Brain Quest DVD: Grades 1 - 3
's activities come in two styles, straight out questions and answers and simple mini-games to break up the routine and keep the kids interested.
The Q&A are similar to the product's flash cards, except this version provides a much more visual style. Instead of always having the question written on the screen with the four answers below, many times, the answer text will be replaced with some sort of visual cue to help the child learn exactly what they are talking about. For instance, one question concerning the Egyptian Sphinx showed a drawing of a pyramid, the Sphinx and another monument. Another question that asked "Which does not belong" showed a picture of a whale, dolphin and a shark. By showing the pictures instead of just the words, the children are able to not only pull up memories of other references they might have to these objects, but also solidify the facts they are learning just a little bit more.
Vocabulary questions are some of the more interesting ones this game will ask. Sometimes they will show a part of a word with several letters below it and ask "Which letter do you add to make ...". The interesting part of this is that all of the available letters finish various words, so the kid must realize exactly which word is being asked for. For instance, one question displayed the partial word "OUR" with F, S, R, H, and T as the letters to select. The question was, "What letter do you add to make a word that means the same as 60 minutes".
There were two aspects of how this game handled your answers that impressed me. One thing is that, no matter which answer you choose, it will tell you the correct one. This means no negative feedback; where some games might say "Aww, too bad, the real answer was ...", this one just keeps going and just explains the answer. The other part that made this game stand out in my mind is that it would always give you just a little bit more information after explaining the answer. A question about the number of wheels on a tricycle might follow up with "Tri means 3 like in triangle". And there was also the occasional question that had a follow up for the parents (because the developers obviously knew who was sitting next to the little ones playing the game).
The mini-games sprinkled about the Q&A sessions are a nice distraction and though they don't directly test your child's ability to answer questions, they do tend to test other things. One mini-game builds up your kids hand-eye-coordination by having him/her guide a shuttle across a planet, while another one has them tracing paths on a treasure map.