Worksheets for kids. Is there a better way?

by Best Case Expert- Updated December 27, 2019

Well, hello there! Welcome back to an article talking about worksheets. These are things that are widely used, both in teaching children in the home and at school.

When you look at the Google search volume for “Phonic worksheets” for example, you will see a whole load of people searching for that!

I can understand why people (and even some teachers) think that worksheets are a good idea. But, when working with young children, there is always a better way.

​What’s wrong with worksheets?

​From an adults point of view, worksheets can often seem like a great tool to teach children or help them practise what they have learned.

A worksheet is such a neat and concise thing for an adult to look at!

But, for young children, there are several BIG problems.

You can have fun with phonics with hands on activities too!

​They are too Abstract!

The reason that a modern early years educator will always talk about the importance of “hands on learning”, is because of the following.

Most young children learn best when actually doing a physical action with real items. You may find some exceptions, but on the whole this is the case.

I will give you an example. You want a child to practice some simple math skills, let’s say adding and subtraction (a key element of preschool math). So, you give them a math worksheet that has a picture of a bus. There are children on the bus and others waiting to get on.

The question goes something like “There are two children on the bus, and two children waiting to get on the bus. When those two children get on the bus, how many will be on the bus all together?”

Compare this with actually having a toy bus, with actual figures. When I have done this, I usually build a Lego bus with Lego figures.

Here, the children can see and interact with a physical bus and physical figures that they can use for this Math problem.

Which version will provide deep learning for the child? Which version is easier to understand? Which one shows how to make math fun?

If you try something similar at home, you will find most children learn better with the latter approach.

Adults don’t always realise that, when you put something on paper, it can be too abstract for a young child.

Hands on activities are a far better way to help your kids with math!

How to make math fun?

​Lack of Flexibility

​In most cases, these math or phonic worksheets have been downloaded from the internet or copied out of a book. They are not tailored to your child’s ability. Maybe they are too easy or too hard for your child.

When doing a hands on activity, it’s really easy and fast to adapt that activity to the ability of your child. With the bus example above, you can quickly use more or less child figures as needed.

This lack of flexibility also means that a worksheet might not interest your child. It’s much easier to change up a real activity to suit your child and thus get them more interested.

In the bus example above, maybe your child is not interested in buses! Maybe, they love everything related to space. It is easy to change that activity into a space ship with astronauts. A worksheet is much harder to achieve this with.

​They are NOT FUN!

Let me ask you a simple question.

​If you were to work in an office and you​r company were releasing a new product. They ask you to fill in a form to help them brainstorm the best name for this product. A picture of the product and all its features are on the form.

Do you think…Yippee… I love filling in forms, lets go!!

As adults, we usually don’t get excited by anything on paper!

How would that feeling change if your boss came in with the actual product. And asked you to do the same process being able to interact with the real thing! Would you feel better or worse about this?

Most of us would surely be much more interested in the task in the latter example, where we have the real product to handle and play with.

If this is as an adult, how do you think this feels for children?

With some exceptions, most children will find it far more fun and engaging to do a real activity, rather than a worksheet.

When a child is having fun, they are a willing learner.

Some Real Examples

After discussing why worksheets are not good for young children, I want to do something interesting.

I want to take some worksheets randomly from the internet and show you how to make a much better hands on alternative activity.

If you think you can do this well already, feel free to skip the rest of this article.

The worksheets I will use are from Kidzone.ws.

Example 1

Worksheets. Are they appropriate for Preschool Math?

​This particular example is under the preschool math section. The idea of this is to help your kids with math. Specifically, with counting objects.

The idea is for the child to count the objects and circle the correct number.

Is this helping your kids with math?

This is a good example of why worksheets are too abstract for a lot of children. There are a lot of things on the page, which are put there out of necessity, but probably don’t make sense to some children.

Why is there a barn? Why are there animals? Are we supposed to put the animals in the barn? Why are we counting the animals? Do donkeys go in barns?

The other thing I don’t like about this, is the fact that the objects are too close together. This may confuse some children when counting.

Young children often miscount when asked to count objects. Being able to physically touch or move an object whilst counting helps with this a lot.

Also, you are given 3 choices of answers for each question. The only reason for this, is to fit it nicely on the page, not for any educational reasons!

​WHAT’S THE ALTERNATIVE?

This is actually a simple one to make a hands on activity for. You could have a toy barn with toy animals. You could role play a situation where you are a farmer and you are counting to make sure you have the right amount of animals.

You could put the first set of animals in the barn and ask your “farmer” child to help you count them. You could put a number card for the answer face down, and your child could use this to check their answer.

Which activity do you think your child would be more interested in? Which activity is showing how to make math fun?

The worksheet version is just something the child is doing for no real reason.

The hands on activity, they are able to role play with toy animals. They are also able to help you, by counting the animals on your “farm”.

You will find these factors make a lot of children far more willing to complete the activity.

If your children don’t like animals, which activity would work better?

