Sunday, February 27, 2011

Review: Just Dance Kids

I was a reluctant addition to the legions of households with video game systems. I remember the days when my friends and I would sit on the couch like zombies not moving for hours as we tried to beat one game or another. The new gaming systems luckily are more interactive where you get up and move.

Fortunately, the wee ones are huge fans of this. We recently tried out a new game that is very different from any of the ones we'd played previously. Just Dance Kids is a Wii game that really keeps them moving. Granted, most Wii games are somewhat active because of the way the controller works, the dancing game really gets their whole bodies going.

Even better? I can check out how much they're really moving and burning. So far, I've been lucky in that neither of the wee ones has a weight problem, but I know their activity levels will decrease as they get older. Having games like this where they're exercising while having fun where it doesn't feel like work is ideal.

I was a little worried about the dancing to start, for a few reasons - forget the part about how their dancing is ummm not exactly ready for stage or screen. Kids are growing up way too fast these days, and I was a little fearful that the songs on the game were going to be a little mature for them. While they love songs like Dynomite and Party in the USA, those are somewhat benign. Fortunately, Just Dance Kids has extremely age appropriate songs available like the Hamster Dance (one of our personal favorites) and The Chicken Dance. That said, the songs aren't all just for the younger set. MmmmBop and other songs more appealing to older kids are also readily available as part of the game.

The menus of the game aren't as frustrating as some games we've seen, which means Mister Man doesn't come stomping into the kitchen when I'm trying to chop veggies for dinner, begging me to help him get the game to work. I love fostering their independence, and this is perfect for him. And listening to him sing along (the words are on the bottom of the screen during the song) - especially to songs he's never heard before - cracks me up. I definitely need to get video of him soon!

I'm a big fan of games that aren't just the one or two player versions. When we have playdates, the disagreements over whose turn it is or the loss of interest in a game that only some people can play is frustrating. Since up to four kids can play at once, this works out perfectly. I love watching all the kids trying to figure it out - and the lack of coordination some of them display doesn't keep them from enjoying the game. Because so many of the moves repeat across songs, the wee ones are starting to really figure it out and master some of the moves so they can win. And the joy on their faces when they do? Priceless.

Mommy, check it out! Look what I did! This is my most favoritest game EVER, Little Miss bounced up to me shouting just yesterday afternoon. That is the kind of reaction I love to see. The hardest part is figuring out a good time to turn it off because they just haven't been getting tired of playing it.

Mister Man's take? Mommy, those are actual kids dancing! They're dancing on tv, and I'm doing just what they are. If they can do it, I can, too. I love how having actual children leading the dances is boosting his confidence and willingness to try the game - even when he's having difficulty with a particular part. He keeps going because he's seeing that they can do it, too.

And shhhh, don't let the wee ones know, but it's possible I've played this one on my own when they've been at school. That's a pretty good endorsement of a game, I think!

You can find Just Dance Kids at retailers everywhere for a suggested price of $29.99.

In the interest of full disclosure, while Ubisoft provided me with this game to review, the opinions I've expressed here are solely my own and represent my honest viewpoint. Ubisoft, Clever Girls Collective and I promote Blog With Integrity.

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