Blue’s Art Time Activities is the latest offering from Humongous Entertainment in conjunction with Nickelodeon’s Nick Jr. It features the popular characters from Blue’s Clues. The game is for children 3 to six-years-old and teaches the basic tenants of art while providing several areas for different types of creative play.
The overall theme of the CD-ROM is that Blue is having a really big art show and the child needs to help various characters finish their pieces in time for the show. The child can, of course, create his/her own works for the show as well. Steve, Blue’s live human co-host, opens the CD by explaining about the Really Big Art Show and introducing the other characters. The characters are Al Luminum, Marky Marker, Chalk Girl and Periwinkle. Blue is seen throughout the CD putting her own special touches on the art and offering encouragement as the child proceeds.
Al Luminum is building a diorama. As Mayor of Recycle Town he uses only found items to make his art. The child goes to Al Luminum’s craft table to view blueprints that tell which recycled items he/she will need to construct the pieces for the diorama. The recycled items have to be collected from Recycle Town and brought back to the craft table to be assembled by clicking and dragging. This is a fun activity and the items are all commonly found in the average household, so it would be easy to reproduce the diorama in real life.
Marky Marker is trying to put together an invitation to the art show. To do this he has paints, gems, stickers and other items. This is one of the most creative areas. The child can mix colors from a tray that includes black and white and the primary colors. Through out the CD there is a lot of emphasis on color. The child is told which colors are cool and which are warm and what primary colors are mixed to create secondary and tertiary colors.
Chalk Girl is trying to put together a theme picture for the art show. The child needs to drag and drop the right shapes into an outline that forms a picture. The shapes are named when the child clicks on them. After all the shapes are in place the child has the option of decorating the picture with different colors of chalk before moving on to the next picture.
Periwinkle is working on a storybook. The child needs to help finish the pictures that illustrate the story. As with the other areas, there are several stories to work on, but only one need be finished to enter the art show.
To have the art show the child must help each character finish at least the first project and create at least one piece of his/her own art in at least one category. Then he/she must play the color game with the Red Kitten, Yellow Kitten, or Purple Kangaroo, all of which can be found playing outside house. All of the other characters are inside. After the winning the color game the child is awarded one of several ribbons, every time the game is played a different ribbon is awarded. The ribbons are kept in a portfolio along with all the works of art.
When it is time for the Really Big Art Show, the child gets to look at all the art and pick his/her favorite by awarding it one of the ribbons from the portfolio. This game has a lot to teach about art and color. Children definitely enjoy playing it, although it is too complicated for a young child to navigate without a parent’s help the first few times. While the art show component would not appeal to older children, some of the art activities, especially Marky Marker’s table, would. Unfortunately, the booklet that comes with the CD is virtually useless. It has only 3 pages of information about the game, most of which are just system requirements, and the rest of the booklet is a catalog of other Humongous Entertainment titles.
Blue’s Art Time Activities earns 4 GiN gems because it fulfils a special function in the child-learning category, that of the often ignored area of artistic talent.