Friday, August 31, 2007

print your kid

I had the great pleasure of reviewing Print a Kid recently. They create personalized books for children and the good people at Parentbloggers gave me a chance to give it a spin.

The end result is a fantastic, personalized book that your kid will love. And the website is so easy to use. You choose from a selection of books and they walk you through the personalization, from the skin/hair color of your own child to the names of friends and family. M is having a birthday next week so I chose their birthday book and now she has a really cool book memorializing her name with a personal dedication from us, her birthdate, and a story about a party with all of her friends and family in starring roles.

I love this book so much that I keep taking it out after she goes to bed to look at it over and over. I cannot wait to give it to her next week because I know that she will absolutely love a whole book (a real, honest to god book) all about her and her friends. And the illustrations are terrific too. The story is basic, but it's secondary to the fact that it is personal and fun and a really great idea. I have a feeling we'll be reading it over and over.

This is one of the best products I've reviewed so far and I've never had so much fun doing it. If you are looking for a gift for your kid or for someone else's I highly recommend this as a fun and affordable way to go. You can check it out for yourself at the website above and if you do, I'd love to hear what you think.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

the wonderful world of words

We all know TV is the devil but it's the devil we know and love, some of us more often than not. We've really taken a hard line lately because if M is watching it I want her to be learning something and not simply running around the house screaming "To The Rescue!" So when I had the chance to check out a preview of a new PBS series called Word World courtesy of the good women at Parentbloggers I jumped at it. I wanted to review it especially because M is really on the verge of putting letters together. She's just starting to realize that letters actually add up to something and that something makes for a bigger something. A way to read. And that my friends spells freedom for her imagination.

So we settled in with some bananas and our DVD. There were two 11 minute shorts and each was a vignette of sorts with a variety of brightly colored characters made out of distorted letters themselves. I tried to see if M would notice the letters in the shapes but she couldn't figure it out. The cartoons themselves were engaging and slightly annoying to me but less so to her. We watched them twice and M seemed to like them well enough but I was hoping for more chances to create words. Each piece had one or maybe two words it actually spelled, and after watching it twice M was able to say which word they were spelling which was pretty cool but not as cool as it would be if there were several words spelled during each show.

But these are just 11 minutes long and I think the show will be in 30 minute segments which will most likely lead to more spelling. All in all it was interesting enough to make me watch an episode when it comes out in September but I'll mostly be watching to see how educational it ends up being. If the shows practice spelling 4-5 words per episode I think it might be something we'd let M watch. Because spelling is where it's at and I'll take it over River, Backpack, Map! or however that non-educational type formatting goes any day of the week.