If your child find these numbers too easy or hard, which one is easier to adapt?

Of course, the hands on activity can be quickly changed up for anything that interests your child. You can swiftly change out the number of objects to make the activity harder or easier on the fly as well.

Preschool math should be fun and and engaging. This is how to make math fun for young children.

Example 2

Is this fun with phonics?

​Phonic worksheets are very common and plastered all over the internet. These phonic resources are promoted to help your child recognise letters, their sounds and (in this case) the difference between capital and regular letters. 

​Is this fun with phonics?

The idea of this phonic worksheet, is to ask your child to colour the “C” with one colour and the “c” with another.

When looking at this phonic resource, some problems appear.

Yes, it is too abstract! Why are there letters all over the page? Why do I need to sort them? Why is there a giant “O” or “0” in the middle?

I know we like to encourage thinking skills for kids, but this is more confusing than anything!

WHAT’S THE ALTERNATIVE?

I would set up a role play situation.

​Tell your child you both work for a letter factory making letters for schools all over the world!!

​But, oh no, our letter making machine has broken and has spat out all the “C” and “c” letters all over the place.

You can use old cereal boxes to make your machine, including boxes/containers for the “C” and “c” letters. Ask your child to help collect these letters, making sure to put them into the correct box. Children love to role play and most will love the idea of being a factory worker. If not, a hands on activity is easy to adapt to whatever your child likes.

You could hide these letters around the room, have them spit into a tray of sand….you get the idea, right!

​I don’t think I need to explain again, you should see now how the hands on activity would be a much better activity for most children.

The Conclusion

Hopefully, after reading this article, you will be less likely to just turn on your computer and download the latest phonic worksheets for your child.

It is a misconception that worksheets are easier and faster than hands on activities too. In the time it takes to turn on your computer, download the phonic resources and print them. You could already have quickly grabbed some resources from your home and done something hands on and fun.

Preschool math and phonics should be fun. It should be hands on. It should be releavant and challenging to your child. With so many different children out there, hands on activities will fit these requirements much better.

​I understand that you want to help your kids with math or phonics. 

Now you know a better and more age appropriate way.

Worksheets are often associated with specific taught skills such as recognising numbers. Even these skills can be transformed into hands on and fun activities.

​If you are really strapped for time, and are looking for a quick fix for your child to have fun with phonics (for example). Technology gives a far better interactive experience than worksheets. Go look at some of the online phonic resources I have reviewed on this site, such as Teach Your Monster to read! This can’t replace hands on activities, but can give your child a 5-10 minute daily quick fix which is better than worksheets. I give the example of phonic resources here, but you will find similar for other areas of learning.

​What’s your view? We would love to know down below!

Do you help your kids with math? Do you use phonic worksheets?

READER COMMENTS:

My Best Stories for Kids

by Best Case Expert- Updated October 5, 2019

I am very excited to write this article about the best stories for kids (in my eyes anyway!)

In my teaching career, I have build up quite a bank of funny children’s books. Well, they are not all funny, but a lot are! I hope to introduce you to some real corkers! As my teaching career has mainly focused around 4-5 years old children, you will find that my favourite books are likely to be suited to this age group.

Why are Preschool children’s books important?

I seem to be on quite a Literacy kick at Best Case Parenting this week! I am writing this article pretty fresh off writing about  how to teach a child to write! This was not by design, but hey, it’s a very important part of teaching and parenting young children.

Quality stories for kids are incredibly important, and should not be underestimated. 

When a child grows up surrounded by these high quality preschool children’s books, they will be much more likely to form a love of books. When a child has a love of books, they already have the motivation to read. They have already spent many hours having fun with books and the natural response is to learn how to do this themselves.

In previous articles, when we talk about teaching a child to read or write, I have highlighted the importance of learning activities having a meaning and a value to your child. This love of books will automatically give a value to reading and writing, without any need for encouragement!

Of course, not all children that are exposed to a rich environment of quality books will develop this love, but it is far more likely.

Please note, to view these books on Amazon, simply click on the images in this article.

Without further beating around the bush, lets get on with the show!!

My list of best stories for kids!

The Book with no pictures by B.J. Novak

Without a doubt, this is one of my favourite funny children’s books. The way the book is written, and the idea behind it, is ingenious.

I have found that, at first, the children I read this to won’t be that sure about reading the book. However, quite soon they find it hilarious and it often becomes a favourite book request for the children in my classes.

The whole premise of the book is to put the focus on the words, which goes against the normal procedure in most preschool children’s books. Usually, there are detailed and glorious illustrations on every page of most children’s books. Of course, a lot of those books are also great, but it is nice seeing an author really thinking outside the box.

The way that the book focuses on the words is to, as the name suggests, not have any pictures throughout the story book. Instead, the adult is forced to read (and sing) a selection of silly sentences.

As I said, the children will often grow to love this book. It also has a great teaching value for young children. It illustrates the importance of words and the tone in which they are spoken.

