GoGo Kabongo is an online site for ages 4 to 7 that has fun games to build skills needed for reading. It is a colorful, interactive resource with three different “habitats” for playing and learning.
When your child first logs on they are taken to the Treehouse. Duffy is the “host” and guides your child to play areas when he is not making jokes with other characters. From the Treehouse students can create an avatar, make a comic book, access the map of the site, and play in the skate park.
There are three games in each habitat. In Laughter Lake, students play Critter Sizer, where a conveyer belt of animals passes by and players must decide if they are small or large. As the student progresses through the levels, the animals are scaled down or up, so the child might see a small version of a giraffe and have to remember that it is indeed a large animal. In Scuba Dude, the student maneuvers a submarine through an underwater course to collect items in a certain sequence (which gets more challenging on higher levels.) And in Going Buggy, the student listens to a description of a scene such as “Spider is on the red block playing the drums” and has to recreate the scene by placing the characters in the correct spots. The scenes get more complicated as the game progresses.
The second habitat is Galaxy Gardens. Here players work on focus and planning with Photo Safari, collect letters in the correct order in Rocket Racer and build a robot friend in Robo Bobo.
In the Twister Top habitat, students work on patterning in Design a Door, collect the letters for a spoken word in Desert Dash, and weave a letterball through a maze to form words in Crazy Maze. The games in all the habitats have rewards like stickers for the comic book maker and ramps for customizing the skate park.
In the parent’s account you can opt in to receive emailed progress reports. This is a screenshot of one of ds4’s reports. It describes what level he has attained in each game and what reading skills each game is helping him with.
I especially liked how the report included ideas for activities to do outside of the games and links to helpful websites. The Kabongo site itself has a parent’s resource page where you can print worksheets and coloring pages.
Ds4, my 6yo 1st grader tested this resource for me. He knows his letters and sounds but is not reading yet. Once I had the accounts set up the site was very easy for him to navigate. I don’t believe I even had to explain any of the games to him…he either got them right off the bat or figured them out on his own. He absolutely loved earning pieces to build the skate park. When I asked him what was his favorite game on Kabongo he answered, “Every game.” :) Since he asked to play every day I would collaborate that response.
I liked the ease of setup and use of the site. While I do monitor the boys when they are on the computer, I like for them to be able to access and navigate sites on their own as much as possible. The progress reports were helpful and informative and not intrusive. (Some sites seem to email you for any little thing which can get annoying.) The games themselves are an excellent blend of learning and play. Ds never felt like the site was “school” but I know that he was indeed honing important reading readiness skills.
GoGo Kabongo offers free access to the Laughter Lake habitat. The other two habitats are available for $4.95 each.
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I received access to all three habitats in GoGo Kabongo for free to facilitate this review. To see other TOS Crewmembers reviews, click on the banner below.