10/17/11

TOS Review: Always Icecream

alwaysicecream_logo

For the last several weeks my daughter has been having a blast playing and learning on a website just for girls ages 7 to 12.

Always Icecream strives “to combine three important aspects of child-appropriate online learning in a unique way:”
  • Motivation: Girls experience Always Icecream as a fun “play” site, with a friendly community (parents can turn off the social features). *
  • Learning: Girls practice a wide variety of academic and practical skills in a playful way.*
  • Rewards and Recognition: Girls earn “$coops,” our in-game currency for playing learning games. This currency can be used to take care of online pets in PetWorld and decorate homes in MiniWorld. Achievements are recognized through medals and special awards as well as progress reports to parents.*

Tailorbear’s Review of Always Icecream (age 12) It is….. well it’s social. Very social. I have almost no clue who some of my friends are, but because it is moderated I can get to know them. It is TONS of fun because even though you have to do the educational stuff that is fun too! I love always Ice Cream because girls can learn,and have fun with other girls.

Always Icecream has a look and feel of social media; however, unlike some popular social media sites, this one has moderation.  Here is what your daughter sees when she logs in:

hOMEPAGE

Parents can also control which games and activities the daughter can access.  I can choose to let Tailorbear have only access to the educational activities but not any of the social or community activities. I can also pick and choose which activities I allow her to use.

selecting activities

Initially, I had some concerns about Always Icecream.  The website has an appeal to younger girls.  Supergirl is not developmentally ready for this program but she constantly asks for her own account.  It looks fun.  It looks inviting.  It is not appropriate for young girls who are not reading independently.

I was also concerned that Tailorbear would find the website layout unappealing and too babyish.  I was wrong.  Though she is not gushing over the visual appeal, it does not bother her the way I thought it would.  I also feared that being 12, this program would not challenge her.  I had concerns that the educational aspect would be lost amid the fun rewards.  Again I was wrong.  She has been challenged.  She has been learning. 

The friendship and community interactions caused me to raise an eyebrow.  Would Tailorbear spend so much time interacting with the friends that she does not complete the educational activities?  Would she be safe?  Again my worries were unfounded. Always Icecream takes the safety of our daughters very seriously.  You can read their position on safety HERE.  And with the moderation provided, I am not worried that my daughter will read something inappropriate or that she will post something inappropriate.  Overall I am pleased with Always Icecream.  I like that Tailorbear must complete educational activities in order to earn scoops and the the fun activities such as decorating a room or caring for a pet require the payment of scoops.  If she runs out of scoops she can’t play anymore.  I like that I can add up to 2000 scoops a month as a reward for school work completed, or as payment for chores or as a reward for something she’s done above and beyond such as helping out at church.

I don’t recommend Always Icecream for girls who are not reading independently around a 3rd or 4th grade level.  I think they would be frustrated. Always Icecream discourages the use of shared accounts and I agree.  With separate accounts girls are more motivated to earn their own scoops.

I do recommend Always Icecream for girls who read very well and who are motivated by earning rewards.

Always ice cream has several membership plans ranging in price from $4.99 a month (your first month is only 99 cents!) to $99.99 for a lifetime membership.  Click here to see all the options.  You can also try Always Icecream for free by clicking here.

*Information in these sections provided by Always Icecream

Click on the banner below to read what my fellow crew mates had to say about Always Icecream.PhotobucketAll information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received a lifetime membership for one daughter free of charge for review purposes. This review is my honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.

3 comments:

  1. Great Review! My daughter (age 8) is not a strong reader. While she liked the look of the site and playing the games initially, it got too hard for her to earn scoops for her pets. We'll revisit the site when she's a bit older.

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  2. Lisa, thanks for confirming about the reading aspect. I'm glad that you shared that with me. Isn't great that we got a lifetime membership! Very generous of them so that means your daughter can enjoy it more when her reading is stronger.

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