[peeks head up, looks around]
Hello stranger…it’s been a while, hasn’t it?!
Getting geared up to move…
I’ve got a list of excuses.
How about we ditch all of those and concentrate on two reviews for today…one is a book and one is an Android tablet with a kid-friendly interface. Here goes…
Kurio Rocks Our World
We live in awesome times, folks. The wealth of information that is available on the internet, in print, and via audio that comes in all shapes and forms is absolutely staggering. About a month ago, my mom asked me if Emily would be interested in a Meep. After looking up what a Meep was, I was extremely excited, and a little disappointed when she said that she had gotten Emily a Kurio.
Actually, my dad got it for her, but that in itself is a long story, so…
I looked up Kurio as the device charged on Christmas Day. It looked absolutely fascinating.
I’ve been missing out on all of these mysterious “apps” I keep hearing about because we don’t own smart phones or tablets, just computers. It was tough to sit back and let Emily explore the Kurio, which came pre-loaded with hours upon hours of fun. On Thursday morning I couldn’t stand it anymore, I had to play with it!
Emily was still asleep and I began playing the Where’s My Water? game. The object of it is to problem solve how to get fresh water to Swampy, a sweet little alligator who just wants to take a bath. You have to dig in the dirt, tunnel around the rock, avoid the nasty purple sewage and any plant matter (which will suck up all of your water) while collecting bath items and getting all of the rubber duckies for maximum points.
It sucked me in and as soon as Emily woke up we sat down on the couch and continued to play – until the low battery warning flashed onto the screen. In the five seconds it took me to get up, walk over and plug it in, the screen went black. I didn’t think much of it until hours of charging later when it still would not revive. We tried everything, talked with tech support, and finally the tech people told us it had died. After two days! So yesterday we exchanged it for a new one.
I went ahead and added a few apps – Interactive Telling Time – Learning to tell time is fun – there is a free version and then a full access one for just $2.99. We had already tried out the free version and Emily liked it, so I went ahead and bought the full access version and installed it. I also purchased Learn To Count Money for 99 cents. It was NOT impressive and will not be useful until Emily can clearly add up to a $1.00 in coins.
My last purchase was Sight Words Sentence Builder which might be a good one. It reinforces the recognition of all Dolch sight words as well as proper sentence structure (i.e. capitalized first word and a period at the end of the sentence).
From my experience to date, having never worked with a tablet before, I am VERY impressed with the Kurio. It provides all kinds of learning games and entertainment for kids, plus the ability to switch over to a full Android tablet in parental mode. Emily loves it, and so do we. Probably a little too much. Thankfully, our child readily shares with us. That helps…a lot.
I had checked out a book from the library recently and, overwhelmed with all of the ideas and thoughts it had in it, determined I just needed my own copy. So I requested it for Christmas. Playful Learning: Develop Your Child’s Sense of Joy and Wonder has some excellent ideas in all categories: setting up a learning space, nurturing young authors, the joy of reading, mathematicians at work, scientific investigations, exploration of art and artists, growing globally, raising the citizens of tomorrow, and even some printables.
I especially like the low-key approach – and it was written by a mother and teacher. She founded her own school and then recognized that she was so involved in the school and creating learning opportunities for others, that she was missing out on time with her daughters. What she suggests is a fusion between school and home – a space where children are encouraged to learn while creating, reading, experimenting and exploring.
It isn’t just written for homeschoolers – but the activities and ideas apply to all children – homeschooled or otherwise.
So there you have it – learning while playing, playful learning, between the Kurio and this new book, I should have plenty to occupy our time. I’m looking forward to reporting soon that Emily has mastered the Dolch word list, can tell time past just the hour – and is well on her way to writing, reading and learning. Stay tuned for updates.
How about you? What learning activities and games are you excited about as we head into the new year?