ABCmouse Review: A Preschool Learning Platform

2 March 2021
SpellQuiz

Parents often struggle with preparing their young children for kindergartens.

Think about it — you need to teach your kids A LOT OF things — numbers, letters, alphabet, shapes, reading, writing, and what not!?

And, it’s quite normal!

Also, kids will often prefer watching their favorite cartoons and play some games. If you force your kids to learn new thing, chances are that your plan will backfire! Moreover, there’s not a single parent who would want to stress the tender minds of their four-year-olds.

This is why early learning platforms like ABCmouse is so beneficial.

What is ABCmouse?

ABCmouse is one of the most well-known early learning platforms for young kids at the pre-school and kindergarten level. This online early learning academy focuses on bolstering the educational base of the children belonging to the age group of 2 to 8.

But you already know this piece of information, don’t you?

Let’s jump on to the main topic today — ABCmouse review.

Is ABCmouse worth it? Does ABCmouse truly help your child? What are some of the good alternatives?

We know you have a lot of questions on your mind. After all, it’s not a free platform and you only want THE BEST for your children.

Here’s how we’d review ABCmouse today —

  • What is ABCmouse?
  • Core features of ABCmouse
  • What did we love about ABCmouse?
  • Scopes of improvisation for ABCmouse
  • Best alternatives to ABCmouse (paid and free)
  • SpellQuiz vs. ABCmouse: a direct comparison

What is ABCmouse? An Introduction to the Platform

ABCmouse is an online educational platform that specializes in catering to the academic needs of children from age two to eight.

With 10,000 learning activities and 850 complete lessons, ABCmouse is one of the richest collection of educational contents online. You can find lessons on all of the core academic subject areas, including — literacy, math, science, health, and social studies, as-well-as a plethora of art- and music-based activities.

The ABCmouse curriculum has won awards like — Mom’s Choice GOLD Award, the Teachers’ Choice Award, and the Parents’ Choice GOLD Award.

Also, in the second quarter of 2020, ABCmouse has reached another milestone. Now, it’s the most downloaded kids’ learning program on iOS and Android. Even giants like Khan Academy, Duolingo, and YouTube Kids are behind ABCmouse!

ABCmouse is the flagship program of the successful company Age of Learning Inc. Both the Age of Learning Inc. and the ABCmouse program were found back in 2007.

Age of Learning Inc. is a massive company — achieved the unicorn startup status in 2016 with over $1bllion valuation!

To give you an idea, let me talk about the current CEO of the company, Paul Candland.

Before joining Age of Learning Inc. in 2019, he was the President of The Walt Disney Company, Asia and Japan, respectively for over fourteen years! He also served as the President of Okinawa Pepsi Cola.

Naturally, ABCmouse has a strong curriculum board consisting of multiple national and international award-winning educational experts and teachers.

So, there’s no doubt that ABCmouse is a capable and resourceful company.

Core Features of ABCmouse

The best thing ABCmouse is that the platform offers an all-encompassing experience. Once you log on to the platform, you instantly see a UI that resembles a classroom — where kids are busy in different activities and the teacher is welcoming the user.

In an instant, the user gets the message that kids can do different fun activities here. Also, you’ll notice that interface uses many bold and strong colors. That colorful world will surely attract the children.

Now, let’s move on to the exciting features of ABCmouse - 

It Starts with a Virtual Avatar!

As you enter the UI, the user, mostly the child gets to create a virtual avatar. This avatar is quite important, as you can easily track the progress of your child with this avatar. All thanks to the interactive menu system.

The creation of the avatar does two tricks — the child gets a vibe that ABCmouse is more about doing the fun activity than “studies” — and, set the initial point of learning with ABCmouse.

The Learning Path and Leveled Learning

As soon as the user creates the avatar, he/she is ready to take on the plethora of activities in ABCmouse. Also, ABCmouse uses a structured learning path to prepare the child for school.

The path starts from the Preschool stage (age 3) to the 2nd Grade stage (age 7). This path consists of 10 separate levels and kids have to take part in a sufficient number of activities.

It bolters the leveled learning feature. With the award-winning teachers behind the creation of the curriculum and learning path, things are quite balanced and well-structured.

Fun Activities with Animated Videos

As I have said before, each level of the learning path consists of numerous different activities. ABCmouse used its strong animation team to introduce fun.

For example, we all know that learning letters and the alphabet is one of the first educational activities. ABCmouse has an animated activity where Prospector Paul’ and his trusty mule Trauss find letter combination together.

Then, there’s a video where King Grammar teacher basic and simple grammar rule to his villagers.

These activities are fun and intuitive. Kids in most cases view these activities as games but actually get to learn a lot.

Different Activities Catered Towards Different Educational Concept

ABCmouse doesn’t have any shortage of learning activities. As you can guess, the massive collection of 10,000 activities is the biggest selling point of ABCmouse.

