Oh, I can’t even begin to describe my joy when a LeapFrog box arrives in the mail for me! There are a few LeapFrog products that I absolutely can’t live without in my classroom.
1. The Letter Factory DVD
I’ve mentioned a time or 100 that this is the best product EVER made by any educational company. I swear by this video and show it to my kindergarten class until they are singing the little songs that go along with every letter.
2. The Letter Factory Board Game
Well, duh. The game goes along with the DVD and it’s just brilliant. It is no longer made, but you can find them on ebay.
3. The Tablets
I have now been the proud owner of every single tablet made by LeapFrog, and they just keep getting better.
I use the tablets in my classroom during several times of the day. I have them available during our Center time for kids to play on, during our Literacy block when I want them using the ebooks, and during our Math Centers. My favorite thing about the tablets is that even when kids are “just playing” and have no specific activities that I have selected for them, they are still learning all the time! Kart racing is one of the favorite games for my kids because they can race against each other, while they are each on their own tablet. Now, you would think that a car race isn’t educational, but in order to power up their cars they have to solve math problems. I’m telling you, learning is embedded everywhere!
The new LeapPad Platinum is one of the bigger tablets. The LeapPad, LeapPad2, and LeapPad3 are not quite as large. Personally, I really like the large screen and hefty feeling of the LeapPad Ultra and the LeapPad Platinum. The LeapPads are super durable. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times they are dropped by my kindergartners each day! My only complaint about the tablet itself is the sylus that is attached. It has a squishy top on the stylus that is kind of cool, but it was torn up within the first month. If the stylus is my only complaint, then I’m ok with that!
As for the content, here are a few of my favorite things:
*Kid-Safe Web – LeapSearch is a kid safe web browser that has age appropriate content picked by the LeapFrog Learning Experts.
*New Imagicard Learning Games – Ok, these are pretty cool. The interactive trading cards come to life on the LeapFrog tablets. Kids can use the camera to bring their characters to life and unlock more ways to play.
Some of the games include THE LETTER FACTORY (woo hoo!), PAW Patrol, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Ummm, I can hardly wait to see how the kindergarten boys are going to fall in love with the Ninja Turtle game!
*E-books – During our Daily 5 time of our kindergarten literacy block, I tell the kids that I want them reading or listening to reading. If they are using the tablets, their only choice is to pick an ebook. Although, I think I will add in the Letter Factory games this year. There are tons of different options for ebooks. Frozen is the HUGE favorite, but I also have a space book that is a close second. I was surprised that the fairy tales stories are not chosen too often and that the Pet Pals IS chosen. Kids surprise me sometimes. I often think they will love one thing and then they pick something that I think won’t be a favorite. Here’s a picture of the Sophia the First book.
Overall, I have to say this is the best tablet yet! It’s one of those MUST-HAVE items for young kids. I use these in my classroom, but my daughter also used them when she was younger. As I mentioned above, I love that learning is constantly embedded into every single activity. If there are two things your young kids need, they are: 1) The Letter Factory DVD 2) A LeapPad Tablet – and spend the few extra dollars to buy the bigger one. You won’t be sorry!
**The opinions in this post are all my own. I was provided a LeapPad Platinum in exchange for reviewing the product.**
I have a Pinterest board set up for wire crafting now.
Here’s the new couch! The minute we sat in this couch, we stopped looking. It was perfect. I wasn’t sold on the orangey/red color on display in the store, (even though I loved the color) But, when we saw this fabric swatch, it was a done deal.
I love the tufting on the back! The couch kind of reminds me of a tailored suit, but once you add the tufting and pillows, it feels soft again. The fluffy, brown, Goodwill blanket helps add a little warmth too. (I washed it a few times in very hot water when I brought it home. I know some of you are thinking that buying a blanket at Goodwill is just gross.)
Before we bought the couch, I made pillow covers and new slipcovers for the
The couch fabric almost looks like a blend of the chair, slipcover, and recliner fabrics. It’s a mixture of gold and brown.
I’d like you to meet Sparky. Sparky The Chair is the Christmas present I bought for my hubby. My mother-in-law was always saying how we needed a good recliner to relax in. I’ve never been a huge fan of big, bulky, recliner chairs, but the more I thought about it, the more I agreed that my hubby needed a comfy chair to relax in at the end of the day. I found this chair at Macy’s, during the after Thanksgiving sale, and it was delivered just after Christmas. The very day it was delivered, my daughter was sitting in it, when the power reclining mechanism sparked and caught fire! It quickly went out, but it scared the living daylights out of me. We looked around for a replacement chair, but just couldn’t find anything we liked as well as Sparky. So, we ordered a new Sparky, after Macy’s reassured us that they’ve never heard of this happening before.
