Gift cards continue to top gift wish lists this holiday…
Umachaka Media Inc. has recently launched TJ & Pals, an imaginative website that has been approved by educators and has attracted children ages three to five from around the country. Their idea revolves around the lives of a friendly and inquisitive pencil named TJ and his friends who take kids on an entertaining journey of games, videos, stories, and songs.
The site was developed by Ashley Lazarus who is an award winning film director, and as someone who worked with Disney, Mattel, and Sesame Street, has extensive experience in children’s programming. Mr. Lazarus, a grandfather, designed the site with his grandchildren in mind. His main intent was to make learning fun. “The more fun and interactive learning is the more effective it is. Just sit with a five year old playing a fun game, or learning to count through a catchy song, and you will see that the principle of “learn as you play” really helps kids learn and remember what they learned, especially in this digital age. Every game, activity, how to and story we create at TJ&Pals is based on this principle.”
TJ & Pals has designed some wonderful challenging games for young children that strengthen crucial pre-reading skills unbeknownst to the giggling four and five year olds sitting at the computer screen. TJ’s Seek and Find is an activity in which a child is presented with two separate challenges: finding hidden objects and matching them to the shapes presented to her. Once she completes her tasks she receives a musical reward. Children love this activity and matching games are a wonderful way to prepare a child for a lifetime of reading.
TJ & Pals also offers some creative stories and videos that have attracted both the younger four year old audience and even the slightly older six and seven year olds as well. The Little Monkey, and The Happy Squirrel, are both stories that either can be read by a parent or the child or can be narrated. They are also videos that a child can listen to before or after they hear the story. Making Friends is the story of how TJ met his pals. Younger and older children alike love to watch this video tale about friendship and the discovery of the power of imagination.
The TJ & Pals website also focuses on developing children’s math skills. The TJ & Pals developers have designed a math page equipped with a Numbers Song for the younger four year old audience, Math Spin, a game in which a child can have fun with addition or subtraction, or a calculator for older kids where a child can learn multiplication or division.
One of the most beloved aspects of the TJ & Pals website, particularly for the older kids, is TJ Connect. TJ Connect allows members of TJ & Pals to video chat with their friends and family anywhere in the world – think Skype for kids. The good thing about TJ Connect from the parents’ point of view is that it is completely parentally controlled. The good thing about it from the kid’s point of view is that now he can see his Grandparents or cousins in Canada, Japan or South America.
Every three, four, and six months new activities are added to the TJ & Pals website to keep the site challenging and interesting for kids. And for those children that fall in love with the old activities, new themes and stories are added monthly to the games, how-to’s, videos and books that already occupy the site.
TJ & Pals works on the two important principles of “learn as you play” and “positive reinforcement.” Ashley Lazarus and his team of developers has created a website and a number of educational apps that have captured the hearts of pre-schoolers and children in the early grades of elementary school across America.