It can be easy to find kids' games that focus on letter recognition and early reading skills, but math skills? Not so much. Sesame Street: Cookie's Counting Carnival fills the void and provides a fun and easy introduction to math concepts for 2-5 year olds, all led by two friendly Sesame Street characters: Cookie Monster and Big Bird.
Together they lead kids on a journey around a carnival, and play games that require math skills like counting, number identification, shapes and pattern recognition. Kids can choose to either play through the entire carnival, or play individual mini games in themed areas such as The Grandstand, Midway, Petting Zoo, Food Court and the Arcade.
The mini games are age-appropriate and easy enough to play that most parents won't even need to jump into assist their child. Small hands can easily play the game on their own without adult assistance, with simple instructions like pushing the A Button (to play the "Strongman" game and hit the bell), dragging the stylus (to move matching shapes) or blowing into the microphone (to inflate balloons, of course!).
Cookie's Counting Carnival comes with its own easy-to-grip big stylus, and has encouraging dialogue built in, should your child need several tries to answer each question.
The mini games are brief and well timed for preschoolers' attention spans. One game may take 5 -15 minutes and be all a three-year-old may be interested in, or an advanced five-year-old may play through the entire carnival tour in slightly over an hour.
You can access a parents' area from the main menu by holding both the L and R buttons at the same time. There, you can customize up to four profiles, to review stats on which mini games each child has played, how many times, and the math concept it features. Parents can also set controls like difficulty level, volume and play limits for the number of mini games your child can play in a session, so it'll remind your child before the last mini game begins, and will lock down after it's been completed.
Sesame Street: Cookie's Counting Carnival
ESRB: Early Childhood (EC)
Developer: Black Lantern Studios, Inc.
Distributor: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment