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How often have you ‘signed up’ for something in order to get MyPoints, iPoints, WebRewards, Beenz, Trocas etc etc and then once you’ve collected you’ve never looked at the product again!
Well a couple of months ago I logged into iPoints and looked at what was on offer in the Earn category and there under the business and education category was an offer of 10 points for acquiring a trial CD for a new childrens internet magazine.
If I liked what I saw then I could get 25 points for subscribing to the monthly magazine. Quick access via the iPoints homepage is available by using the clicksearch – Brainworks facility, but be careful as you need to click on the right links to get your points.
If this seems a little off topic, I know and I am sorry but I like to explain how I come about the more unusual products for review.
Once entering the Brainworks website I was led straight to the registration page. The process was simple. Having read the introductory website via iPoints I then just completed my details. All that was needed was my name and email address together with my postal address.
Within 10 days of registering my interest, I received an introductory letter and CD from Brainworks. The introductory trial disc is sent with no obligation to subscribe and is worth £14.99 according to the company.
Web Land is an Internet Comic (oops old word!) Childrens Magazine and subscription is £14.99 for three issues, however the first three issues and the trial CD I refer to are free so that you can ensure that the product meets your childs needs.
There are two magazines available from Brainworks and both series are based on Web Land. The difference between the magazines is that one is for 3 to 5 year olds and is entitled ‘Lets Explore’ and the other called ‘Lets Learn’ covers ages 5 to 7.
On the first of the month the magazines are available for subscribers to download from the internet site, extra activities are available on Saturdays and these include puzzles and learning games.
To access Web Land you obviously need a PC and internet connection to be able to undertake the downloads together with an email address for correspondence.
The reason that I particularly encourage my niece to use this is because it will get her used to using a computer as well as being educational. As the magazines are downloaded onto your hard drive, you are not connected to the internet whilst your children browse the different areas of Web Land. This is just as well as there is plenty to see and do. Using the PC in this way is an advantage for me as when Connie is looking at her favourite places it normally takes ages and we are always connected (cost starts to become a factor then).
The trial disc states that each magazine takes about15 to 20 minutes a month to download using a 28.8 modem. Then there are extra activities to download on Saturday that do not take as long. Connie is aged three so the magazine that is applicable to her is described in the most detail below:
~ * Lets Explore * ~
Upon entering WebLand and meeting the hosts named Wak and Tak ( a bright blue character and another orange moustached person), the brightness of the arena hits you. You enter a magical looking glade in a forest with a running stream and the two hosts talk to you and encourage further discovery by clicking onto various areas in their world.
The voices are very clear and a fun atmosphere is projected. All over the welcome page are different picture s such as the stream, trees, Indians and animals. When the cursor is held over the pictures a gloved hand waggles at you indicating that this is a play area. The whole experience reminded me of an old playstation game called ‘Rayman’ or similar.
The areas for exploration are:
The Library is the house that is occupied by Zig the Squirrel. Here the downloaded updates are stored. Things such as new characters and back issues are available. This may be a little hard for a younger child to understand but is still a useful tool and acts as a normal file folder with icons for each month’s data.
The Song Tree fills up much of the welcome page and each month new songs are available from the download. Colourful characters appear that relate to the months songs. The words for the songs appear underneath. My niece loves this area the most and often has me entering and re-entering this zone.
At the top of the hill, children click on icons of other races such as Indians, Egyptians and Cavemen. Zak and Tak then teach them through colourful maps a little information about those people. At no point did I feel there was too much information and it held Connie’s attention at all times which was good. There are activities here such as word games, and if the answers are wrong the voice kindly says ‘no that’s not it, try again’ which was quite cute.
The book of knowledge is an area where children learn about the world and how certain things in it work. The trial disc uses the birth of a tree as an example and also mentions that future topics will be space exploration and how to make sugar. Once again our friendly hosts Zak and Tak explain all about the processes to us with the use of animated objects such as trees with faces. Clear and simple explanations are given and I think that a child would probably learn lots from this the more they replay the scene.
At the centre of the welcome page is an animal. On the trial disc it is a dolphin. Each month a new animal is downloaded and Zak and Tak take us through their photograph album that explains more about the animal of the month. This section didn’t hold Connie’s attention much as it was still pictures as opposed to movement that appears around the rest of the site (and she is only just three). This is probably an area that could be improved.
The enchanted pond is a zone where children can undertake more creative and interactive things such as singing and drawing. This are is great fun.
~ * Lets Learn * ~
Due to Connie’s age the area we explored most was the Let’s Explore zone but I couldn’t help but take a peep at the Lets Learn play area that is for older children. In this area the children have a welcome page hosted by Zak and Tak. Again the page is set in a glade of a forest with icons that select the different activities. The activities include going on an adventure with Zak. Later on there is a test of knowledge based around the antics that were undertaken by Zak whilst on this adventure. What seemed really good was that as children complete different tasks, they earn seeds which they then go and sow in the Wild Wood area. Here they have a section of forest that they cultivate over the weeks. As the area grows different animals are encouraged to come and live in the Wild Wood!
The scores below are based on the disc rather than the website as I have not yet had the opportunity of downloading the next set of magazines.
However this is a great trial offer CD, and if you collect iPoints and have children it will be an extra bonus for you! I am probably going to subscribe to this although it does seem a bit pricey. The winning combination of two great characters such as Zak and Tak and the colourful surroundings of Web World is great.
Fun to be had by children and adults alike in my opinion!
Brainworks Online Web Land Subscriptions, PO Box 300, Gosport, Hants PO13 0GS Telephone 08705 14 30 53.
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I really like the sound of this. I have a three year old grandson and three year old niece (my son started very early and my sister quite late so we have an interesting generation crossover!)I think I might get this for them. They love computers. Great op by the way. Kim
KarenUK 08.01.2002 00:25
I got the CD-Rom too, but our sound card isn't working, so we haven't had chance to try it out yet.