Homeschool Crew Review: Always Icecream

     To just say that my daughter enjoys this website would be a huge understatement. The first thing that stands out when you go to the Always IceCream website is that they offer a free trial version. Try it; my 12 year old daughter and I both did and had fun playing the learning games. Why pay for something you can get for free?  There are several big differences in the free version and the subscription (which by the way is $4.99 per month, $29.99 every year, or $99.99 for a lifetime membership.)

     There are games for practicing US geography, math facts, even Bible trivia. After a question is missed, the correct answer is highlighted and later the same question is repeated. As you correctly answer questions you earn $coops of ice cream which help unlock other activities and features. The trial version is limited to just a handful of activities.

     In the non-trial version the girls create a "MiniMe" avatar to represent them; they can also choose (and change) nicknames. Emily enjoyed designing furniture to decorate the rooms in her virtual house as well as sell it in the shop for more scoops.

     Another helpful feature of a subscription is the Learning and Activities summary which is available to view at any time as long as your e-mail is linked to your daughter's account. Parents also receive a weekly e-mail summary and can choose which of the features to enable for each account. The summary shows me her progress in the "learning games," who she shares with in moderated communication, each educational video that she has watched, and even what artwork she has created in the "mini world." You are even given an option of rewarding your daughter extra $coops for things you choose such as practicing an instrument or doing her chores. 

     There is no advertising on Always IceCream. I see that as a big bonus. My daughter watches educational videos here without any distractions popping up in the sidebar. 

     Remember the free trial that I mentioned? My oldest daughter and I both tried it out and enjoyed it, too. See if you can identify state names on a map of the United States and identify states from a multiple choice list when shown a picture of the state’s outline. In the math facts section, you begin with an addition quiz. If you progress easily, you have the option to skip 5 levels each time you complete a level. You also are given the option to return to an easier level.

     This is not a school replacement, but for us works as a nice substitute for that popular social media website that my daughter is not quite old enough to use. This is designed especially for 7-12 year old girls as is a safe environment for them to learn and play online. The educational slant makes it more purposeful, too.

Emily’s view
“It is funny that you can hatch cats, dogs, and anything else from eggs.” You take care of the animals by feeding them, giving them baths, and playing with them, and you can buy things for them like necklaces and crowns. You can “babysit” animals of friends by caring for them just like your animals, and friends can babysit your animals. If you don’t feed them, their jewels and crowns disappear and their faces look very mad or even cry. You can stick the animals in your house; the good part is they don’t mess it up.
In the learning games I like how you can earn scoops. They are fun games and just challenging enough.
I’ve only done a little bit of the math. I did more with anatomy and typing. I finished the anatomy and got a diamond; that is the highest level.
The videos are fun to watch, especially watching cats. You can suggest favorite videos be added, too. Some videos (with more of an educational purpose) have scoops awarded when I watch them.
You can earn scoops by doing the learning activities, by people buying things from your shop. The design studio is where you create the things you put in your house and things you sell. I like chatting with my friends.

From Swenja and Dr. Johannes Ziegler, Co-founders Always Icecream:
With Always Icecream, we’re trying to combine three important aspects of child-appropriate online learning in a unique way:
- Motivation: Girls experience Always Icecream as a fun “play” site, with a friendly community (parents can turn off the social features).
- Learning: Girls practice a wide variety of academic and practical skills in a playful way.
- Rewards and Recognition: Girls earn “$coops,” our in-game currency for playing learning games. This currency can be used to take care of online pets in -+
PetWorld and decorate homes in MiniWorld. Achievements are recognized through medals and special awards as well as progress reports to parents.
  With the parents account, you can chose between a “community” and an “educational only” version of the site, receive weekly progress reports, customize the educational content, and even use the site’s in-game currency to reward your daughter for practicing piano, or cleaning her room!

In addition, here is some “insider” information about what will be added to the site in the coming months:
- A creative set of math games to complement the basic math drills that you’ll find on our site today.
- Several new games in the “Christian education” section.
- An “advanced typing level” game to add to the “beginners” and “intermediate” typing games.
- And, in response to popular demand, a boys-only version of the site.

Disclaimer: As a reviewer for the 2011-2012 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was given a Scrubble Cube for the purpose of this review. Be sure to check out other reviews at the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog.



  1. Wow, I saw this review, panicked and thought I hadn't written mine. How do I forget what I've written so quickly!

    Great review! How did you get such a great quote from your daughter? My children always say something like "It was cool".

  2. Hey Jennifer! I'm so glad to find out about this site! I know Mary Grace will love it! I'm definitely going to try it out.

  3. Briana, Those comments were over time, and with a few question prompts. I think she shared so much though because she likes it so much.

  4. Wendy, The girls can even be friends on the website if they share codes. Em can send Mary Grace her code. :)


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