Creative software for the preschool set-- Buddy
by Alan Zisman
(c) 1999. First
published in Vancouver Computes
Buddy Brush and the Painted Playhouse
Ideas That Play, Inc.
for Windows 95/98 or Mac computers
Once your child starts school, there?s a lot of
software aimed at her
or him?games and education, or the awkwardly-named combination of the
?edutainment?. But until then, parents of young children are trapped in
a software wasteland.
Vancouver?s Ideas That Play, Inc. is hoping to change
all that. With
help from Telefilm Canada and BC Tel?s New Media Fund, they?ve released
what they hope will be the first of a series of titles for the 2-5 year
old set: Buddy Brush and the Painted Playhouse.
With big bright graphics, lots of music, and not a
word or menu in sight,
it?s well designed to be used by pre-readers, who often have a somewhat
shaky grip on the mouse. And the music and little animated bits combine
to keep children?s interest high. The program can be used by a young
whether or not a parent or older sibling is around.
The program itself is basically pretty simple?as it
should be for its
target audience. There is a colour mixing activity where, just as in
real world, yellow and red makes orange, but unlike reality, blue and
makes polka dots. And unlike the real world, there?s no cleanup
A series of colouring book pages, where the more colours chosen results
in more interesting music. Finally, there?s a collection of 30
puzzles?pick an instrument, click a scene, and try to make the picture
come alive. It will take some exploring, however, for your child to
all the puzzles?some children may lose patience before finding them
The program?s sturdy packaging doubles as an carrying
with handle. Inside, along with the program CD, is a real 32 page
book, with the same scenes as in the program, and a set of eight
frames in primary colours?the better to save your child?s masterpieces.
(You can?t print out her or his paintings directly from the
have to track them down on your hard disk and print them out in a real
The 30 minutes of original music on the CD can be
played on your home
stereo?just be sure to skip the computer code on Track 1. The disk can
run on both Windows 95/98 and Mac systems.
Buddy Brush should be a hit with any preschool