Here, this brief list should help you understand their style of work —

Reading and Language

  • Letter identification with uppercase and lowercase
  • Phonics and phonemes
  • Word families and rhyming words
  • Sentence formation
  • Parts of speech (the knowledge of noun, pronoun, adjective, determiner, verb, adverb, preposition, conjunction, and interjection.)
  • Basic grammar

Mathematics

  • Number recognition
  • Counting from 1 to 120
  • The decimal or ten-base number system
  • Addition and subtraction
  • Basic geometric shapes (lines, square, circle, triangle, hexagons, etc.)
  • Length, time, and money measurement

Science and Social Studies (The World Around Us)

  • Parts of body
  • Trees and plants
  • Animals around us
  • Seasons and weathers
  • Maps and regions
  • Earth’s environment and geography (the knowledge of mountains, deserts, hills, ocean, lakes, rivers, swamps, etc.)
  • Solar system
  • Matters and the properties (solid, liquid, and gas)

As you can imagine, having a good base knowledge of these educational concepts will boost your child in early education.

A Kid-Friendly Library

ABCmouse boasts of having a resourceful library that has over 450 books in it. Apart from the traditional stories (The Lion and The Mouse), they also have original and non-fiction books.

These original books help to empower the imaginative powers of the kids and introduce them to a world of knowledge, adventure, and fun.

Songs and Music

Kids inherently have a weak point for songs and music. ABCmouse has a fair share of music and songs in their collection.

These songs include classic children songs and their original songs that help the children learn letters and words.

Arts and Crafts

Here’s the thing — kids love colors and paints. Just like many other platforms, ABCmouse also has hundreds of coloring pages, dot-to-dots, paint-by-numbers, traceable, and printables.

These premade arts activities will make them more interested in drawing and painting in the real world.

Progress Tracking

When your child is using an online learning platform, you need to make sure what are they learning and how much are they actually practicing. So, having a progress tracking feature is a must these days.

ABCmouse progress tracking window lets you know the number of activities that your child has taken part in, as well as, their academic progress. The academic progress is shown through pie charts — of reading, math, the world around us, and arts category.

The Ticket System  

When the kids complete a learning activity, they get tickets as a reward. They can use these tickets to purchase virtual items and pay visits to the zoo.

This ticket system helps to motivate them to take part in more learning activities.

Interactive Zoo, Aquarium, and Farm

To make things even more interesting, ABCmouse has includes three exciting virtual places — zoo, farm, and the aquarium for the classroom.

The zoo boasts of having real-life animations of animals like — elephants, lions, monkeys, zebras, penguins, and more. Kids can learn about them and even interact with them. Chances are your child will love spending time in the zoo.

Do you remember the classroom that we’ve mentioned before?

That classroom has an aquarium too!

Children can have different exotic fishes there. They can learn about the fishes and can purchase new fishes for their aquarium with reward tickets.  

Lastly, your child can visit the interactive farm. The farm has the same mechanics as the zoo. But it has different animals, mostly farm animals — horses, chickens, cows, and more.

What Did We Love About ABCMouse?

With the massive number of features, there are so much to love about ABCmouse. Check out the following list —

An Ocean of Activities

ABCmouse has by far the highest number of learning activities among the online-based early learning platforms. The platform covers almost every aspect of the educational concept. Apart from the basic educational concepts, kids have lessons on arts and crafts.

After all, not every online platform can’t say they have over 450 lessons spread through over 10,000 activities.

Fun Games and Interactive Functionalities

Although the platform boasts of educational contents, kids love spending time in the interactive zoo and the farm. These fun activities induce the right amount of fun while offering scopes of education.

COPPA-Compliant

As a parent, you must be worried about the platform for having COPPA-compliance certifications. The good news is that ABCmouse has COPPA-compliance certification (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act).

So, what does it mean?

It means your child will not see annoying pop-ups leading to potentially dangerous contents for children online. Also, the app doesn’t have any in-app purchase option available.

So, you can leave your child alone learning things at ABCmouse.

An All-Encompassing Approach

We have seen different learning platforms specializing in one or two things at max. For example, some platforms specialize in STEM studies, some specialize in English grammar.

But ABCmouse follows an all-encompassing approach — it covers all of the education concepts necessary for a preschooler. This is one of the strongest suits of this learning platform.

Professionally Curated Curriculum

ABCmouse is the flagship platform from one of the unicorn startups of the world with an over $1billion valuation. It seems that ABCmouse has spent all those money on experts and education gurus from all over the world. ABCmouse boasts of having a large group of experts designing the leveled-learning-focused curriculum.

Easy-to-Navigate

One of the major complaints against a lot of online learning platforms has been the unintuitive UI. Surely, an adult can surf through different segments of learning platforms. However, things are not so simple for a child especially a child who is in the preschool stage.

ABCmouse solves the issue with a fully interactive and straightforward UI. Also, with the use of bright-colored animation on the menus, things become even easier.

They have put much effort to make the interface as simple as it gets while making it intuitive enough. So, it’s a huge plus point for ABCmouse.  

