For those geeks out there with small children, there is now a computer game that is a perfect learning tool for the youngsters. Jump Start World is an educational game that starts with Kindergarten and goes up to Second Grade. Since my daughter will be going into kindergarten in the fall, I'll be talking about that particular version of it. The game encompasses 12 "Adventure Packs" with the first two packs included in the purchase of the game. (The additional packs are purchased at $8 each. Your credit card will automatically be charged each time your child finished a pack.) As your child progresses through the game, his/her status is updated via the internet to a parental tool. Now, the child is not actually playing on the internet so there are no worries that something bad will get downloaded.
When you click on the Parental Tool icon, which is separate from the game icon, you'll get a variety of options. From something as mundane as picking which holidays the game characters celebrate to the terrific page that tracks how your child does on each activity. For that part, you'll get to choose which pack you want to check on. Then you will get a list of what activities are contained in that pack, such as counting from 1 to 10 or matching lowercase letters with the uppercase letter, and a percentage on how well the child did in that area. It's a wonderful feeling to see the 100% pop up everywhere. It also lets you know which areas your child needs to work on so you can help them offline if necessary.
My daughter truly loves this game. Almost every night she asks me if she can play it and I have no problems letting her play it for a little while each night. And she knows that she can tell me when she's having a problem with a particular area so I can help her work on it. While this shouldn't replace a formal education of some sort, it is a great addition to help reinforce concepts. I would recommend it to anyone with small children and a computer.