Tim Leverett, a computer professional whose own son wanted to sit on his lap while he worked at the computer, created this software as a way "to share more laughter and fun with my own child." The concept is that the bright bold geometric shapes change when a baby whacks the keyboard. Hitting any key or keys will cause something new to happen on the screen. Your baby can have fun pounding away on the keyboard without your having to worry that your computer files will be corrupted. And if you or your child moves the computer mouse, adorable animals glide across the screen. Clicking the mouse results in geometric-shaped confetti shooting across the screen.
The software offers 14 activities. Ten feature colored shapes appearing on the screen to slide, dive, rotate, or even play peek-a-boo. In most of these activities, a silly-looking animal is connected to the onscreen cursor. If you move the cursor when the teddy bear is attached, the bear's bow tie moves first and his body follows after it, creating a silly visual effect.
The software also offers four bonus games. In one, the game's mascot, Flopsy the Dog, wiggles into outlandish positions each time a key on the keyboard is touched. In another, kids can make animals hop out of their hiding places to make sounds by tapping a key.
Parents can choose to have the 14 activities accompanied by 50 different songs. For quieter times, parents might want to select "Classical" and for high energy times, "Baby Boogie."
While the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages television viewing for babies under age 2, in part because it takes away time that babies spend interacting with adults, this computer program is meant to be used as a tool to enhance baby and adult interaction. Other than in the introduction, the software program does not talk to the child. Rather the parent or caregiver must generate the interaction and commentary about what is happening on the screen. In many ways, the kind of communication that a parent creates with Giggles is very similar to the kind of communication that a parent generates while reading a book—"That square is blue…where is the pink circle?"
For families where babies are drawn to the computer because of adult usage, Giggles Computer Funtime for Baby: Shapes can provide an amusing way to play with your child and to introduce him or her to simple cause-and-effect scenarios using the computer.
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