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Learning Skeleton Anatomy

A while ago I came across a printout of the bones in the human body. You can find the file on my Pinterest board here. It prints on 6 pages and you simply tape it all together. I have been meaning to do the activity with my kids since Halloween but life got in the way.  Well, in the last month we began watching some Amamaniacs learning songs on Youtube that I remembered from my childhood. Just search “Animaniacs bones” on youtube, with or without written lyrics, as you prefer.

The kids love it! They are fun and we are starting to learn the words although they are sung very quickly, so you might want to play it at the .75 speed setting. Although not all of the names match up exactly (they say finger bones vs. phalanges, etc) many of them do and it’s greatly boosted their interest in learning the names of the bones! (Note- The word evolution is mentioned once in the song for those that are sensitive to secular influences.)

I printed out the skeleton on cardstock and then added a colored dot on every place that needed labeling to serve as a visual cue. I then created labels using my label maker for simplicity, but of course you can just write them directly on the printout, on blank labels, or you could get creative and even make your own magnet labels for repeated use.

The kids matched up the labels using an answer key and generally had a great time! I have been reinforcing the bone names with Owen especially whenever we pass through the kitchen and it usually ends in tickling, giggles, and lots of hugs. 🙂 “Where is Owen’s frontal bone? Where is Mommy’s patella?” and so on.  The only downside is that the refrigerator is a dangerous place to hang paper in regards to spills and things, but I don’t intend for it to last forever so I didn’t bother laminating it. Overall, it’s been a super project and we are having fun solidifying their knowledge of the bones. Give it a try with your kids!

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Free Infant Visual Stimulation Flashcards

Did you know that stimulating your baby’s VISION is a great way to stimulate their BRAIN?

Newborn babies are born with retinas that are not fully developed. Your retina helps you differentiate color in the world around you, but a baby’s immature retina can only detect high contrasts between black and white, or light and dark objects. Those sweet baby pinks and blues you picked out to decorate the nursery? Your little one just sees them as one great big pastel blur!

So what can you do? You can provide your baby with lots of black and white images to enjoy, such as these: FREE PRINTABLE FLASHCARDS

From there, simply click the yellow BrillBaby tab as shown here:

And then scroll down to the bottom of the page.

If you prefer, durable glossy versions of the infant stimulation cards are available in the forum shop for $15.

Babies crave input to stimulate their brain development and the brain builds itself by forming connections. Of all the five senses, vision takes the longest to develop but it also has the highest impact on the brain. The more visual stimulation your child receives, the more their neural network will expand and connect. A well connected brains results in a smart baby! With continual stimulation, your baby’s retina, optical nerve, and visual parts of the brain will blossom from the use of high contrast images.

Happy Teaching!

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KidStart Spanish Review

Hi Guys! Here’s my review of Reading Amigo, as originally posted on my old blog and migrated here.

It’s a very cool program! And Ricardo Cuevas over at Reading Amigo is a fellow early learning parent and member of BrillKids, one of my absolute favorite early learning forums. If you have any questions about the program he is super friendly and helpful, as is the customer service department who responds in inquiries very quickly.

www.kidstartspanish.com

I had the opportunity to try out Reading Amigo with my kids, a new program to help teach your child to read in Spanish. We were excited to try this set as we have a decent collection of kids DVD’s with Spanish audio options but very few that teach reading, which I believe is one of the most vital parts of learning a new language. From the KidStart Spanish Website:

How the Program Works

Your child watches the videos and will start to associate written words with their related action scenes.

Your child will hear the spoken words from the video and will start to associate sounds with written language.

By saying the words the child will reaffirm the connections between the visual, and audio imagery in the child’s mind.

By touching and playing with physical objects using interactive tools such as our Ipad and iPhone, your child’s mind will once again reaffirm and cement the newly acquired language. The complete path is completed between the audio, visual imagery, and the related motor skills.

The DVDs and flashcards teach words and phrases from the following subjects:

• Greetings
• Body Parts
• Household items
• Classic Children’s Music
• Barnyard Animals
• Foods
• Shapes
• Active Children’s Music
• Places
• Activities
• Colors
• Latin Landmarks
• Phrases
• Exotic Animals
• Review

What I like best about this program:

  • Overall, it is just really cute! It has a catchy and fun vibe to it, the music is lively, the colors are vibrant, and the kids are enthusiastic. It was designed from the perspective of a native Spanish-speaker. This is reflected in many of the words, song choices, and culturally significant landmarks shown.
  • The words are spoken clearly in multiple voices with underlining arrows to highlight left to right reading patterns. They are also repeated twice in succession to make sure it sinks in.
  • The children featured in this video are young children and babies, not just babies, so it will appeal to children across a wide age range.
  • It offers true to life footage of kids, animals, and objects intermixed with cartoon animations and various background. This variety appeals to multiple learning styles to help capture and maintain a child’s attention.
  • The quality of flashcards in this set is fantastic!  The color-coding makes them super easy to organize and the surface is very glossy so they can be wiped clean. I have used other reading programs that use thick, slide-out word cards. The reading Amigo cards are much better because they’re far more durable and toddler friendly. Not only are those difficult to flash rapidly for right-brain learning, my son unintentionally destroys them while trying to slide the words in and out because they bend so easily. He has ruined pretty much the entire set! So these are much better.
  • New words are introduced in every DVD but there is a significant amount of consistency and repetition of the songs throughout the DVDs. Particularly when learning a second language, learning entire songs clearly requires more exposure than single words. In that respect, intermixing new words with familiar songs throughout the series is a great learning strategy.  Learning entire song lyrics by heart helps children develop their sense of sentence structure as well.  The frequent songs are a great way to break up the words with lively music and maintain interest.
  • The font in the “Book of Opposites” is HUGE, making it visible for even tiny babies, which I love! It can be difficult to source books with a font that is truly big enough, but the text size in this book is ideal and comfortable for all ages. With my kids, I notice even as they get a bit older they simply prefer larger font. When I was transitioning my daughter from flashcards to books, she seemed to find small print intimidating, so this is especially great for giving babies and toddlers a gentle transition in that area.
  •  My son especially loves the corresponding App included with the program. The picture and audio quality are both excellent and my kids naturally repeat the words while intuitively flipping through the program. The images are sharp and spoken clearly, first displaying the image and then dimming it to show the word over the picture. My kids love i-things so it’s a great tool for reinforcing the material from the videos.

Overall, my kids (ages 2 and 3) enjoy the program and as a parent, I am thrilled that they are practicing their Spanish while having fun! The songs are their favorite part of course. Our babysitter is a native of Bolivia and the first thing she commented on was how culturally authentic the program is, which certainly impressed me! The kids are already singing along and have learned lots of new words. It is quality programs like Reading Amigo that are helping change the way young children learn. This program is ideal for native speaking families and families learning Spanish alike–our family gives it two thumbs up!

www.kidstartspanish.com