A To Zap

A To Zap PC MAC CD preschool learn letters numbers alphabet instruments Ages 3-6 






"A to Zap! " is not just another alphabet software program for kids. There are 26 different and highly creative learning activities for preschool kids (ages 3-6) to play with. Exciting new concepts are just a mouse-click away in this magical world of alphabet blocks and the "Sunbuddies", a bunch of zany cartoon characters. This CD-ROM (Win/Mac) runs so smoothly that even young children can operate it independently, without the help of an adult. It's obvious that Sunburst Communications is no newcomer to the K-12 educational software world (they've been involved in educational software since 1982), although this is their debut product in the home market.

An outstanding mix of audio adds to the crisp, letter-perfect narration by kids. Click a letter of the alphabet for precise pronounciation and spelling of preschool words. In the Alphabet Room, click on a letter, and a word starting with that letter is spelled, letter by letter, on a toybox. A toy will pop out of the toybox and by clicking the toy, it opens up a fascinating activity for that letter. Click on the broom, and kids can clean up the screen. When clicking the camera, kids can take a picture of the screen and save and open pictures in other applications. There are other options to change the letters to uppercase or lowercase, hide the camera, add more spelling words, and adjusting the volume.

My favorite activity was the M for Music section. Turn on the colorful jukebox and play six different songs: ABC, classical, country, rock, nursery rhyme and march. There are a variety of instruments kids can experiment with (piano, harmonica, guitar, trumpet, and violin, to name a few), or they can hear songs played by a bird, car or dog. Each letter in the alphabet also has a note tool, which will sing the melody using the letter name in place of words. A boffo feature was the ability to change instruments in the middle of a song.

Timmy, age 4, and I enjoyed the P for Paint activity as we swirled our virtual paintbrushes in buckets of marvelously brilliant paint cans. As we picked a color by clicking the brush on a can of paint, the paint name is pronounced and the paint on the brush shows the new color. We painted each letter by clicking the letter with the brush. One of the benefits of virtual painting is there's nothing to clean up afterwards.

The V for Vacuum activity was hilarious. We could remove letters from the alphabet board by vacuuming them up. The letter appears under the blocks and when you move the cursor over the letter, the letter cries out, "Help! Put me back! " Of course, we moved the letter back to its home by clicking on it and dragging it to its original position. It was also loads of fun for Tim to click the vacuum cleaner on and off. If he would only vacuum the floors in our house! Don't miss the A is for Airplane activity where you can watch virtual planes zoom above an alphabet. By clicking any letter, the planes write the letters in the sky. First, a large airplane draws the letter in uppercase, then a smaller plane draws the lowercase letter.

I kept hearing a high-pitched voice cry, "Mommy, mommy" and thought I was hearing things. If you're a mom, you've certainly had the experience when a kid cries "Mommy", that you instantly think its your child. Well, I had to try out this activity. Five mother birds are nesting in a tree. When you click a bird, she flies off her egg. Click the egg to watch a chick hatch and cry out for its mommy!!! I was a little relieved! Then, you try to match the chick with its mother. When you click from a chick to the right mommy, the mother flies back to the nest.

Timmy enjoyed the race track game in the C is for Car activity. Cars race along four roadways. The fun part for the kids is moving four track pieces by clicking and dragging the mouse: a U-turn, a loop-the-loop, a jump ramp and a color-changing tunnel. Clicking on the traffic light to make traffic stop and go was a thumbs up adventure for Timmy.

Don't forget the N is for Numbers activity. Kids can play with a screen full of numbers, chalk boards and a play area. This is a virtual preschool with fun zapping sounds and zany animated characters like dogs, elephants, rabbits and turtles. Of course, we liked the matching game called Y is for Yummy. The object of the game is to match identical letters with treats. After all treats are matched, wacky green monsters try to eat them. We used the wild lightning bolts to zap the monsters and Tim giggled throught the whole zapping adventure. There are a gazillion reasons to like "A to Zap! ". Two thumbs up for interactive software like this one, which is loaded with activities to make learning letters, numbers and words a fun-filled adventure for preschool kids.

For Windows (32-bit Systems) / Mac (Power Macintosh: OS 9 or Below) [*Please review compatibility/platform sections in 'What You Get']


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