Owlie Boo is a website with a selection of educational games for toddlers and young children. There are three progressive categories with more than ten flavours each that aim to teach toddlers basic computer literary skills. Each game is a single infinite loop level with no violence, no rewards, no failure option and no progression, all good things.
Owlie Boo Games were designed by tech savvy parents for their son, “a toddler who is a fan of little animals and has a fascination with our computers”. It is perfectly pitched for toddlers.
Good To Know
Adverts and Cost
Owlie Boo offers free browser based games with advert links. For $5 a month or $12 a year, a subscription option is available to remove all ads, enable full screen for games and the interface is locked down and needs an adult to exit it.
The hyperlinks in the free version are not inappropriate, but link to informational and marketing content for parents. It contains links to other internal pages, like “About us”, “Contact”, “Goals” etc, a “Zoodles approved” hyperlink stamp, seven language options to choose from by clicking on a country’s flag, social media links and a “Tell a Friend button”.
The games themselves only have one link, the Owlieboo logo and it has to be clicked, so if you are playing with the keyboard or disable the mouse buttons, it cannot be accessed. F11 gives a decent full screen mode, but keys are disabled once the game loads, so press F11 before whilst on the menu screen before clicking on the game.
The differences is clear on the subscription and free menu screens shown below:
The Owlie Boo website is optimized for PC and Mac users. It will also run on mobile devices that support Flash, i.e. older Android devices and most children’s tablets, but not on any iOS devices or the latest of Android. Owlie Boo also has four Android apps, the first free with three expansion packs featuring new content for £0.66 each, however the information below is focused on the browser based games played on a PC or Mac.
The three categories of games require different skills. The first category contains a selection of games that teaches the concept of pressing keys, the second instills the concept of moving the mouse and the third is all about clicking and dragging.
Adult support is required for mouse clicking. It is a mouse click to get to the menu screen from a bookmark, another mouse click to select the game, and a mouse click to start and a mouse click to exit.
Once the mini-game is running, some supervision is needed for the free version in case they click on the home button, but in the premium version independent play is possible as a parent is required to exit the game.
Adult Annoyance Factor
Nothing annoying about it. There is no background music. Animal sounds are standard fare.
Very accessible with large text, no user interface, colourful but basic graphics and a static camera. All games on the site are visually accessible and should not present any obstacles for anyone with photophobia, motion sickness, reduced vision or colour blindness. There is one mouse click counting game that requires the ability to match colours, but with a wide selection of choices, it is easy to find similar games that teaches the same computer skill that does not rely on colour.
The special effect sounds are one of the main attractions and beautifully complements the games without being abrasive. All audio cues are also accompanied by visual cues, making the games accessible for children with a hearing impairment.
The Owlie Boo games teach three basic computer literacy skills that requiring increasingly complex coordination. The first set of press-any-button games can easily be done with a switch interface to turn them into one-switch games, making them very accessible with little need for precision or speed. The second set requires moving the mouse over quite large objects to trigger their animation and being able to hold and move a mouse is the basic requirement. The third set teaching left mouse clicking as well.
It is very accessible with basic concepts that toddlers can grasp and enjoy. There is no language requirements within the games and the menus are easy to read text in a clear format.
Owlie Boo is a wonderful site with lovely games that teach 1-4 year olds how to use a mouse and keys. My 2.5 year old loves the humour in the games and quickly figured out which controls are required to effect events on the screen. It has the additional bonus of not only entertaining, but teaching useful and valuable computer literacy skills. Its accessible interface makes it easy to access for parents with disabilities and its simplistic design is accessible for children with various disabilities. If mouse control is too complicated, I would recommend using a USB joystick or similar alternative instead. Gaze trackers should also work with these games.
[stars rating=”4″ type=”Game”]