As a very long time Mac user I’m particular about the care I give a Mac. No scratches, dings, dents, scrapes, and definitely no peanut butter and jelly on the keyboard.
I have three children, all pre-kindergarten age. They love mommy’s Mac. And they love peanut butter and jelly. And Jell-o. And graham crackers. So, what’s the best way to teach children how to use a Mac? Start with the mouse (because keeping them away from the keyboard is priceless).
KidsMouse is one of those little Mac applications that does more than the sum of its parts. It shows kids how to use a Mac, just like mommy or daddy, but without getting sticky little fingers all over the keyboard.
It’s mouse only for my curtain climbing rug rats and that’s exactly what KidsMouse is, a collection of 16 learning games for kids that use only the Mac’s mouse.
That means you can start your child’s education process with an addictive and expensive piece of highly prized equipment which teaches them spacial recognition, colors, shapes, the clock, animals, and many others.
If you’ve ever been to an Apple Store then you know how the glitter and glam of a Mac plays on the minds of our offspring. Every Apple Store seems to have half a dozen iMacs set up just for the kids; loaded with kids games and puzzles.
The benefit of Apple’s kindness is not lost on me. I know why they allow the Mac to become a 30-minute babysitter. They want mommy and daddy free so they can buy more Mac stuff, iPod stuff, iPhone stuff.
Fair enough. I’m willing to fork over some hard earned cash for $39 iPhone cover that does the same thing as my $2.99 eye glasses holder from the drug store—so long as my kids, all three of them, are in great hands—some poor Apple Associate who couldn’t make Genius and got relegated to cleaning iMac screens after a toddler tantrum.
The key to KidsRoom is simplicity. It’s mouse only. The ABC puzzle, a few years above the infant level, teaches the alphabet. The younger crowd will go for Space Recognition to drag and drop shapes that match.
Of course, there’s a Paint option, colored balls that drag and drop and teach colors, a Crayon tool that lets little ones draw pictures on screen of mommy freaking out when she finds the goldfish bowl empty and the goldfish safely tucked between two pieces of bread.
There are puzzles, too. Shapes to match. Numbers to be divided. For slightly older ones there a World Map Puzzle and a USA State Puzzle. The onscreen Clock can show big hand, little hand, numbers and the relationship between each, all drag and drop.
Yes, for the goldfish bowl that never was, there’s Fish, an aquarium-like game with drag and drop. And that’s the point. It’s drag and drop. All mouse, no keyboard.
Our family has an aging white plastic MacBook which serves as the family Mac. Our three youngsters take turns using the mouse and KidsMouse and I keep a plastic mat over the keyboard. Clean underneath, sticky on top.
If you have kids, and you prize your Mac, KidsMouse is ideal since it keeps them away from the keyboard (unplug it) and any old cheap mouse will do (yes, I found out the hard way that Apple’s Mighty Mouse is not so might after all).