Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Savvy Source and Leapfrog Tag

I've recently had the opportunity to learn about the Savvy Source's Preschool Quiz and Leapfrog Tag courtesy of Parentbloggers. Savvy Source is a preschool learning consortium with tons of great recommendations for helping your child develop age appropriate skills. I took their quiz (if you look on my sidebar you'll see the link for the quiz and can also take it yourself!) and was intrigued by the results. It's very comprehensive, looking at all areas of development including language, music, art, math, science and movement. I answered questions in each of the modules and was able to get some recommendations (many of them are free) of games or activities I can do with my daughter to further enhance her development.

This was really good for me to do. Like many women, I work full time and I sometimes rely on her preschool more than I should for skills development. I realized while taking the quiz that there are some areas that neither we or her school are addressing and there are really simple ways to encourage different ways to learn those skills. I was particularly intrigued by the suggestions for math and music, two concepts I'd thought we were focusing on but after looking at the recommendations realize I'm not doing as well as I could be. So I've already been able to come up with some new activities that we can do together. It's interesting, because having a happy and secure child has always and will always be my highest priority, but if I'm honest, there are bits I am lazy about and this quiz helped me understand simple ways to harness my child's rampant curiousity and zeal for life. One free activity focused on fine motor skills, so I downloaded Three Beetles and we sat together and worked on drawing skills and we loved it. To M it was just another game but to me, it felt like teaching. Score one for mom.

We were also able to play with the Leapfrog Tag, an innovative reading device that I found quite brilliant. The Tag is an electronic "pen" that you connect to your computer and it easily downloads books you choose. Then you take the pen and use it with in partnership with the books. We were able to test Kung Fu Panda and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom but there are many others. It's so easy, all you do is turn on the pen and touch the book and it automatically reads the pages. M was thrilled, she sat next to me and listened to the books being read aloud and used the pen to start or stop or to play games on any given page. This is a terrific game for road trips, she can do it herself and was completely entertained. I liked it enough to order another book.

I found both the Savvy Source Quiz and the Tag to be a lot of fun and educational for me as a parent, but what I was most impressed with was the comprehensive understanding of preschool development and how simple it really is to foster a child's love for learning, whether music or math, in ways that I can embrace and M will love. It seems like this stuff should come naturally to me but it doesn't and so I found their ideas to be immensely useful, not only in practical terms of activities but in expanding my brain about the things I want to be mindful of and how easy it can be to learn together. The quiz is free, if you want to learn more you should click on it and give it a whirl, it takes about 15 minutes or so and is well worth the time, both in reflecting on where your child is at developmentally as well as ideas for new activities based on the results.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Clean your teeth consciously

I've recently had the chance to review the new Recycline toothbrush from Mom Central. The Preserve toothbrush is made 100% from recycled plastic, including yogurt cups, which as a mom I've recycled way more than my fair share. The toothbrushes are available at Target for only $2.04, which is less than other toothbrushes I used to purchase in the past. My child and I each had the chance to use one and I had no complaints, it's a perfect toothbrush but what makes it truly outstanding is the efforts Recycline has made to use recycled products in manufacturing it.
The other terrific news is when it’s time to replace your the Preserve toothbrush, you can print a mailing label from the Recycline website and mail it back (for free!) to be recycled into plastic decking, picnic tables and boardwalks!
We are all committed to doing our part, large and small for the environment so it's nice when some folks make it easier by allowing us to use recycled materials the first time around and offer to reuse them again and again. Great idea and a great toothbrush!