Monday, November 3, 2014

Stone Soup Cooperative Game Review

Stone Soup Cooperative Game Review  

I got this game from a bloghop giveaway and was very excited to try it out! The girls and I had an interesting time reading the instructions. It is the first cooperative game that i had ever played with toddlers. Instead of playing against eachother we are playing to beat the game it's self!

The girls had a blast playing, even though it was about round 4 before they got the hang of not competing against eachother. Once we got the hang of cooperating instead of competing the game became even more fun.

There are several things we love about this game! First of all it can be played in about 15 minutes so you can do it in between other activities, as a quick restart to the day, or you can plan on playing several rounds during family game night! Because it promotes cooperating and working together we even play it when the girls are having a hard time getting along, it seems ot help them remember to be a team!

The only con to this game is that it is quick and it would be boring for children if they are over the age of about 8.

In order to play you turn the game pieces upside up, and see fi they are an ingrediant in the soup (which there are many ingrediants and a story to go along with them) or stones. If they are stones they could ruien the soup. There are even some cute twists and turns! One piece will give you the power to put back a rock but who holds the piece and rather or not they are willing ot use it comes into play. Find the right time to play this special piece and make sure everyone is on board :)

You can Buy Stone Soup on Amazon Here... to play at your next family game night. 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, however all the oppinions and experiances with this game are mine.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Upstart by Waterford Pre-School Online

Upstart by Waterford Review & Additional Useful Resources

Have you heard of Upstart? It's a free pre-school online that helps to teach children phonics, sight words, math skills, and science interest. Inara (our youngest) has been participating in the program for just over 2 months now, and we LOVE it! Read our full review below and learn  how you can sign up your preschooler for this program next year.

Upstart Review:

Let's start with signing up online. You simply go to the Upstart website and sign your child up if they meet the basic qualifications (they must be starting Kindergarten the year following when they start Upstart, and they must start at the beginning of the year or semester mark). It took us about 3 minutes to sign Inara up. However, after she was signed up it was radio silence until the beginning of the school year so that's a big of a wait.

Around the end of July we heard from an Upstart program manager who set us up for training. Yes we had to attend a training class and Inara got to try out the program on a little 'pre-evlauation'. The program is free and it's quite amazing, but you do have to agree to use it according to the terms and conditions. YOU MUST PARTICIPATE ON THE PROGRAM FOR A MINIMUM OF 15 MINUTES PER DAY 5 DAYS A WEEK. They stress that point over and over and over and over. They will even call and check in if you miss too many times within a week.

Once you attend training you can start using the program that day! And, they say that once your child reaches 2000 minutes they start to really take off on reading and math! One thing we've noticed about Inara is that she asks questions because she 'wants to test the answer' a thought process the program pushes during reading time and science exploration.

Inara plays most days for 15 to 20 minutes, however, there are other days like just recently on a long airplane ride that she played for several hours. AND SHE LOVES IT! She is learning to read at an alarming rate. She has already started reading the pre-reader books such as The Cat Sat on The Mat and is working her way up to Level 1 reader books quite quickly. In addition to reading she is now counting to 50 by herself, and is interested in other subjects such as astronomy and how bugs live. So far it's bee a joy, and days that are harder for her to sit down and work on it we do it together.

We have also found a few books and games that have really helped to reinforce the learning she's doing online and gives us a great opportunity to talk about her school.

Our list of additional learning resources we're using (these items are not recommended specifically by Waterford, they are just products we have found helpful).

1. Word Play: Sight Words (Now I'm Reading!: Pre-Reader)
2. Learning Resources Snap Cubes
3. Spot It! Alphabet
4. Zingo! Sight Words,
5. The Toddler's Busy Book For Beginners: The Best Inexpensive Creative Learning Games & Activities For Your Toddler (Toddler Games, Toddler Activities, Education ... Toddler Book, Preschool, Kindergarten,)

These supplies make it easy to continue learning as the program uses concepts, words, and math ideas that can be duplicated with the above items. Waterford also suggests reading to your child everyday, reading outloud especially when trying to learn can help children understand the concepts and reasons for learning to read.