Shareware Programs for Children

Educational shareware programs for children allow you to try a module of the software for a period of time (usually 30 days) for free. After the trial period either pay a fee to register the shareware and receive the full program or delete the shareware from your computer.

Most shareware programs are compressed before storage as a single zip file on the host computer. After downloading the file, you can use WINZIP to decompress it before you can view its contents and run the shareware. Some shareware programs need further installation or setup on the hard disk.

For Preschoolers Green Square Rotating Download Bar
Amy's Fun 23 ... Covers number recognition, counting, music and songs. Recommended for children ages 2 - 3. Good first math software in that it cover basic counting and your child can use the keyboard if he or she has difficulty with the mouse in terms of hand-eye coordination. This is a DOS program.

Sea School ... The shareware is Volume 1 of 3. It covers counting, number sequencing, addition and subtraction. Recommended for children ages 3 - 5. Sea School provides good variety to sustain children's interest as each topic is a different game. Coins as rewards is reinforcing and the fireworks display at the end is arresting. The ranking (e.g., Sea Shrimp) is cute.

I have played with the registered version. Volume 3 is suitable for older kids ages 5 -7. Worth your money to register the shareware. Only complaint is that it is a DOS program. You may experience difficulty running it if you do not know how to optimise the program for Windows.

Word Trix ... Covers common phonic patterns which are needed to build a large sight vocabulary. Highly recommended for children ages 5 - 8. This is a Windows program. It has four arcade-type games with an educational focus. The games are Word Invaders, Word Tag, Picture Tag and Make-A-Word. Be prepared to accept some American terms.

Roxie's "Go Fish" Series
The latest versions have better graphics and clearer speech. These educational games now include a memory game found in the picture frame. You even have the option to add your own image. LatticeWork Software has done a good job with their latest versions.

Updated, 1 March 2000

Roxie's Reading Fish, which is designed to help children recognise common sight words, is a good complementary program to Word Trix. If the child cannot read a word, click on the word card with the RIGHT mouse button and Roxie will read the word. The goal of the game is to get the largest number of books consisting of four of the same word cards.

The program is patterned after the game "Go Fish" If your child does not know what to do, click on Roxie's face and she will tell him what is going on. Recommended for children ages 5 - 7.

If you like a program for younger kids, try Roxie's ABC Fish. The creator, LatticeWork Software has generously made the full version of Roxie's ABC Fish available free-of-charge! A fun way for children to learn their upper and lower case letters and numbers to 100. The shareware version of Roxie's Math Fish covers addition for numbers 0 - 12.

My complaint is that Roxie's programs do not offer variety to sustain the children's interest. Although the educational contents are different, the game is the same and children get bored with the same old game.

For Upper Primaries Green Square Rotating Download Bar
Dollar Skills ... This is a Math program focusing on real-life math and business problems. What I like about the program is that it takes a student through four steps in solving problems. Students will be asked, in step-by-step fashion, to look for: the EVIDENCE (the numbers needed to solve the problem); the STRATEGY (the word clues that indicate the method to use to find the answer); and the OPERATION (the mathematical method to arrive at the answer to the problem), before trying to find the SOLUTION (the answer to the problem). Good remedial tool. Fun element is missing.

Word Problem Work-Up ... This trial version covers multiplication and division. This is similar to Dollar Skills where the program gives step-by-step help in interpreting key words and solving problems. Students learn to read the questions carefully to avoid irrelevant numbers, to convert two quantities into one, such as hours to minutes, or to watch for important instruction words, such as 'twice', 'half', or 'each'

Good remedial tool for children who have difficulty with word problems in Math. High achievers, however, may find the step-by-step help tedious; they are eager to type the answer to the problem. There is also a trial version that covers fractions.

Critical Thinking
(for Effective Reading) ... thinking about word relationships and recognising proper inferences, main ideas, and logical sequence of sentences.
Reading materials covered topics like history and culture, music and the arts, nature and science, historical figures, famous personalities, entertainment and recreation, and unusual facts. Suitable for students in upper primary and lower secondary schools.

Each lesson is self-directing and self-correcting and presents both read-in-context word replacement questions and comprehension questions as well as crossword puzzles. Good alternative to assessment papers which are non-interactive. Fun element is missing.

Prescriptive Reading
... The trial version focuses on vocabulary.
The other reading skills covered in the full program are sequence, main idea, fact or opinion, factual recall and inference. Suitable for upper primary students. The contents are easier than those in Developing Critical Thinking.

Software Review © by Alan S.L. Wong
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    External links - Last checked in March 2003