Monday, 28 October 2013

Website Review :

Uptoten is an elementary learning website with a delightful mix of games, activities, songs for children aged up to 10.

The website which is primarily bilingual – English and French – has an interesting history. It was started in 1997 by an Anglo-French couple – Veronique and Jason Barnard. Their initial idea was to create a CD-book for their little daughter, using their respective skills as musician and graphic designer. However, since they had no luck with any publisher seeing potential in this, they resorted to go online.

Each activity on the site is centered around two central characters – Boowa and Kwala. Boowa (the dog) is like the older friend, teacher or older brother and Kwala (the koala) is like the child. While Boowa demonstrates patience and understanding in his demeanor, Kwala is inquisitive, lovable and annoying at times. The relationship between the two is depicted very well throughout with Kwala trying her best in various situations and Boowa supporting and encouraging her. In fact, in its early days the website was called and here in the Presentations section, you can get acquainted with these fun characters , see their family photo albums, do a puzzle etc.

The site contains overall more than 1400 fun and educational bilingual activities to try out. The website is divided into three main sections- UptoTenFree, UptoTen Premium and UptoTen at school. The Free section has section for Coloring, games for 6-10 year olds and Boowa and Kwala section for 0 to 6 year olds. The website grows on you and kids are enthralled to try out activities accompanied with the sing-song and accented English of their online friends Boowa and Kwala. In the games section here there are some 800 games in 24 categories like puzzles, musical games, shapes, jigsaws, mazes, with levels of difficulty. You have the option to sort games based on popularity as well as the date. The songs section has some 98 songs to choose from and the mix is varied and creative in terms of themes and variations.
Around the world is another interesting section with stories having an audio narration of short sentences per page and being divided into chapters. The focus is to educate and expand the awareness levels of children with new words, concepts, etc. They also have a toy store on the site. Another unique section is ‘Galleries’ which allows users to upload their photos, videos and drawings.

The Premium section with a subscription of € 45 per annum has 2 times more games and activities. Not only that it has a set of 25 lessons for early learners using the learning software ‘My First Clicks ™’ on specific topics. There are 9000 schools in the US which use this software. Additionally it offers interactive audio-visual programs with the series ‘The Adventures of Boowa & Kwala’ comprising of 52 modules. The best part is it offers a 2-week free trial for you to decide.
The school section is free for schools and institutions and offers the same content as the Premium section. There is also an Uptoten Parents section on the site which allows parents for a more interactive and participative connection with the site and its features and allows protection of private data. The site has received very positive feedback from schools, users. I love the variety of interactive games it offers, and the animation which is outstanding. The site is very popular bi-lingual site with all of its 1000 plus activities and games designed in-house. It has Iphone and Ipad applications as well. Though the free section does not have content structured for organised learning purposes, the activities and games are very interactive and engaging. Do check this site out.

I haven't tried this site yet for Medha as I don't encourage online or mobile games or activities for kids.  But if you are not like me,  do check this site for sure. Looks interesting!!

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