When my daughter was around 3 or 4, we would bring Nick Jr. up on the computer for her to play. She would like watching but couldn’t interact that much. When she was about 5 years old, she could click around herself but easily got bored and then we would manually bring up another page like Barbie. She always needed help and couldn’t navigate at all herself. Later, she began learning how to use the address bar herself to type in Polly Pockets, then came Webkinz. What did all this mean? It was tough finding games for her to enjoy online and where we could leave the room and not worry or have to help her every 2 seconds.
Introducing Zoodles! Based on the same concept, the creators found there was a need to create a safe environment for children to learn and play online. They created a dedicated browser that pulls the best fun and educational games from sites such as National Geographic Kids, PBS Kids, Playhouse Disney and more. Then, based on the age of your child, the games are then filtered to match their skill and interest level. If they are a bit young, there is also a feature where parents can play along and help their children get accustomed to using a mouse. Best of all, they can not click out of the browser to a ‘dangerous’ site.
How much is it? FREE!
Just install Adobe AIR (prompted) and the Zoodles browser. Input your children’s names and ages and you’re good to go. The browser is separate from Windows Explorer, Mozilla FireFox, and Google Chrome. This makes it load quickly and will not overheat your hard drive.
If you would like to be more involved in their use of this browser, membership provides several tools for parents to take advantage of. You receive a free trial of 14 days when you sign up but are not obligated to continue it. The extra features include email updates on what they learned, block content or ads, a play timer, and the ability to add sites/games. As you can see, my daughter hates math so I’ll have to ‘promote’ more math games for her.
A side-by-side comparison of free versus membership accounts can be seen here. When your trial ends your child(ren) can still continue playing Zoodles for free, minus the extra parental controls.
Another thing I like is the ‘community’ feeling that Zoodles.com creates. There is a forum in which you can ask questions, get updates, and talk to other parents. Zoodles is also active in communicating with their fans via their Twitter and Facebook accounts. Periodically guest bloggers will contribute wonderful tips and advice for parents.
Zoodles is geared to children from ages 2-8. I wish such a program was available when my daughter was younger. We had to find all these sites manually and, even then, we only knew of a few of the ones available. So try it for free and join the other 1,000 plus who are discovering the benefits of this great product.
► Giveaway closed, winners announced here!
THREE of my readers will win a 3-month membership to Zoodles which includes extensive parental controls such as customizable content blocking and timers.
To enter (mandatory):
Visit Zoodles and tell me what feature you like best.
For additional entries leave a comment for each you do:
- Subscribe via email, 3 entries (in middle column)
- “Like” Zoodles on Facebook and tell them Cookies & Clogs sent you!
- “Like” Cookies & Clogs on Facebook
- Follow Cookies & Clogs on Twitter
- Follow Zoodles on Twitter
- Tweet the following once a day:
THREE readers will win a 3-month membership to Zoodles @cookiesandclogs @zoodles Ends 8/1 #win #giveaway http://bit.ly/9gISHa
- Follow me on Google Friend Connect
- Follow my blog on Networked Blogs
- Blog about this and link back to me, 5 entries
- Add my button to your site and tell me where to find it
Giveaway ends 8/1/10 at 11:59 PST. Open to US residents only. Winners have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.
Disclosure: I was provided with a Zoodles membership at no cost in order to test the product. The review presented here is 100% my honest opinion.