Friday, March 5, 2010

Ten educational products worth your $$

1. Cariboo. My kids love this game, and it's a good review of colors, shapes, counting, and letters--with beginning and advanced levels. I like the family time and teamwork. They also enjoy The Hungry Caterpillar Game, Chutes & Ladders, and Candy Land.

2. World Almanac for Kids Puzzler Decks. In age ranges from 3-13 on topics from Early Reading, math, U.S. history...these are made by one of the creators of Cariboo, and get my kids thinking.

3. Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. At first glance, I didn't believe my friend when she said she'd used it to teach all four of her kids to read; it looked dry and hard-to-use--of which it is neither. When you complete the lessons, your child will purportedly read at a 2nd grade reading level. It's methodical, and it's great to spend time together with a plan already laid out. Check it out before you buy; it may not be for you, but it's worked for a lot of people, and has been around for nearly 25 years--still getting 4 1/2 stars on Amazon.

4. Math Gear Fast Facts. My son loves to practice his math facts with these, and it helps me change things up a little.

5. Pattern blocks. Great for creating patterns and designs on their own, or mimicking designs that are easily found on the internet.

6. Marbulous--and more. This is a classic but affordable marble-run set. Along with Legos, build/rebuild Caterpillar construction sets from Mega Bloks, the Matchbox Mega Rig Space Shuttle/Rover, and our wooden train set that's been added to over the years, I am amazed at the opportunities for learning basic physics and engineering, creativity, and strategy skills that toys like these provide. When my kids are bored, I've got nearly airtight chances that one of these will interest them, and I like that they use their reasoning skills, dexterity, ingenuity, and both brain hemispheres.

7. Reader Rabbit/Jumpstart software. Though I'm sure opinions vary on this, I like teaching my kids basic computer skills (moving a mouse, pressing a key) through controlled programs--and I love when something makes learning exciting for them, to the point that they initiate. We have Reader Rabbit in pretty much every applicable age and subject, and my younger kids rarely tire of watching the oldest play--so they're picking up a lot, too. Jumpstart even has basic Spanish, as well.

8. Base Ten set. If you're helping with math homework a lot or are just beginning to homeschool, this comes in handy--though it's an investment of at least $20. It's a very visual, hands-on method of teaching place value, addition, etc.

9. Melissa & Doug floor puzzles. We have a lot of these: The human body, a world map, a U.S. map, the solar system... Running from about $13, they're hands-on and fun to do together. I have a couple of avid puzzle kids, and we also like these continent puzzles.

10. Audio books. My kids turn these CD's on in their room all the time. Their favorites include The Boxcar Children series, Anne of Green Gables, and The Magic Treehouse (...well, the only one they've heard). I also have friends who love The Chronicles of Narnia and Adventures in Oddysey (technically an audio drama, but great for faith education). Older kids might enjoy The Indian in the Cupboard. I've noticed an improvement in my kids' vocabulary just from listening--even our two-year-old loves these!--and I think it improves their imagination, too (my oldest flips it on while he's playing with Legos). Hint: It's been a great way to settle everyone down at lights out.


Sunday said...

get audio books from the library...then you get more with the $. I check the Sonlight Catalog read-aloud lists and then request those in audio from the library. Classics never go out and give your child a taste for better literature.

I second the open and go, systematic teach-to-read books. I've used Phonics Pathways with our kids. Currently working through it with Kate and she is doing well. Hayden did well with it too.

I would add building toys. Great for creativity and problem solving.

Oh and for computer time we love Starfall. Free, great phonics, and fun!

What about a "ban" about anything with batteries!!!

Enjoy learning with your kiddos. It's the best!


John and Janel Breitenstein said...

I concur with the building toys--and the library and Starfall! Thanks, Sunday!

Online toy shops said...

When I was small mom always buy me puzzles to keep me busy all the time. I love puzzles and it's my favorite present during Christmas and birthdays.

Online toy shops said...

When I was small mom always buy me puzzles to keep me busy all the time. I love puzzles and it's my favorite present during Christmas and birthdays.