Saturday, June 19, 2010

Learning/Reading Systems

Lately I've been doing a research on what to give to my daughter who will be turning 3 in August because I want to give her something that she'll really enjoy and be engaged in. Not just another toy for our huge collection.
I came accross this learning system called the "MobiGo" by VTech, it just came out and it's recommended for kids ages 3-7. Most of these learning systems are recommended to kids at least 4 years-old, so I was happy this one wasn't. You can also buy different cartriges with her favorite characters and she plays while she learns phonics, numbers, math, etc. Kinda like a Nintendo DS, but aimed for smaller children. It is also touchscreen but it has a slide-out keyboard which is also kinda cool.
My only problem with this kind of stuff is that I'm worried she'll be so focused playing she'll forget about the world around her (just like all those boys that take their PSP everywhere they go and have no idea what's going on around them).
I wish I knew other parents that have bought this for their children to see what they think. Knowing my daughter though, I think she would play with it in the beginning but if she doesn't get it she's only going to pretend play; like she's typing on a computer or something. So I don't think it would be a problem for us.
Now speaking of learning systems, I've also found all kinds of products, like reading systems (a pen that actually "reads" to your child and supposedly brings the story to life), and even an animated reading system in which you put the book inside the system (of course it needs to be a special "cartrige" book) and it turns into a virtual book, you see the story on a screen, flip the pages with a touch of a button, there's music, games, you can touch each word and it will say the word, touch the pictures and they'll come to life, etc.

What the heck?! This seems really cool actually, but is it taking away from the child the experience of actually reading a real book? Are parents too busy nowadays, that they can't read to their children? Is it taking away the child's chance to imagine?

Would this actually take place of real books or be just like any other electronic toy they have, but better since it helps your child learn? Would they be even more interested in books because of the fact that they can remove the book from the learning system and actually flip through the pages and put it back in and see it come to life as if it were something magical?

As you can see, I'm really torn and I can't decide what I really think about these learning systems. I need advice- Even if you're not a mom, even if your kids don't own these, whatever! Just share your opinion and I'd be grateful!

On another note, what do you think would be a great gift for a 3 year-old girl? ;)


2 + 2 = 4 said...

Here are my 2 cents:

I am a firm believer that good habits are instilled from early age.

With that said, yours/mine children will grow up in the age of computers/iPads/iWhatevers are to come.

I think that teaching them to read a BOOK is something invaluable. Which is why I visit the library with my girls weekly. So, in my opinion, I'd steer away from something that replaces that experience.

"One of the most wonderful characteristics of new 3 year olds is their extended attention span for play, and their ability to play in more varied ways. This is the time in life when children start to develop and strengthen their creative and critical thinking skills. These are essential skills for solving problems, imagining and synthesizing new ideas, and thinking independently.

So look for toys that are creative and open-ended. These are toys that can have multiple uses and invite your child to think in new ways. One of the best toys you can give your child is a large set of good quality wooden blocks. Unlike many popular toys, there are no electronic "bells and whistles" on these. The action depends completely on your child's own thinking. The simplicity of blocks invite children to sort and build in a variety of ways. The trick is to have a good size collection that can be used creatively. Did you know that the great architect Frank Lloyd Wright felt he learned his craft from his childhood building block set? He kept a set on his desk throughout his life! (And remember, blocks are not just for boys.)

Another great toy category is dramatic play materials such as costumes, hats, dolls, props, puppets, and backdrops. Young children learn social skills from playing pretend. Pretending to be another character teaches language and literacy as well as empathy. Read some wonderful fairy tales and then provide your daughter with the props for reenacting the story her way. And don't forget to invite the neighborhood kids to play the other roles. One of my greatest memories from childhood is the plays we all put together based on familiar stories.

Finally, you can never have too many books. Books can become the doorway to new worlds, deeper understanding, expanded language and competent literacy skills. So provide a special area in her room or the house that is her very own reading nook and fill it with books, books, books."

Ellen Booth Church is a former professor of early childhood education, an education consultant and author.

My personal rule for those 3 yr olds when it comes to toys:

1. Things that get them moving
2. Things that let them explore their artistic talents
3. Things that encourage them to use their imagination

For my girls' 4th birthday, for example, we gave them a puppet theater. It took a while for them to catch on, but it has become a hit in our house. Whenever we have guests over...they have to sit for a show.

I love it.

Andrew, Sá e Johann said...

