Kerpoof StudiosSpring 2011 Website
Kerpoof is awesome, according to our nine-year-old tester. It's a multimedia activity web site that is geared toward creativity and fun, yet also introduces and reinforces both basic and advanced computer skills.
As with other activity web sites, the staples are here - you can make and email greeting cards, make and print artwork, write a story, make movies, and, with paid monthly membership, interact with other users via avatars and usernames.
Our favorite feature was movie-making. You can select from a number of settings and characters then add dialogue and other details. It's a simplified version of mainstream movie editing software like Movie Time, so the skills kids learn will carry over as their interests and projects mature. What feels like a fun game to your children is actually building advanced software skills.
A Today in Kerpoof area on the home page has frequently updated material and project ideas that we enjoyed. I found broken links in some of the tutorials and information pages, and the home page button was not always obvious. On some computers the Kerpoof splash page was slow to load which gave the site a clunky feel but navigation in the main activity areas was seamless.
The site is free, with a paid membership upgrade of $4.39 per month (slightly discounted for 6-month and 1-year packages). This allows access to some advanced options, such as creating and chatting with user groups, plus more items and upgrades available from the virtual store. But there is plenty on the site to enjoy without a membership.