For the past couple of months, my children have been playing Go Go Kabongo, to which I received a free subscription in exchange for my review. For the first time, my kids and I disagree on a product we have reviewed for TOS' Homeschool Crew.
Go Go Kabongo is an online gaming site for children. It is billed as "an online world of brain-boosting gaming for reading." Children can play in different habitats, populated by different fun and weird cartoon characters in fantastical and imaginative settings.
The games on Go Go Kabongo are designed to "guide children toward better thinking" through their interesting and fun games. Kids can design their own skate ramps, sort things according to large and small characteristics, and play other great games. It is important to note that Go Go Kabongo does not actually teach children to read. Rather, it teaches skills that are important in reading, such as attentiveness, planning, visualization, and simultaneous processing.
My kids love playing Go Go Kabongo. They don't think of it as educational playing. Although I have read Go Go Kabongo's explanation of how it aids in cognitive development, I must confess that I don't understand the rationale. It doesn't seem like educational play to me either. Perhaps because my children are already readers (although my six year-old twins who played are very nascent readers), Go Go Kabongo was not able to enhance their reading readiness. I watched my seven and two six year-olds play Go Go Kabongo quite a bit, and I was not able to discern which reading skills were being effected in the games.
Still, the fact that they enjoy playing speaks well for Go Go Kabongo's design. It really is a very cute gaming environment.
If you're unsure as to whether Go Go Kabongo is right for your family, I would really encourage you to give their free habitat option a try. Your child can investigate many areas of Go Go Kabongo before you commit to a paid subscription.
If you like Go Go Kabongo and want to have access to the entire site, as well as having email updates of your child's activities sent directly to you, you can buy additional habitats for $4.95 each.
Although Go Go Kabongo and I did not get along as well as I might have hoped, I encourage you to read the FAQ and give it a try. For pre-readers, this might be just the thing. As always, don't take my word for it. Find out what other Crew members had to say on the Crew Blog.