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spacer all reviews > > > problem solving software

Thinkin’ Things: Toony the Loon’s Lagoon


Ages 4 to 8

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

Thinkin’ Things: Toony the Loon’s Lagoon Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

This problem-solving software stresses the development of thinking skills as essential building blocks for the development of more specific classroom-oriented expertise. Although it includes some directed tasks, it mainly consists of open-ended exploration activities. Six locations within Toony’s lagoon feature interactive activities that invite creativity, imagination and strategic thinking.

Three of the six activities offer two modes of play, an exploration mode, and a Q&A mode in which the child must attempt to correctly complete a task. Multi-levels of play exist for each of these activities. The program is self-adjusting, monitoring the child’s progress and varying the difficulty level accordingly, however the difficulty level can also be manually adjusted.

Educational Value
Among the learning opportunities provided by Toony the Loon’s Lagoon are auditory and visual memory exercises, as students listen to musicians and then attempt to replicate their compositions. Kids strengthen observation, and compare and contrast skills when they use attribute guidelines to choose appropriate Fripple Guides, and develop critical thinking while learning about patterns and analogies when they create Feathered Friends. Finally, two ‘BLOX’ activities allow kids to experiment with motion and sound as they create 3D environments by dragging shapes onto a background and then setting them in motion.

Kid Appeal
Our kid testers enjoyed the exploration aspect of this program. They never felt anxiety about completing tasks, and were, therefore, content to explore at their leisure.

The favorite activity of all SuperKids’ testers was the ‘BLOX-Flying Shapes’. In this activity, kids choose from a variety of shapes in a variety of colors and drag them onto a rectangular canvas. Each shapes is set in motion: spinning, or ricocheting vertically, horizontally and diagonally within the canvas frame. A different sound is made by each of the shapes. Once the canvas is filled to the child’s satisfaction, s/he can change the overall motion of the shapes using a variety of motion tools. Each shape’s sound can also be customized (this requires a microphone) and the result is a delightful, and often hilarious, cacophony of motion, color and sound. “I love designing shows with the BLOX,” enthused one young tester. Parents noted that, although this was at first a difficult task for younger users, with experience and encouragement even they enjoyed creating their own ‘moving art’.

Ease of Use / Install
This program installs without difficulty. It requires DirectX 6.0, which can also be installed from the CD-ROM.

Program navigation is simple, kids choose the activity they wish to access, and double click. For the most part activities are immediately understandable, and since exploration is one of the goals of the program, a little trial and error is not only permissible, it is encouraged.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
This program works best for kids who like to create, and don’t feel helpless when presented with the tools and opportunity to experiment and explore.

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

System Requirements
PC: Windows 95/98 or later, Pentium or faster cpu, 12 MB free hard drive space, 16 MB RAM, 640x480, thousands of colors display, Double-speed or faster CD-ROM, Windows-compatible sound card.

Mac: System 7.1.2 or higher, Power PC or faster cpu, 16 MB RAM, 7000K unused, 640x480, thousands of colors display, Double-speed or faster CD-ROM.

Reviewed on:

  • PowerMac 6400/200 with 32MB and 8XCD
  • Pentium166 with 48MB and 12XCD
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