Oi Laine, finalmente estou aqui, hehehe, como disse, minha provas acabara e estou de volta a vida! Mas vamos lá... Um presente para uma menina de 3 anos???? Ahh, desculpa, por enquanto eu não tenho idéia. Seus filhos tem coisas legais demais já, não o que mais poderia ser tão interessante... Vou pensar e te falo.
Mas sobre os brinquedos que vc citou, eu particularmente, não gosto muito não. Sou totalmente contra video game e essas coisas que, na minha opinião, fazem a pessoa/criança, perder noção de tempo, espaço, sociedade e a deixa meio que viciada nisso. Tenho um cunhado com 4 filhos que esquece da vida quando está na frente do PS e deixa de fazer coisas e tira o controle da mão das crianças para jogar, e isso me irrita, sempre me irritou, um dos meus sobrinhos ta igualzinho, só pensa em video game e em qqr lugar que vai ele leva. Aqui em casa é proibido video game, hehehehe
Eu não sei como a Jasmine se comportaria com um brinquedo desse, eu acho que vai muito de educação também. Muitos pais querem mais é manter seus filhos ocupados com PSP, internet, video game, ou qualquer coisa que os deixem sentados (porque estão seguros) e sem dar trabalho por horas. Sei lá, eu posso estar errada mas não gosto muito dessas coisas, mas acho também que vai de criança para criança pq eu sempre tive video game em casa e nao sou vidrada nisso, sempre gostei mais de atividade ao ar livre, esportes, estar com pessoas, e ai que entra a parte da educação. SE o brinquedo vai ajuda-la a aprender e tal, vc pode estipular um limite de tempo que ela pode brincar e incentiva-la a fazer outras coisas, brincar de boneca, ir ao parquinho, dançar, etc, como vc já faz. Eu acho que vc não vai ter problema de ela só querer o compzinho (hehe, esqueci o nome do brinquedo) se vc ficar em cima.
Mas as vezes um jogo que ela possa brincar com vc ou um daqueles brinquedos educativos pode ser um bom presente também, sei lá. Aqu pert de casa tem uma loja soh desses brinquedos e tem um palco de fantoches que eu acho o máximo. A gente quer comprar para o Johann um dia, e ai vc compra os fantohes e fica fazendo teatrinho, inventando histórinhas, eu acho que deve ser bem legal além de estimular a criatividade... Ta ai uma sugestão. O legal é que vc podem fazer teatrinho ara o Eric e assim ele se beneficia do presente tbm, hehehe.
Mas é isso... Ta lindo o Blog, parabéns!
Tem problema escrever em português aqui??? Prefere que eu escreva em iglês?? Só me avisa.

Aline Carson said...

I LOVE the idea of wooden blocks, my daughter loves building. I know it would be a hit in our house. She already has a drawer full of costumes and wears them every single day. She's also got a reading nook and I agree with you that you can never have too many books.
I also hate the idea of having my daughter so engaged in a video game that she'll forget the world around her, in fact, I promised myself I wouldn't give my kids videogames until they were old enough to BEG for one. And even still they would have a certain time to play.
I think as parents we see all these new modern gadgets and it makes us forget a little bit about our child's development and how they learn best. I like the idea of a pupper theater like both of you said and I had one as a child as well. I used to love puppets and I think that would be a great gift as well. I was also reasearching wooden doll houses, but those are so expensive I think I'll wait till Christmas. But those are some great ideas girls, keep 'em coming!

Greg and Sherry said...

I agree with your comments!

All of you girls must have been raised by exceptionally great mothers--you are such mature mothers already!

I already have my sweet granddaughter's 3rd birthday gift. And it's not electronic. :) It was so much fun putting it together. (More fun than shopping for my 5 grandsons, I must admit)! :)
I just hope no one duplicates it. :[

Aline Carson said...

What is it?? What is it? Now I'm curious!! hehe ;)

Greg and Sherry said...

It's ballerina stuff--that's all I'll say. :) You don't know how excited I am to FINALLY have a little girly-girl!

Aline Carson said...

CUTE! Did you know I'm planning her a ballerina birthday party? She asked for it!

Claudia said...

When I was a kid, probably around 7or 8, my dad bought me this "computer" toy in Brazil that had learning books, which dealt with math and portuguese, among other things.
Even though I was fascinated by the fact it looked like a computer, that toy was one of my favorites because it seemed like I was always learning!
I LOVE books and I'm truly addicted to reading them. I believe both books and educational toys (even when they do look like videogames) can help your kid to learn good habits and see "learning" as a fun exercise instead of a "boring" time.