Games & toys that are budget friendly:
There are a million and one ways to keep yourself and your kids entertained, and as a middle class mom-preneuer I would like to share some of the awesome ideas and sources for finding things to do for the entire family.
Besides DIY crafts, I am a deal-finding-maniac that consistently help friends and family find what they are looking for, at the absolute BEST DEAL POSSIBLE.
Hollar is a fun website to check out because they have all sorts of toys and home goods at a MAJOR discount. You gotta pay attention to what you are getting because the quality of a lot of items are not the best. If you know what you are looking for though, you can catch some awesome deals.
Electronics or no electronics???
The great part about being a parent is that we can re-live being young again, and really dive into the pure joy of discovery of life and all of the other things that make our little one's eyes twinkle:)
Fun never has to be expensive, for sure, and I can't imagine (HONESTLY) coming into this world with as much electronic input as our kids do.
The Positive Side of Electronics:
At first, I will admit, I was a bit “judge-y” about having an ipad, and other electronics at such a young age. Now that I have a two year old, I see how flipping quickly she learns from game son my phone, and I really have to say that she would probably not know her shapes and colors like she does already!
As long as you make the passive learning (watching tv or playing educational games) into active learning (ie grabbing different color items in your house to demonstrate color variation in real life) then you can enrich their learning experience by so much more. Also, they are learning how to use electronics which are going to be everywhere as they advance through schooling.
Color and shapes has to be a tough concept to grasp, but the way that these apps are created, you can tell it is made by either teachers and/or parents that want their kids (and others!) to excel in the academic world. That gives me the guilt-free pleasure of finding and sharing these games for myself and other families that want to be able to provide an effective early learning tool right from the comfort of our own homes.
If you are still skeptical of letting you little one even touch and iphone or any kind of device, I totally get it, but I have to say that they really do receive the information well and seem to be able to grasp HUGE concepts like color and shape at a very young age.
If the games were not educational, believe you me, she would not be able to get her hands on of one of our devices, BUT because she now knows how to sort colors, shapes, animals to the correct environment…gradation (of size, color AND shape !) , honestly I am ok with her playing with my phone and the android device we have available in the house.
Caution: Make SURE their games are
Of course I will baby proof it by playing every single game that I install just to make sure that it is appropriate- because some of them SHOCKINGLY are not….but most of them are.
Talking Tom was a game that seemed harmless at first, but I am so glad that I tested it out because I realized that every time you would touch the cat himself, it would act like you were beating him up. It had all kinds of other cool features, but for me the violence part was a deal breaker. It may seem minor to some people, but that is something I cannot let my baby girl see as being okay.
Look them up by age and theory that you are looking to teach them, and VWAAHH-LAA…you have a genius baby.
I let her play on them for an alotted amount of time during the day. Once I see she is getting bored with them I will delete the apps that she loses interest in, and restore them with new learning activities.
ABC Mouse is the new one we are loading up tonight. Kids are supposed to be two years of age, but she is already so far ahead from the other apps that she is ready to try ABC Mouse.
Precious Learning Moments :
I will never forget the night that I sat there and watched her play with my phone as she first figured out her colors and shapes. She was squealing with delight, as was I!
There is nothing like watching the babe that is a part of you, discover some HUGE concept in life that will forever change how she looks at things from day to day. Not only that, but we read a book every single night before bed.
As a BABY (3 months and above!) she would just sloppily grab a book up, sit with one leg crossed over the other, and “read” whichever book we had on hand. It was freaking adorable, but that is when i realized that she was super smart and willing to learn and enjoyed reading.
As a mother, that was an amazing feeling!
All rambling aside, I would love to share all of the apps that have basically taught my baby girl how to take a gigantic leap in the world of education!
Raising little ones in a world of crazy Technology:
Even if you were like me and thought that technology was nothing but terrible…my daughter is PROOF that early literacy is possible and the earlier you start putting these concepts in front of them, the better their brain will accept and create awesome synapses for.
Of course there is the issue of technology dependence and things like that, but that is where our parenting GENIUS and control kicks in and limits their time with technology. Allow them to experience the magic of it, but also to realize that it is NOT NECESSARY and in fact important to live their life without a dependence on it.
Schools now will be teaching their lessons a lot more often than we had, through computers, so it is actually pretty vital that we encourage their confidence with it, but also to inflict the importance of organic knowledge WITHOUT technology.
So, that is our struggle…but I think we can give our children a much brighter future with all of the knowledge that is so readily available…as long as we are careful to integrate the dyer necessity of questioning WHERE the sources of information are coming from online, and that things they read online simply may not be true.
One of the MANY parenting challenges:
My baby is only two, so I am trying to take everything as it comes because things are changing so rapidly, but trying to figure out how I can use technology to her intellectual advantage while avoiding the bullying and the possible sources of FALSE information.
If you would like to super charge your babe's body ofknowlege…please check out my list of phone apps below that will skyrocket your child's early learning capabilities.
Our favorite apps:
ElmoCalls & CookieMonster Calls-they “call your child” and will teach them things like eating healthy, everyday chores, colors, and so much more. You get a few videos for free, but can buy more in the app. (For Android and Iphone).
Body Parts For Kids– Once you touch a part of the face (or whichever part of the body you choose- nothing wierd, COMPLETELY child proof!) that single feature will stand out and say which one it is. So, say you touch the eyes, the rest of the face will fade away and only the eyes remain and it voices the word eyes.
Fruits and Vegetables For Kids– Each fruit and vegetable in the game is visually and verbally identified.
Shapes & Colors Sorting Games– This is THE ONE that my 19 month old daughter learned her shapes and colors from…and is currently working on learning animals and the appropriate environments that they live in. AMAZING APP! You can play a few of them for free, but this one was worth the few dollars to upgrade.
Shapes & Colors For Babies– This is a great one for learning shapes, colors, and sizes. The free version is great, but this is another one that my daughter really responded to, so this one I paid a few extra dollars for the upgrade-totally worth it!!!
Potty Training Game– this is an adorable bear that you can manipulate around his house with things like playing with toys, petting his cat, but then there is a big signal that he has to use the restroom. You have to make the bear go through the bathroom door, go sit on the toilet, once he is done you have to grab toilet paper and flush, and then he must wash his hands. A cute way to help get your little one excited for using the bathroom and see exactly what they need to do.
Peekaboo Barn Lite (free version)- This one makes an animal noise as the barn is closed and then they have to choose one of three animal pics. Once they choose the correct animal according to the noise the animal makes, the barn doors open and they can see a cartoon pic of that animal.
Bubbu My Virtual Pet- you must feed the cat, bath him, brush his teeth, dress him...pretty much all the everyday activities they are learning to do already.
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