Scopes of Improvisation for ABCMouse

While we have loved a bunch of things about ABCmouse, there are certain things that the developers can upgrade. Obviously, no platform is perfect so you shouldn’t think of these “improvisation” points as pure negativities.

No Freemium Feature

Yes, ABCmouse is a premium platform and with so many great features, it’s only fair for the developers to ask for money. However, there is no way to test out the platform beforehand.

Also, it doesn’t have any freemium feature that everyone can enjoy. All of the features are locked behind that paid subscription banner.

Yes, they do offer a one-month free trial but you’ll have to enter your payment information to even have a glance at how the platform works.

Controversies with the Payment System

ABCmouse has been accused of running unlawful marketing and billing practices over the last few years. Numerous parents have complained about the billing system as they can’t cancel the subscription.

Some parents have said that ABCmouse has billed them for multiple years in the beginning without consent and the customer support refused to offer refund money.

As tension grew, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) intervened and investigated the issue. On September 2, 2020, FTC released a press release stating that Age of Learning, the company behind ABCmouse will pay $10 million as compensation fee to FTC.

Recurring Activities

Some users have complained against the platform offering recurring activities every now and then. As a result, their kids stopped using ABCmouse as it seems boring to them.

Not Suitable for Older Kids

The lessons and activities are so simple that it becomes obsolete even for seven-year-old kids. These lessons are perfect for children below grade one. But the older kids the activities and lessons are so simple that it feels unchallenging.

Best Alternatives to ABCMouse

While ABCmouse is an exceptionally great learning platform despite the negative press, some other options offer similar or even better features.

You could check these learning platforms that might appeal to you –

Starfall

Starfall is by far the best alternative to ABCmouse. It also focuses on the same children group, K-3. But Starfall doesn’t have such negative press surrounding its reputation. Also, the pricing and billing systems are more transparent.

Moreover, Starfall has several free apps available online that shows dedication and determination towards education.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy another great platform for online education. It is a multiple international award-winning platform that caters to the needs of children of all age group. So, Khan Academy doesn’t become obsolete after a few years.

Plus, the best part of Khan Academy is that the platform is free and follows a non-profit agenda.

Pear Deck

Pear Deck is another new name in the industry. It’s a platform where teachers can teach and help kids in real-time. Pear Deck uses interactive slides where teachers and students work together.

Yes, Pear Deck is more suitable for older children but the concept is solid and K-3 teachers can also use it to help young minds.  

SpellQuiz vs. ABCMouse: Direct Comparison

Truthfully, you can’t compare ABCmouse and SpellQuiz directly. As these two platforms are entirely different and cater towards the needs of different student level, it’s almost like comparing apples to oranges.

For example, SpellQuiz is an online learning platform that specializes in English spelling and vocabulary targeted towards K-12 and adults. On the other hand, ABCmouse is an online learning platform for preschoolers.

So, a direct comparison is invalid here.

 

However, you can take a look at the features of SpellQuiz —

Vocabulary Tester

SpellQuiz lets the user test their vocabulary level. Within just 10 minutes, after a number of spelling tests, the SpellQuiz algorithm figures out the approximate word collection of the test taker.

Also, the vocabulary test is completely free and anyone can use it!

spellquiz features

spellquiz features

Comprehensive Spelling Tests

SpellQuiz has one of the richest spelling test and practice arena available online. These spelling practice and tests are classified in grade-wise categories so that students can instantly start practicing at their current vocabulary level.

spelling training

Spelling Bee

Spelling Bee is one of the most exciting spelling competitions in the world. SpellQuiz is one of the few online learning platforms that has dedicated practice grounds for advanced spellers.

Apart from the Spelling Bee practice sessions, anyone can join the Spelling Bee Online competition. Here participants from all over the world take part in virtual Spelling Bee in real-time.

spellquiz features

Also, participants can check their global rank and spelling level. Plus, the leaderboard will show their names — it gives them a sense of glory and achievement.

Adaptive Spelling

Not everyone learns at the same speed. To help out the comparatively weaker students, SpellQuiz has introduced an Adaptive Spelling feature where students can learn at their own pace.

spellquiz features

Superior Reports and Analytics

Yes, ABCmouse has a progress tracking system but SpellQuiz’s reports page is far superior. It offers results in microlevel.

You can track the progress based on these parameters —

  • Activity duration
  • Total number of correct words
  • Total number of incorrect words
  • Type of activity participation and the total number of activity participation
  • SmartScore
  • Number of attempts
  • Global ranks
  • Word statistics

spellquiz features

More Than Spelling

Although SpellQuiz is dedicated to spelling, it comes with educational contents of other academic concepts such as English grammar, geography and more!

spellquiz features

spelling training

Idioms and Phrases

The idioms section is the latest addition of SpellQuiz. This section helps the students with common idioms and with meaning, images, and examples. The illustrations help the students to memorize the meanings of the idioms better.

spellquiz features

 

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