Thursday, November 18, 2010

Maggie Ant is a SmartyAnt

This is a sponsored review from BlogHer and SmartyAnts.

Do y'all remember when everyone got their BIG HUGE Apple II computers with the black and green screen where you had to move the cursors on your keyboards up and down to get out of a maze?

Computer learning games have come a long way, baby. Especially this new one called SmartyAnts.

First off, it comes with a puppy, y'all. A talking, singing, moving, story telling puppy who can read.

And this special puppy, named Winston after my father-in-law, can be plugged into your computer with a little USB cord and in a flash learn even more phonics songs than he came with.

The neato-ness carries over to the website. When you buy your kids their own personal Winston, you also get a one-month membership to the SmartyAnts Web site, an innovative site that includes a vast variety of stories and games to help children ages four to seven develop reading skills.

The membership is good for only one child, and because four year old Maggie is not reading yet, I decided that this would be her program.

Eva Rose is STILL whining over that one, by the way.

When first downloading the program, you must sit with your chosen child while the program assesses his or her reading level. Warning: You must not go and start making dinner, leaving your chosen child with your child's big sister and big brother who will then hijack your child's new SmartyAnts and take it up to lesson 38.

If you do that, you will have to go online and ask the very nice Live Chat people at Smarty Ants to reset your Maggie-Ant back to the assessment level. They will do so quite sweetly, but save yourself some trouble and don't go make dinner.

Once you're back to the beginning, the password protected SmartyAnts site is designed to let kids play independently and learn at their own pace. The SmartyAnts online world includes a wide selection of reading games and activities, more than 60 stories, over 300 sing-a-long songs, and 125 learning videos that provide phonics, letter-recognition, and word-building skills.

The program had Maggie play a very cute game with her ant diving in a swimming pool onto the letter or letter sound it asked for. Once it established that she knew her letter sounds, it started with three letter words. When established she had not mastered that, voila, that's the concept the program will start with.

Maggie loves this. The games are fun and perfectly age appropriate for her, and she loves that the characters actually call her by her name, which I've never seen another program do. She is asking to play it all day long and she blew her 16 coins with one trip to the doggy boutique. We'll work on the concept of savings later, but I can't wait to see how this helps her reading!

To learn more about SmartyAnts, visit their website. You can also purchase the Phonic Pup and a subscription at

Now, do you want to win a SmartyAnts Phonics Learning Pup, a one year subscription to the SmartyAnts website, AND a $100 VISA gift card? Here's how:

For one entry, do one of the following:

a)  Leave me a comment below telling me your favorite children's books

b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

One comment per person. Duplicate comments will be deleted.

For the second entry, follow this link and provide your email address and your response to the sweepstakes prompt.

Sweepstakes ends at 5 PM PST on December 17, 2010. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here.