• meow, math: leapfrog hello kitty sweet little shops

    One more week of summer vacation, so naturally it was time to bite the bullet and take the kids backpack shopping. Amazingly, it was relatively painless; my 9-year-old grabbed the first blue bag she spotted, and my 5-year-old made a beeline for Hello Kitty. Not a big surprise there; all things kitty continue to reign supreme in this kingdom. So naturally, when we got wind of the new Hello Kitty Sweet Little Shops game for the Leapster Explorer, I knew she’d be in heaven. Designed for ages 4-7, this game teaches kids all types of basic (and not-so-basic) math, including how to estimate, recognizing numbers and shapes and even how to read a bar graph (wow, already?). Of course, the learning is cleverly disguised within the confines of a bake shop and grocery store, stocked with tons of treats and of course, Hello Kitty and friends. What I liked about this game was its ability to challenge my kindergartner without making her feel bad if she didn’t get the answer right on the first try. The beauty of that lies in a special auto-level technology that “remembers” how well she scored on a previous game, and then helps her move up to the next step once she’s mastered a skill. For instance, when my daughter had to drag certain shaped pieces of cheese on to the corresponding conveyor belt, she needed to be able to distinguish one shape from another and move quickly before the cheese hit the floor (hand-eye coordination is key here). Chart-reading involves everything from simple counting (how many blue flowers are there?), to basic addition (how much is 2 yellow flowers + 2 yellow flowers?). Not so easy when you’ve just learned to write your name. My daughter’s favorite part? Adding virtual stickers to a picture frame showcasing none other than herself. This makes for one satisfied little kitty. Purr, purr…

    In a Nutshell: Math and munchies go hand in hand in this latest game for Leapster Explorer. Hello Kitty fans will find great opportunities for counting and more in this virtual eatery of sweet treats.


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