CBSN

Top-Rated Educational Software

As part of the 1999 Toy Test and in conjuction with FamilyPC magazine, CBS News Consumer Correspondent Herb Weisbaum reports the top-rated educational software.

These titles scored the highest in their category with FamilyPC magazine's 9,000 family testers across the country.

EARLY LEARNING:
Dr. Seuss Toddler $30
The Learning Company
(Win 95/98 and Mac)
18 months - 3 years

The Cat in the Hat invited toddlers to look for decorations so they can create their own special hat. Along the way, kids find out about shapes, colors, and letters in a variety of activities designed specifically for toddlers. At any point, the youngster can color in their hat, print it out
and with a little help from mom or dad, wear it.

MATH:
Blue's 123 Time Activities $20
Humongous Entertainment
(Win 95/98 and Mac)
3 - 6 years

This is a follow-up to the #1 selling children's educational CD-Rom in 1998 (Blue's ABC Time Activities). Now preschoolers can practice pre-math and problem-solving skills with Blue and her friends at the Backyard Fair. Multi-level activities help teach logical thinking and deductive reasoning skills.

Jump Start Math For Kindergartners $25
Knowledge Adventure
(Win 95/98 and Mac)
4 - 6 years

This title takes kids on a magical adventure in the clouds. The learning takes places as they prepare for Gunther the Giant's surprise birthday party. There are 11 activities in all with 3 levels of difficulty. They learn fundamental math concepts, such as: writing numbers, sorting, problem solving, counting, addition, subtraction, and measurement. A special tutor is there to help whenever your child is having difficulty.

PLAYSET:
QX3 Computer Microscope $99
Mattel Media
(Win 98)
Ages 6 & up

This is a real microscope that lets children magnify and display all sorts of small things and then play with those on-screen images in a variety of ways: enlarge them, add special colors and effects or make a time-laps movie. The QX3 connects to your computer via its USB port. It does come off its base, so kids can explore the world around them.

REFERENCE:
Encarta Reference Suite 2000 $100
Microsoft
(Win 95/98)
Ages 10 and up

Ideal for the entire family. You get an encyclopedia, virtual globe and dictionary -- all designed to let you switch between them seamlessly while searching for information.

Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe 2000: has text, pictures, video, audio and animation clips on more than 40,000 topics. A new feature is the Dynamic Timeline uses a visual time line to teach history.
Encarta World English Dictionary: the first new U.S. English language dictionary to be written in 30 years.

Encarta Interactive World Atlas: more detailed than any print atlas, it integrates maps, text and multi-media.