Friday, December 17, 2010

Tiny Planets Review

When I first became a new mom, I was surprised at the amount of children's programing available even for the youngest children. This was back about 9 years ago when we had cable TV. We have since discarded the cable subscription and have never regretted it! One program I remember my children enjoying was called "Tiny Planets".  "Tiny Planets features the cosmic adventures of Bing and Bong, two whimsical aliens who travel the Universe of Tiny Planets together on their gadget-loaded plush sofa. With Bing and Bong, children are encouraged to think for themselves, assume social responsibility, take care of our planet and learn about the mysteries of space."

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was sent a link found Here to a website called Tiny Planets. The site offers games, and educational lessons, books and short episodes of the "Tiny Planets" show among other things. It is basically an online interactive version of the TV show. You can upgrade the site and purchase "keys" which allow you to upgrade your spaceship and watch more episodes and gain access to more features in the site. Children who really enjoy space will like this site. There are games, puzzles and activities for children to play. Adults are welcome to use the lesson plans and keep track of their little space cadets. To begin using Tiny Planets, you create a "Cadet Account" for each child. The site is protected and you are not able to live chat with other players, so it is safe for children to navigate. It is also "ad free" and according to the site is geared for children ages 4- 12.

My preschoolers/ non- readers were very limited with this site. They can watch the episodes but to navigate the site was difficult for them since reading was required and the directions on how to fly the spaceship and what the mission was for each Cadet was written out and not spoken. My 9 year old was a bit too old to enjoy it because she watched them when she was in preschool, and just associates Bing and Bong with entertainment for "babies". My first grader (currently age 6, soon to be 7) seemed to be the perfect age for this site.

The site is beautifully put together, the graphics are stunning and it has won many awards from others in the industry, but I am not sure it is something that we as a family would use very often. As I said earlier, we no longer have a TV so we really try to avoid watching it even online. My personal philosophy to teaching my children social responsibility/ interaction is to be out in the real world actually engaging socially with real  people, not sitting home playing video games on the computer. I will say, considering the site is free, it is worth a look around to determine for yourself if it would be a good fit for your family, just go to: Tiny Planets and check it out.

My other TOS Crew Members were also sent this site to review, so I would encourage you to go to the Crew Blog and see what they had to say.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent this link at no cost to myself in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

North Star Games, Wits & Wagers Family

Once December 1st hits we put our home in full Christmas mode. Our family has a tradition where each day our children get to pick a special treat out of our little December calender. Sometimes the treats are "stay up late" or "go to the Library" or, "bake cookies". One treat that we especially enjoy is "play a board game". Each night is different, and the children really enjoy this special tradition.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was sent a board game called "Wits & Wagers Family" made by North Star Games, and I knew it would be a good treat to include in our December tradition. The game, found HERE, is geared for ages 8 and up, however, I included my 5 & almost 7 year old and they enjoyed playing it very much. Once the package was opened, it was very easy to learn the rules of the game and to set it up. We did a practice round and then started playing. The game can be played with 3-10 players, but if you have more players than that you can divide into groups.

The overview on how to play the game from the company says it best "Wits & Wagers Family gets family members of all ages involved in the fun! Play individually, or divide into teams. Each player (or team) writes down a guess to a question and places it on the table. Feeling confident about your guess? Place a meeple on it. Think mom knows better? Place a Meeple on her guess! Place your Meeples correctly and win points. The first player or team to reach 15 points wins!"

The game was a fast set up and to play one full game took about a half hour. I loved that even my 5 year old didn't have to know the right answer. She could participate and even win points just by guessing. I loved that it did have a slight educational value to it since they were guessing trivia facts, such as how many Teaspoons in a Tablespoon? 

North Star Games also produces other family games and can be found HERE. If you are interested in purchasing this gift for Christmas (it would make a great family gift) look HERE. It retails for $19.99 and can be found at local toy stores and retailers such as Target. My fellow Crew Mates also reviewed this game and if you want to see what they had to say about this product go HERE.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent Wits & Wagers Family at no cost to myself in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Good Morning, God TOS Book Review

If someone I knew was looking for a sweet bible study to do with young children, I would recommend the book Good Morning, God, published by Apologia Press, written by Davis Carman. It retails for $14 and is beautifully illustrated. You can purchase it HERE or follow the link to simply read the product description.

The book is suited for children 1-8 years of age, however, there are many ways to adapt the book to allow slightly older children to enjoy it with the rest of your family. For example, we read the book straight through as if it were a story. The end of the book contains questions and activities to do with your children. Apologia also offers a companion coloring book to go along with the story for $4.00.

You can also use the book as a bible/ unit study with your children. We follow the main character in the book from Sunday through the following Sunday. Each day has scripture listed for us to reference based on the activity that the main character of the story is doing. For example, on the first Sunday in the book, the main character is worshipping God at Church , the activities for that day include reading Revelation 21: 1-7 and asking questions such as " What is the Church?".  Then you discuss it with your children. This particular Sunday that I am using for my example has 8 questions, scripture readings, or activities to go along with it.

This book is a wonderful and engaging way to teach even our smallest children about our Creator and Father in Heaven. It also allows the literal application as a parent of Deuteronomy 6:6-7 where we are told to impress these commands on our children's hearts and talk about them when you sit at home, when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

I love this book and hope to see more like it. Don't just take my word for it, check out what my fellow TOS Crew Members had to say about this book HERE

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent this book at no cost to myself in exchange for an honest review.