Nick Jr. Plays Math!
The packaging for Nick Jr. Plays Math! (Viacom New Media – ages 3-6) advertises 25 activities, which is somewhat misleading; we counted 13, while the remainder are suggested activities to do away from the computer. Despite this, the program is a decent addition to your kids’ CD-ROM library, full of introductory math-related activities for the early learner. Most of the games are interesting, and a few are genuinely innovative: “strange pet making” and “flower making” come to mind. A helpful parental progress report gives specific comments like “is developing the skill” or “has demonstrated the skill.” Drawbacks include an irritating, over-loud soundtrack (which can be turned off but not adjusted from within the program), and the occasional activity that seems to reward losers more than winners. For example, dividing blocks into equal amounts in “Mover” has much funnier graphics rewarding failure than success. One young reviewer persisted in doing the exercise wrong just so he could watch the animation. His parents got a report warning that he “may require adult attention.” Skill levels are sometimes adjustable but, even on the “difficult” level, the games could usually be handled by kids younger than the recommended age spread.
– August 1996