Sunday, 7 July 2013

Round-up: Favorite Digital Resources

Because fellow corporate moms need all the help we can get, I'll start to round up some favorite digital resources that we've used and loved starting two years old.  I am by no means an expert nor an educator (except at heart), but if this saves some mom some time one day, I'd be happy.

For alphabet recognition, I used Starfall constantly - that's what we were doing in the picture above - and since the iPad was born a few years ago they now have an app (but not free).  You Tube options are overwhelming, so save yourself some time and just use these:

From L-R: Starfall website, Alphabet Song, Phonics Song.

App options (L-R): Toddler ABC and ABC Zoo (free); the last three are not-so-free - Fish School, Interactive Alphabet, and ABC Food (there's also ABC Wildlife, ABC Go, ABC Play).

Ladybug Girl could read at 3 years old, but we didn't use any branded program to learn.  We just made reading our special bonding time and I started to use my finger to point out words when she turned two - that's it!  But I was inspired by My Mommyology's experience with Your Baby Can Read program (read her thorough and insightful review here).   We just happened not to need it after all, since Ladybug Girl went into hyper-learning on reading soon after.  Montessori calls this a "sensitive period" of focus and intensity.

How about the Solar System?   This may feel pretty random and it probably is!  Haha.  The Mind Museum sparked this interest, so I followed it.
Download printable coloring sheet here and make your solar system.  I  just taped two black sheets together.
She cut out the sun with my help and drew some 'constellations'.

As usual we learn everything through song first.  These are as catchy as that damn "Cups" song I once loved and now hate.

L-R: The Solar System song of blurbs about each planet; and the Planets song repeating the order from the sun.

After these songs we did some hands-on learning through matching and identifying the planets through these nomenclature cards, which is just a fancy name for a flash card.

I also left these as a leave-behind activity on a contact paper wall.
I didn't take a pic though.

It kind of snowballed from there into Ladybug Girl memorizing the song "Far Out" from Blur, which I loved and sang to her one bedtime.  The song lists moons in the solar system.  It's such a kick to hear this little voice singing "Phoebe... Io... Elara... Leda... Calisto".

Watch the 30-second excerpt here

The world of pattern blocks.  This probably has the richest resources online that I've come across.  Career-level, these moms!  Pattern blocks are my fingers-crossed-this-works-for-math tool.  No idea yet, but I figure at least for savings that one set of blocks is better than buying a lot of puzzles.

We got these at Fundamentals in Fort, or you can also try Hobbes and Landes).
You can also just print and make your own here - just follow the colors.

We use it for free-hand art with contact paper, sticky side out:

Or for sorting and learning the shapes:

Or with downloadable patterns to make tanagrams:

I find it causes less frustration to use contact paper over the pattern printable to prevent the blocks from moving around.  It makes a great leave-behind activity on our shelf:
Ladybug Girl had trouble getting what a pattern was until I introduced them through "Finish the Pattern" song on iTunes and these printables above here.

We do have some tanagram apps, but none that I'm thrilled with and she doesn't show much interest in the digital versions of these.

Toca Boca apps on the iPad.  These deserve a special part all on their own - we have them all!  I am equally in love with them as Ladybug Girl is, because I love the design.

These apps are mostly for three years old and up.

This app taught Ladybug Girl the concept of symmetry:
If you draw on one wing, the same happens on the other wing.

She started with random drawings (left) until she realized the symmetrical pattern she could make (right).  The butterfly also says "how symmetrical!" and that was great for explanations.

The real proof was how she made a symmetrical design on this Taro Gomi doodle mat using the materials in her art bag.  We take this along during restaurant meals.
If you don't want to pay for the app, you can use this clever idea to teach symmetry using a mirror.
from Play At Home Mom.

Thank you Mr. Internet and Steve Jobs.  They were working parents too, weren't they?


  1. How sweet! May special mention pa ako! haha (just as I am writing my blog post that makes special mention of you! ;)

    Yes YBCR - worked a bit on Jamie but I find she's more interested in reading books than the words itself. Might have something to do with her personality! ;)

    We use a lot of what you use here too! Yay! Nice to know I'm doing something right.

    1. How sweet and uncanny indeed that we linked up to each other! And also that our daughters are really alike. Thank you for the post and link, Jen (I can't seem to leave a comment on your blog)!


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