I was given the opportunity recently to get a 30 day trial of EZTales.com and complete a review. EZ Tales is an interactive portal for kids near 2-8 years old with animated stories and games, all with a focus on education and literacy.
While we unofficially limit screen time, I still like to find resources for Little Miss to entertain herself, and I’m not completely opposed to that being on some type of “screen”, whether that is the TV or the computer. As I said in my post about TV as a teaching tool, there is definitely some value that comes from educational programs. EZTales.com will be in our list of options for Little Miss as an “edutainment” tool, in sha Allah.
We mainly looked at the animated stories for Little Miss, and the My Island screen during my first impressions of EZTales.com. I liked the stories, and once I figured out when Little Miss would point to the laptop and ask for “water” she was actually asking for EZ Tales, it became clear she enjoyed them enough to ask for them again. With that said, I think there was some room for improvement with the website design. Here are some brief notes:
- Images and sounds are engaging
- Stories do include background music and do not have an option to mute the music alone
- Many stories are familiar nursery rhymes
- The benefits kids as this can be referenced in later literature they encounter, and introduce rhythm and rhyming
- In the My Island screen, the icons are small and don’t really go with the story.
- For instance, The Farmer in the Dell story’s icon is an elephant
- When you’re done watching and listening to a story on the My Island screen, the child is encouraged to put the icon on the island, but it’s hard to find the exact icon again since it’s so small and doesn’t relate to the story
- The story screen opens up and is a bit larger than my 13″ laptop screen. I then have to move the mouse outside the area of the story pop up window to scroll down to see the words. Then when it’s done I have to move the mouse to the side again to scroll up and click the Close button.
- This makes it too much work to try to teach my 2 year old to do it herself
- This was not a problem on my 15″ laptop screen
With all that said, EZTales.com is still a great resource with a wide array of stories and games in topics such as science, nature, alphabet, nursery rhymes, etc. The main topics are easy to navigate via the sidebar, and subtopics are available to narrow down the results. There are still a large number of items to choose from in each subtopic, which left me to wonder if there could be further organization to make all the items easily viewable, but this is quite a minor point.
Overall, I was left with the impression that EZTales.com has such a wide array of topics and stories that it would allow a lot of opportunity for kids to enjoy the website for a long time. I do think the website has some definite room for improvement in terms of window sizing responsiveness and fine tuned organization, but if you have a 15″ or larger screen size, the kids should be able to enjoy the site independently pretty early on… whether that’s a good thing or not is up to you.