Educational Apps

If you follow my blog you know I really try to avoid screen time.  For over a year my kids were screen free 99% of the time and it was really great for their play, imagination, behaviour and development.  Lately I’ve allowed a little in for a few reasons.  One is mostly selfish – mommy is stressed and needs a break.  Another reason is that I’m finding it hard to cover all the areas I want to in homeschool without getting very overwhelmed and a third is that Pumpkin 1 has been difficult lately and resistant to doing anything or will say she wants to do something and then put no effort or thought into it and mostly lay around or act silly.  It seems this is common at age 4.  And so I now have 2 apps on my tablet which I really love.

The first is a tracing app.  I really like it because it’s simple and not flashy and you can even turn off sounds and animation to make it really basic.  It gives a lot of options to set up the program how you want.  You can see a demo below.

 

The other one is a coding app for kindergarten.  It’s also simple, cute, with limited animation and really develops thinking and prediction skills.  It’s just the right challenge level for Pumpkin 1.  She can do it but she really has to think.

 

Pumpkin 1 wants to be an astronaut and likes the watch the videos make by Chris Hadfield and has learned things from them that can’t really be taught from books.  She even wrote him a letter and got a reply.  I also allow some Hindi or French language shows as that gives them an ear for the correct pronunciation that I can’t give them.

My goal is to still be mostly screen free.  But I’m always evaluating how I’m doing things and making changes as needed.  Whenever I see any screen time is affecting them negatively I cut it out for a while again. I wish I could be completely screen free forever but that isn’t likely and I’m not supermom.

Advertisements

Home Schooling JK

We’ve been taking a break from home schooling because it was just too difficult with so many daycare kids.  But now that they’ve gone to school and I’ve got the school room/play room organized, we’re starting up again.  Pumpkin 1 is going to be 4 in November and so it’s time to take home schooling more seriously.  It’s also time to start doing more math activities.  I have a number of new math manipulatives.  I love manipulatives for math, being math challenged myself.

IMG_0642 IMG_0645

This is two sets of rods from a cusinaire rod set I bought.  They’re great mini red rods.  You can do so many activities with them.  Comparing length, counting, matching, sorting.  We did one set from tallest to shortest and then I showed her how you can combine each rod with a different rod to make them all the same length.  She really liked that and caught on quickly.  This is a great pre-math activity.  I purchased this set from amazon.  The tray is from a M&D block puzzle.  It helps her to line them up without the frustration of bumping them.

IMG_0641

These tiles are from a game called Qwirkle.  They’re great for patterning which is an important pre-math and pre-literacy skill.  You can also do colour or shape sorting with younger children and play the game memory with them.  You can purchase this from amazon as well.

IMG_0646

Shape pattern pictures and tangrams are also great pre-math activities.  In fact one study found children who did tangrams before a math test scored better than those who didn’t http://www.parentingscience.com/tangrams-for-kids.html.  This set Pumpkin 1 is playing with is a magnetic one by Melissa and Doug.

IMG_0647IMG_0616

Pumpkin 1 really dislikes the sandpaper letters.  I was so excited when I found these tracing boards from Alison’s Montessori.  She really likes tracing those letters and the first time I brought it out she wanted to learn more and more letters.  Today I added the sand tray however I don’t think she’s quite ready for it yet.

IMG_0630

Pumpkin 1 has started working with the moveable alphabet.  She recently started to catch on that you can write words with letters.  Of course after her name she wanted to write “Elsa” (really, she doesn’t watch TV, really lol).  Then she wanted to write all the other names she know only names aren’t usually phonetic so it was….interesting.  I got the carpet from Walmart.  I wanted one with stripes for lining the letters on.  She did need a lot of help with this activity.

IMG_0648

Later on she played with the Discovery Toys Motor Works.  I didn’t think she’d be able to do it but she figured it out with some help and took apart the car and air plane.  This is a great activity for promoting the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects, especially in girls.  This kept her busy for a long time.  It also got Daddy involved when he came home.