A while back, I got the itch to repaint this room. It used to be a warm yellow, with burgundy drapes. It was very warm and pretty, but Pinterest showed me that all of the rooms I was pinning were light and bright. So, the walls went light and the drop cloths came out of the garage. I need to add a little length to the panels, so the ruffler foot on my sewing machine is going to be coming into the picture soon. I’m excited for that little project!
I’d like to make this corner into a game area. I’m thinking I’d like to find a REALLY small, round, table and two Parson’s chairs. The Parson’s chairs would also be used in the dining room, when we need more seating. The table will be perfect for taking pictures (the lighting is great in that corner) and playing cards with a kid or two. I found the perfect table, during Christmas time, at Goodwill. I had to leave it there, because I couldn’t imagine another project during that time of the year and I had no where to put it at the time. I’ll keep looking.
This next area is a work in progress too. I love the picture wall, but I’m in the process of finding new pictures for the frames. Since everything else in the room is in the neutral, brown and white tones, I changing all of the photos to sepia. I have a few photos picked out, but I still need to find many more. The little table is temporary too. It’s a table I use on the deck in the summer. I brought it in because I didn’t have anything better to put in between the chairs.
Cookie, the bunny, gets to live in the corner of the family room. She likes it there. She’s always in the action in the family room!
So, that’s the new space! I still have a few more projects to go (including restaining that door in a darker brown) but, my house is a constant work in progress. I love the way this room feels now. It’s light, bright, open, and inviting. We have plenty of floor space to play Wii or Uno Attack. (I dominate in Uno Attack, by the way!) The dog and the bunny love sprawling out on the family room floor, when we’re all playing a game. It’s also the perfect room to curl up in a comfy spot, on a Saturday morning. It’s my happy place!
Here are a few linky parties!
I’ve mentioned that I’m taking a class on creating playful spaces. Just as we were discussing reading nooks, my kids decided their rooms needed a change. They both decided to rearrange their furniture to create reading nooks. I swear, I did not even mention it to them. They came up with the idea all on their own.
After rearranging, my daughter decided she wanted to keep some books in her room. We have a central kids’ library, upstairs in a little corner of the master bedroom. I was happy that she wanted a space to keep some of her favorite books, but there was no room for a bookshelf.
In reading about playful spaces, I came across this idea for a book sling.
This book sling is from Family Fun.
LOVE IT! I knew I had leftover fabric, from recovering the dress-up box. My daughter and I went to work, creating her book slings. I did the cutting and she helped me with the sewing.
We started by cutting two rectangles for each sling. I cut one from the pretty fabric and one from cheap muslin. The Family Fun website suggests sizes for cutting, but I didn’t want to buy new fabric, so I used what I had. We sewed right sides of the fabric together and then turned the fabric right sides out. This made nice edges on the fabric.
Then we took a trip to Lowe’s for the rest of the supplies. We bought double curtain rod brackets. (The cheapest we could find.) We also bought 5/8th inch wooden dowels, in 4 foot lengths.
This was one of the easiest projects we’ve done in a long time.
I think I’ll probably shorten the slings a little. My daughter has short little books and they just fall to the bottom of the sling.
Now my son wants a book sling too! I don’t think we’ll be using the pink stripes in his room though.
There were some great projects linked up last Friday. I don’t know what I like best about this… the hat and scarf, the sweet baby, or the beautiful photography. Easy Peasy Grandma made this set.
I’m in love with this Valentine subway art. Janet at Today’s Fabulous Finds posted this. She has them in 10 different colors on her blog and you can print them for free. I love free. The red one is going to be printed and framed in my living room.
It’s been almost a year since I started my blog. I can’t believe how many projects I’ve been able to accomplish in that time. The accountablity really makes a difference. If I say I’m going to do a certain project, I feel like I really need to get it done and blog it. Here are a few of my favorite projects from the past year.
First up, the new tile in the kids’ bathroom. I was new to tile work and my friend Diane and I tackled this one together.
Painting my furniture made a huge difference in my house. Everything I owned was mismatched, hand-me-down, or just not a style I loved anymore. I decided to make a few changes. Anything wood got a coat of black paint or English Chestnut stain. The kitchen table is a combination of stain AND black paint. My house is finally cohesive. Now it looks more like Pottery Barn and less like Goodwill, without the Pottery Barn price tag.
The laundry room was finished, including paint, floors, bins with labels, and everything needed to make this tiny room into a mudroom.
I learned more about how to use my camera. I certainly don’t know everything, but I know more than I did a year ago.
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to take a photography class or two.
I spent a good portion on the Summer playing in the backyard or reading on the deck.
We (I use the term “we” very lightly.) built a shed and started a little landscaping in a dead zone of our yard. It’s still a work in progress, but we are LOVING the extra storage space for garden and yard tools. Oh, and it’s really cute.
Finally, I can’t forget my most viewed post of the year. The placemats, turned leaf pillows, had more clicks than any other post. It also had the most comments.
Well, here we are in 2011. I can’t wait to see the projects this year brings my way.