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spacer all reviews > > > preschool software

Maisy's Playhouse

Simon & Schuster Interactive

Ages 3 to 6

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Educational Value
4.0
Kid Appeal
3.5
Ease of Use
4.5

Maisy's Playhouse Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

This program introduces Maisy, the fanciful young mouse of book and television fame, who invites preschoolers to explore her humble little home. Three rooms, a bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, offer kids multiple opportunities for point and click surprises. Subsequent visits to the same room result in a different set of animated surprises. Seven available learning activities can be accessed from any of three rooms. Each activity involves children in a simple game or chore in concert with Maisy and her friends.

Preschoolers can choose to piece together broken cookies, play hide and seek, tidy the house, dress Maisy in weather appropriate garb, critique Maisy’s artwork, selectively load animals on a train, and paint according to precisely given directions. The program’s pace is slow and methodical, with simple graphics that resemble those of a young child.

Educational Value
Rather than focus on the letters, numbers and shapes, as many preschool programs do, Maisy’s Playhouse targets the preschooler’s social and developmental skills. Activities stress problem solving, critical thinking, following directions, object discrimination, identifying similar and dissimilar objects, colors, counting, and categorizing as well as mouse use. Because of the program’s evenly measured pace, users should be able to focus well and have good attention spans.

Kid Appeal
Although our kid testers were familiar with Maisy and quite anxious to experience the program, they quickly lost interest due to the slow pace of the program. This tendency was most pronounced with kids on the younger end of the age range. After a few attempts at each of the activities their eyes were scouring the room for more exciting playthings. Parent testers complained that the musical accompaniment was cloying, and the program lacking in vigor.

Ease of Use / Install
This program installs without a problem. Program navigation is simple, and is thoroughly explained by the narrator for each section of the program.

Maisy’s Playhouse does a commendable job of differentiating between mouse skills required at the various difficulty levels. Kids playing at Level 1, for example, achieve success by simply pointing and clicking on the appropriate graphic. As they progress, the more advanced techniques of clicking and dragging come into use. “My 3 year-old has a hard time coordinating her use of the mouse,” noted one mother, “Level 1 activities provided her with plenty of practice, but weren’t too frustrating.”
Best for... / Bottom-Line
This program is not one of the most exciting entries in the preschool category. It is not recommended for kids who need ‘in your face’ graphics and animation to maintain interest. Those who like Maisy’s character, and don’t mind the program’s slower pace, will, however, find that it is easy to use, provides excellent mouse practice, and includes entertaining activities and surprises.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other preschool software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and the Mac versions.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 95/98, Pentium 90 or faster cpu, 20 MB hard drive space, 16 MB RAM, 640x480 VGA display, Quad-speed or faster CD-ROM, 8-bit sound card.

Mac: Power PC or faster cpu, 20 MB hard drive space, 64 MB RAM, 13” color monitor, Quad-speed or faster CD-ROM .

Reviewed on:

  • PowerMac 6400/200 with 64MB and 8XCD
  • Pentium 266 with 64MB and 12XCD
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