Over the last month or so I’ve had the opportunity to review a digital version of MESSYLEARNING FOR PRESCHOOLERS AND KINDERGARTNERS by
PandaParents with my four year old. He recently turned four so he is on the young end of the target spectrum and still has another year before he would start Kindergarten. He sees his older brother and sister doing their school work and wants to ‘do school’. I mainly use hands on play based activities with him but he loves to have worksheets and workbooks because it feels more like the school his brother and sister are doing.
The first thing I think I should clarify for those parents that might be wondering about the ‘messy’ part, in this case MESSY is actually an acronym for the system of learning that they use to create these projects (as shown in the picture below). While there are some hands on crafts like creating a sailboat on a paper plate or a cute paper panda, it is not full of messy crafts and activities.
I started by watching the video for the first unit ‘Mommy’s Baby’ with him and reading the included book to him.The book is simple and uses a mostly repetitive style that should be comfortable for that age group. For example, in this particular book it has a series of different animals and objects and each one would ask ” Are you mommy’s little…..?” Followed by a response from the ‘baby’. This was used to reinforce several concepts including big/little.
Then we chose a couple of the workbook pages to print off and work through together. He enjoys coloring, matching and tracing so there were some great activities for him. However, some of the other activities were developmentally above where he is right now. They would have been great for my older son when he was four and may even work well for my four year old later in the year. This particular unit covered a variety of topics from living/nonliving objects, tails, colors, big/little, several letters, and more featuring the animals that had been included in the book.
As we went through the month I printed off various pages of the workbook for us to work on together or him to complete on his own. His sister even worked with him one day on learning the letter P. He was so proud when he completed those worksheets and knew the letter P.
There were some pages that were more challenging because of printing them out in black and white or not having the stickers to use, but most were fairly easily adapted. He enjoyed the program and liked that to him it looked like ‘school’ but was easy enough for him to complete. I appreciated that there were a variety of activities that could be used for various developmental levels since at that age there is so much variation from child to child. I appreciated that it made learning fun. It jumps around and goes from one thing to another very quickly, integrating a wide variety of subjects. For some children this is a benefit and helps keep their attention and make connections, but for some this could be a little over stimulating.
We also had the chance to review two other units, Scotty Skunk Hears a Scary Sound and A Jolly Jingling Journey. They are set up in the same way that Mommy Baby is set up and go through different letters and skills. While we did not complete all of them due to time constraints I chose bits and pieces from these two lessons and will be continuing to use them over the next month or so.
This program is designed as a monthly ‘kit’ to be done with preschool/kindergarten aged children (ages 3-6). Each month you would receive a kit including a book, a full color workbook, and a video to go with the unit. While we enjoyed the digital program, I think that the physical program (coming in December) would have been a better fit for our family. My son loves mail so getting something in the mail each month would have been exciting for him. We also do not have a color printer, and while many of the worksheets could be done in black and white the color workbook and stickers would have added to the fun. All in all, if you have a child ages 3-6 I recommend you go over to PandaParents and check out this program to see if it is a good fit for your family.
When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.
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