“Instead of thinking outside of the box, get rid of the box.”
In the spirit of creativity, Amazon just released new updates and parents are encouraged to take full advantage. A remake of a previously established streaming service (FreeTime Unlimited) through Amazon, now has a creative new approach. This streaming service(Amazon Kids+) now includes kid friendly audio books, videos, and apps.
Amazon proclaims that parents will achieve peace of mind, given the control settings listed within the application including age restrictions, time limits, and profile creation. Learn more Here .
Are you a little weary of the same ole 2020 virtual learning? However, still looking for another way to interact with your preschooler that still caters to their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) growth? Check out these top STEM toys for preschoolers and older:
1. Osmo – Little Genius Starter Kit for Fire Tablet
Ages- 36 months-5 years old
This interactive toy allows for your child to play alongside their tablet. As the tablet prompts a letter, your child can also create this letter using their manipulative manner. The tablet will then demonstrate the same figure on the screen.
Amazon is currently offering this item for under $20! However, an Amazon Fire is required to use. Click Here to view this hot holiday item!
2. Kidtastic Microscope Science Kit for Kids – Fun Learning Toys for Preschoolers – STEM Toy for 3 Year olds
Ages 3 and up
This STEM toy/tool re-enacts the viewing of microbiology using a kid-friendly microscope. While this educational toy is a little more in the costly side, $34.00, it does come with multiple “specimen” slides and lenses. Click HERE to view it!
3. JIAHCN See and Spell Educational Toys for Toddlers, Montessori Sight Word Learning Game
While this you involves more cognitive development, “letter recognition, word, and picture recognitions,” STEM can be intertwined using one of the 28 included picture cards. This is another great find for under $20! Click HERE to view!
4. STEAM Play & Learn: 20 fun step-by-step preschool projects about science, technology, engineering, arts, and math!
Looking for a step-by-step, on how to conduct STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) for preschoolers at home and in the classroom, this is for you! Under $15, and filled with experiments and opportunities for hands on exploration! Click HERE!
5. FIOLOM Gear Interlocking Building Blocks Fine Motor Skills Learning STEM Educational Building Toy Plastic Construction Connect Gear Set
Help your preschooler get a grasp of their fine motor skills along with learning other concepts such as problem solving. This is another great deal for under $20! Click HERE!
Celebrating birthdays during the pandemic can be tricky. With social distancing guidelines in place, it makes it difficult to hold birthday celebrations, in person. Virtual birthday celebrations can be simply planned and orchestrated.
If you are planning a virtual birthday celebration, here is a cute video to share with your child or student:
Technology is flowing full steam ahead. With that, being in quarantine has forced creativity to sore at an all time high in most households, especially those with young children. Although, this is a “different” time, innovative interactions are taking place for our youngest learners.
If you are an educator or a parent that is looking for creative ways to excite your preschooler while Zoom video calling, this is for you!
Here are 20 Ideas When on Zoom With Your Preschoolers:
1. Virtual Hide and Seek Around the House- Have your preschooler give you clues where they have chosen to hide. Make sure mom or dad is supervising to ensure safe hiding places are happening
2. Cooking with My Teacher– This is a great way to talk about sequence (First, Next, Then, and Last) when cooking! “What are you mixing together first?”
3. Drawing Together/Free Art
4. Virtual Story time
5. Letter Activity (Flash cards)– Show flash cards on the screen and pause for student to respond. Creating online flash cards and using a split screen such as Flip Grid is another option.
6. Grocery shopping with my Teacher- Schedule a time to Zoom while the student is grocery shopping with parents. Practice naming some of the items you see in the store
7. Virtual Circle Time with Friends
8. Show and Tell- This can include favorite toys, household pets, drawings, etc
9. Practice Counting Together
10. Practice ABC’s Song
11. Collect Rocks and Plants from outside and show them off
12. Gardening with my mom/dad and teacher- Schedule a Zoom and plan for your student and parent(s) to plant flowers or vegetables
13. Practice lacing shoe strings
14. Talk about why people are wearing masks
15. Encourage healthy habits– If your preschooler says they need to use the restroom or sneezing, be sure to encourage healthy habits, even virtually
16. Playlist Sing-A-Long
17. Have Your Preschooler Showcase their skills- “Hop on One Foot! Hold Your Left Arm in the Air!”
18. Eat Lunch Together- Schedule a Zoom during your students lunch time and chat it up
19. Nature Walk in Backyard
20. Scavenger Hunt Around the House- Provide pictures and names of safe items that may be in your preschoolers home like “Window,” “Light,” and “Sock”
While these aren’t all sure signs that your preschooler will stay engaged during the entire Zoom video call, these are great learning and interactive opportunities!
If you’ve been looking for game creation without coding, Educandy is the answer!
Educandy allows teachers and parents to create FREE interactive and educational games for young children. I went through the process and the instructions are extremely easy to follow and have a fast turnaround. In all, the process took about 10 minutes.
Upon creating a new login, I was directed to 3 different game options:
1. Create a list of words
2. Matching Pairs
3. Quiz Questions
Since I was gearing the activity towards early learners (ages 3-5), I went with the first option of Create a list of words.
After selecting the Words option, and labeling the game category and title, I was then able to list my choice of words.
Once the list is complete, a sample of the game can be experienced by the creator. For this game, children are given a stopwatch and a small cheerleader emoji as they work to spell each word. This is a great game to enhance language development by practicing letter sounds, spelling, and reading.
There are several ways to share the games including issuing out a game code. This code will be asked to be imputed once the application has been downloaded.
If you’re looking enhance overall engagement in virtual learning or while working from home with your child, give Educandy a try!
Hey Cool Momma! Did you know you can use your Apple Phone to record your voice? If you want to record a goodnight/good morning song (working moms), short message, alphabet song or record a message to calm your child while he/she is at childcare, this is a great tech option. Find a text buddy (grandma, teacher, parent) and send your message. These can also be downloaded for email use.
Here is a list of ways to connect preschool learning with technology:
Technology in learning is booming right now. Not only are teachers seeking for innovative ways to integrate technology into learning, parents are having to also integrate their devices into their child’s learning.
1. Take nature walk photos and print them:
🍁 Take a short nature walk around your house, neighborhood or park. Take pictures of the things you see (I.e. leaves, trees, flowers, dirt, water puddle). After the walk, print the photos and allow your child to glue them in a journal (this can be a spiral notebook or made with construction paper).
2. Letter/Shape Tracing
Letter tracing can be done using FaceTime, Google Duo, and iOS Messages for immediate free options. There are many letter tracing apps available on iOS and Android, as well such as the ABC Kids App.
To enhance the fun: Find a messaging buddy for your child (i.e. teacher/parent) to exchange the letter messages between parent/child/educator. The teacher can send the letter via message and allow the child to respond with their hand written letter.
3. Story time
YouTube Kids offers free and short story time videos for young children like The Very Hungry Spider. To gauge attention, stick to engaging/short videos. Parents can pause the videos to discuss what is being seen in the video.
If you have a touch screen device, the use of E-Books can allow your child the opportunity to “turn the page” of the story as you read aloud. Using E-books allows the parent to be involved in the learning experience and the child to be actively present in the story by presuming responsibility for turning the pages or scrolling to the next page. Free E-Books are not as difficult to find as in the past. Oxford Owl has an online E-Book library that can be categorized by age group and made downloadable. Also, Free Kids Books has a library of online e-books ready to download for Free.
5. Record Dramatic Play
Record your child playing dress up. Make it into a movie! Dress up with your child and act out a scene. Afterwards, play back the movie using your device and talk about it with them.