Playdays logo

Alternative £25.99

This month we take a look at five new packages aimed at the very young user (Noddy's Playtime, Paint and Create, Spelling Fair, Merlin's Maths, Playdays and ADI French). Tony Dillon looks back to the days of short trousers and runny noses - it's nice to see that he hasn't changed.

One of the joys of being a freelance journalist is that you can actually spend your mornings watching programs like Playdays, née Playbus. Generally regarded as the successor to Play School, Playdays is full of all those little games and songs that children just love to join in with.

Aimed at the young end of the market (3 to 8) this package differs from the others here, in that it provides the user with a series of games, rather than giving them some sort of selection. The games are chosen randomly from a selection of 13 different titles, all created to help the progress of a variety of skills from counting and spelling through to word recognition and observation, so the package is different every time you load it.

On the whole, the games are extremely simple, and very brightly presented, although without some of the spit and polish of the Fun School series. The game itself is hosted by Why Bird, a regular character from the show, who encourages and helps all the way, congratulating emphatically with every success and giving full explanations whenever the user fails in a task.

Kids who watch the show will love it, and it has enough educational content to make it worthwhile. An impressive product.