The Bottom Line
Kidspiration 3 is visual learning software for kids in kindergarten through 5th grade. It uses a colorful collection of symbols, integrated with reading, writing, math, and audio components, to help kids develop basic skills in reading, writing, social studies, science, and math, as well as reasoning, comprehension, and problem solving.
At $69, Kidspiration 3 is at the high end of the typical price range for educational software, but it’s well worth it. Learning just doesn’t get more fun than this. It also offers plenty of room to grow, giving it extra value for children at the younger end of the target age group.
- Colorful, engaging interface.
- Library of 3,000+ symbols in multiple subject areas.
- Symbol Maker lets kids create their own symbols.
- Audio tool lets kids add their own voices and sound effects to projects.
- Digital voices sound tinny and artificial, which will probably bother adults more than kids.
- Formatting/toolbar is located at bottom of the page, rather than the usual top.
- Pricey for educational software, but definitely not overpriced.
- Mac and Windows versions available
- Library of 3,000+ symbols
- Symbol Maker lets kids create their own symbols
- Word Guide includes almost 13,000 words
- Math View covers five subject areas
- One-click transfer of content to word processors
Guide Review - Kidspiration 3
Kidspiration 3 packs an amazing amount of fun and learning into one software program. Previous versions of Kidspiration focused on thinking, reading, writing, and organizational skills. Version 3 has a new math component that helps kids grasp basic math concepts, including counting, place value, the four basic math operations, and fractions, as well as color, pattern, and shape recognition.
There are three main workspaces: Picture View, Writing View, and Math View. A digital voiceover identifies most menu items, icons, and tools when you mouse over them. The three views don’t include any instructions, though, so younger children and new users will need a little help getting started.
Picture View and Writing View are tightly integrated. Kids can use Picture View, which looks like a typical drawing or painting program, to brainstorm, doodle, and explore ideas. The colorful interface features a scrollable, searchable palette of symbols on the left, organized by subject, such as pets, plants, world history, music, weather, and toys. Kids can also use the drawing and painting tools to create their own symbols.
A row of icons across the top of the page provides one-click access to Writing View, a linking tool, and a new Word Guide, among other things. The Word Guide includes sight vocabulary from the Dolch and Fry’s word lists, plus definitions, sample sentences, parts of speech, and synonyms and antonyms for almost 13,000 words.
Switching from Picture View to Writing View translates the visual into the verbal, helping kids make the connection between the two. Projects can be printed or exported to a word processor.
In addition to Picture, Writing, and Math views, Kidspiration 3 also includes a collection of fun, engaging activities, complete with instructions, in four subject areas (Reading and Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies).