a suitcase and secret code. ("Suitcase")
Extremely: And you know I prefer to play football really. Somehow, the goal is scored differently here.

Interview with Kamil:
I: Kamilek, what did you like?
Kamil: I liked the maze. He was easy.
I: And something else?
Kamil: That the music plays in the game and sometimes we hear strange funny noises.
I: Which game caused you the most difficulties?
Kamil: There were several. The one with the maps, the suitcase and the ice cream one was for girls. I didn't want to play it.

Interview with Maja:
I: May, which game do you like the most?
May: The one with the constellations. There are so many stars in the sky and they have names e.g. a small lion and he does not look like a lion at all!
I: Any other one?
May: The ice cream shop where ice cream is sold. Someone is ordering and he must make the same ice. And I succeeded, Tabi said, "Gosh!"
I: Maju, did you still like the game?
May: The fact that you have to do various exercises so that you do not sit in front of the computer for too long.
I: Which game caused you the most difficulties?
May: The one with the mosquitoes ...

I decided that these fragments of conversations with children would be the most interesting. We had many nice and funny situations that are impossible to cite. I am happy because children could play in an interesting way, and at the same time learn and develop. My little assistants didn't complain either, when Tabi told them to do the exercises. They were eager for the tasks that our guide to the world of the Academy of Mind offered them.

If I said that playing for me as an adult was difficult, then I would miss the truth. However, I have a comparison with other children's games and to be honest, this program is actually created to train our gray cells. And by the way I will add that this game in "Mosquitos" probably really was the most difficult ...