Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Cosmo had been playing far too much jumpstart for my liking, and though I wanted to encourage his computer skills and fine motor (dramatic improvement since he started using a mouse), I wasn't always keen on the content. To their credit, jumpstart have a little note saying which areas are designed for each age group, but the problem was that there was nothing to stop a curious three year old clicking on an area designed for 11 -14 years old. To be honest, he also found the 3-5 year old content a little too easy and dull.
The constant ' to access this feature, ask your parents if you can become a member' was also really starting to upset him, to the point that when someone in the queue at the library asked about becoming a member he got really upset.
We talked a LOT about getting him a membership, but we really felt that some of the content was just unsuitable. We let it slide for a month because we thought it might just be halloween stuff, and by thanksgiving they would be done with it, but that hasn't been the case. The reality is that a lot of the game areas are based on enchantments, witchcraft and ghosts. It's are real shame because the educational content is fantastic.
That's when we rediscovered Bible Islands. You get a 7 day free membership to try it out, but even before that was up we knew we were going to buy it for him. He absolutely loves it, the games are simpler, he's drip fed scripture, and he's actually learning hebrew.
Yes, you heard that right. My 3 year old is learning hebrew.
More annoyingly, he's picking it up faster than I did.
Pushing my jealousy aside, I can see that it would be great to have him learn as we will be able to encourage and help each other with it. I'm shocked at how quickly he is picking up the alephbet, but I guess to a child who has just learnt all the alphabet, number and mat symbols, throwing in another set is no big deal. He learns through games like 'pairs' and earns reward coins. The coins can be used to go to the cinema (a new Max Lucado Hermie & Friends Cartoon every day), buy and trade cards for albums which tell bible stories, and much more.
There's logic puzzles and quizzes, a museum, an art gallery (where you can create works of art and showcase them, as well as looking at other peoples), geography and biology... and we've only just begun.
I think it's going to be worth every penny.
If you want to know more (please note, I am not affiliated or receiving any benefit for plugging this) here is a video I found on youtube.
We've really been enjoying watching the Frozen Planet series on BBC iplayer as a family on Sunday afternoon's. Lychee pretty much sleeps through it, but Cosmo is fascinated. So much so that the other week he clicked 'more like this' and found 'The Secret Life of Ice' and begged to be allowed to watch. It looked educational so I figured 'why not'? In fact, it looked a little too educational. I didn't think he'd last more than a few minutes.
I was wrong.
Not only did we end up watching the entire episode, he asked LOADS of relevant questions. I was amazed. The bit he found most amazing was how ice crystals formed under pressure (hot ice) and how supercooled water could form crystals instantly. In fact he though crystals in general were amazing and so we decided to look at them a bit more closely.
We made Rock Candy lollies.
If you want to have a go, the basic instructions are here. We made it a bit more exciting by doing jars with different coloured food dyes and flavourings in them, and put them in our boiler room to speed up the process. The most interesting part was that some of the colours/flavourings behaved differently and the crystals came out all different shapes and sizes, so we were able to talk about large crystals forming more slowly than small crystals etc...
I'd really encourage you to have a go with this experiment. It was great fun. Even a three year old (properly supervised with the hob) is able to carefully measure out the correct amounts of the ingredients and stir until they are completely dissolved.
I wish we'd taken photos, but we didn't, so here are some I stole from google, but they look pretty much the same.
Wednesday, 2 November 2011
It's not often I recommend paying for something, so I won't ;0) but I am recommending a book I recently borrowed from the library. Maybe your library has a copy too?
The book is called fun start by June Oberlander, and it's full of great ideas to help you encourage your child's motor skills, language and manners. It gives you an activity per week, from birth to age five, which are age appropriate, but more importantly easy and cheap (if not free)!
Games like practicing tiptoeing with a little song to improve balance a rhythm, opening and closing a safe cupboard (to satisfy the obsession with working out doors) and matching socks to encourage a feeling of purposefulness as well as hand eye co ordination.
The book also has a great section at the back devoted to solving common behavioural dilemmas, such as biting, throwing and 'lights on and off'.
There are short checklists at the back too, which give you an idea of 'average' development for each age group, so you can see which areas you could be helping your child work on, and which he/she is already excelling in.
I'm really enjoying this book, in the most part because the co-op we really want to join wont allow us to until my children are 'school age'. Which is another two years! I personally believe education should begin at birth and a book like this helps encourage mommas like me, who believe this, but don't know where to start.
On the same note, the homeschool baby looks like its going to be a great new resource. Add it to your reader and thank me later.