capsule review

Finding Nemo: Learning with Nemo

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As a parent, one of the things I most appreciate about Pixar’s movies is their staying power. Despite having sat through every Pixar movie at least dozens of times already, my kids still enjoy watching them. But one of their favorites is Finding Nemo. If you have preschoolers and kindergartners who feel the same way, Finding Nemo: Learning with Nemo, by Disney Interactive, may be just up their alley.

Learning with Nemo, which ships on hybrid CD-ROM for Windows and Mac, is an educational game for kids who haven’t yet learned to read and write, but who can wield a mouse. A series of different activities helps with pattern recognition, basic letter and number identification, counting skills, and simple math.

In the game, Nemo the clownfish and his pal Dory find themselves on an underwater scavenger hunt, looking for nine unique sea creatures to photograph. Along the way, they pick up periwinkle shells, a form of commerce that can be traded for stickers (images of sea life that young players can later place into a scene of their own creation). Periwinkle shells also serve as the reward for successfully completing an activity.

Pearl’s Garden Eel Bingo asks youngsters to count and match eel colors using a simple number grid. In Knock’em Down Nemo, on the other hand, players clear a path through a trench by listening to a letter of the alphabet, then knocking down a shell with the corresponding letter.

These are preschool and kindergarten-aged activities, to be sure, and they help reinforce important concepts. Progressive levels of difficulty help keep kids challenged, although the repetition might get frustrating for their parents.

Each screen features objects that kids can click on to see animations and other fun actions. The imagery is fun and colorful, though it lacks the sophisticated graphics of the movie. The game features the original voice of Nemo. However, most of the other characters are voiced by sound-alike actors.

The bottom line

Finding Nemo: Learning with Nemo offers enough activity to keep preschoolers and kindergartners busy for a while. However, older kids will quickly become bored.

Learning with Nemo
PROS: Age-appropriate activities reinforce important educational ideas.
CONS: Repetitive action; lacks the movie’s stunning visuals.
OS COMPATIBILITY: OS X 10.1 and higher
COMPANY: Disney Interactive

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