capsule review

Blue Takes You To School

Blue’s Clues may be waning in popularity, but the Nick Jr. animated series still has plenty to offer young learners. In MacSoft’s friendly and low-key Blues Takes You To School, young players (ages 3 to 6) help Blue and her friend Joe discover neat things about the world around them.

The game is set in Miss Marigold’s classroom as characters participate in a variety of activities. In Music Time, for example, you have to match rhythms played by Blue and her friends. In Art Time you get to make works of art that can be shared with friends. You can play with virtual stickers, a coloring book, and a variety of colors, brushes, and other tools, including a spray can and eraser. Once you’re done, you can print your masterpieces.

Class Pet Playtime lets you feed and care for Giggles, the class pet—an adorable bunny in a cage. Water Table Time, on the other hand, gives you the chance to play with toy motor boats (you direct a boat around obstacles by setting up angled blocks). In the Nature Discovery Garden, you’ll join Miss Marigold and Magenta as they collect photographs of bugs, plants, minerals and other natural objects. Miss Marigold offers fun facts along the way—for example, the snail is a close relative of oysters and clams.

Up to three players can join in the fun. Each is assigned a cubby with his or her name and a picture. This is where players will find pictures they’ve created on the painting easel. Players can send pictures to other characters in the game by clicking and dragging on the characters’ photos. The recipients (Joe, Blue, and the gang) will even send back pictures of their own.

Like the TV show, Blue Takes You To School is designed for kids who are right on the cusp of going to school. Players older than age 6 will probably find this stuff too “babyish.” The game includes three levels of difficulty. So if your young player seems bored with the tasks at hand, you can ramp them up to medium or difficult settings.

The game offers lots of support for parents, too. A printed manual includes descriptions of each activity and their educational value (feeding Giggles, for example, emphasizes “pro social behavior,” while helping out at the water table teaches logic skills). The game also includes activity ideas for extending the learning while away from the Mac.

The bottom line

Blue Takes You To School is a benign, familiar, and charming way for the youngest Mac users to develop critical skills while having fun.

Blue Takes You To School
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