So I take my hat off to Mr Novak, he made a truly exceptional and innovative children’s book. Which is something of a feat in this day and age!

Ten Apples up on Top by Dr. Seuss

When it comes to the best in children’s books, surely EVERYONE has heard of Dr. Seuss. 

The problem I have found with Dr.Seuss, is there are so many books in the series and they can vary in quality quite a bit. However, I have spent many hours reading Dr. Seuss children’s books, and this is up there as one of my top reads.

This is also in my bank of funny children’s books, it certainly has most four and five year old children laughing anyway!

The great thing about this book is it helps children practice counting in a fun way.

It’s a wacky story about some animals that find out they can balance apples on their heads whilst doing various tricks and actions. This then leads to the animals seeing who can balance the most apples on their heads! Finally, some mean bears try to knock those apples off of the animals heads.

As well as having a great counting element in it, this book (like many Dr.Seuss books) has some great repetitive sentences that often rhyme. This is like verbal gymnastics for a young child, and is a brilliant way to develop spoken English skills.

An oldie but 100% a goodie!

Should I Share my Ice Cream? by Mo Willems

This book is part of the “Elephant and Piggie” book series. This series has many excellent books, but after much thought I chose this one.

Most of these Elephant and Piggie books have a great knack of covering important topics for children in a fun and engaging way! They make stories for kids fun but also valuable.

Another funny children’s book (don’t worry there will be serious ones!), this book deals with the delicate issue of sharing. 

Elephant is not sure whether he should share his ice cream. He agonises over this for so long, that the ice cream melts. The thought process Elephant goes through is presented in a fun and comical way. These processes are actually common sticking points for young children when it comes to sharing. This book allows us adults a fun way to discuss these important issues with children. 

As with a lot of these funny children’s books, this one often becomes a class favourite!

SuperHero ABC by Bob Mcloed

This particular book is a master stroke for getting children interested in phonic work. 

Officially, this is not really a story book for kids as such. However, a lot of children really enjoy learning about the different characters in the book. What you could do, is ask your child to select a couple of characters from the book and make a short story together. 

This book is made up of a set of fictional superhero characters based around the phonic sounds. There is a short description for each character, focusing on the particular phonic sound that character uses. 

I have found this a great tool in my classrooms. Often, I will read this book for a couple of minutes at the end of each day. This is a great way to give a short burst of phonic practice to a child each day. You could do similar at home, using it whenever you have a couple of minutes downtime.

Beware of the Bears by Alan Mcdonald

This book directly follows on from the classic Goldilocks and the 3 Bears story. 

It shows what might have happened after the three bears found out someone had been in their house.

The bears decide to find out who has been in their house and try to track them down.

Baby bear tracks the culprit down to what they think is Goldilock’s house. The bears go there to seek revenge and ruin her house. However, they find out that actually the house isn’t anything to do with Goldilock’s. To their horror,  it turns out to be the Big Bad Wolf’s house!! Gulp!!

Preschool children’s books don’t get much better, in my opinion. The book is funny, with an important underlying message. I have seen people online saying that this book actually promotes revenge and is not good for children. I would have to strongly disagree. 

As the bears got the wrong house, there was a consequence to their actions. This teaches young children that revenge ISN’T a good idea. When I have read this to classes in the past, I usually end discussing this with the children. We will then come up with what the bears should have done instead of seeking revenge. 

Something Else by Kathryn Cave

This book is an excellent resource to help young children understand that everyone is different, and that the path of friendship shouldn’t be swayed by these differences.

Something else is a story for kids that starts with a character trying to play with people that are from a different race and culture than he is. These people end up refusing to play and turning him away. The character then finds himself in a similar situation later in the story and, at first, does the same. He remembers how he felt after being rejected and decides that he doesn’t want to do the same to this potential new friend. They turn out to be great friends. 

This book teaches children that we are all different and we can still be friends with someone totally different to us. We also need to be tolerant of other peoples habits, cultures etc.

This book has been a great teaching tool in my teaching career, and it could also be the same at home!

PLEASE NOTE: As I am trying to keep up with the best in children’s books, you may find over time that this list grows or changes! Keep on the look out for updates!

READER COMMENTS:

The What, How & Why of a Long Distance Parenting Plan.

by Best Case Expert- Updated October 5, 2019

Here at BestCaseParenting.com, the aim is to build up a complete resource on parenting and education issues or problems. So far, I have created a lot of articles about education for young children, but this article shifts the focus to long distance parenting, long distance parenting plan formulation and long distance visitation schedules.

I would like to say very clearly at the start. The idea of this article is to provide a starting point for any parents that find themselves in a situation where long distance parenting is a possible reality. This article aims to make those parents aware of the factors involved in the process and possible complications. It is more a conversational piece, rather than a guide on exactly how to draw up a plan. I am in no way giving legal advice on this matter, if you need this then seek out a professional

Long distance visitation schedules can help you get regular contact.

What is the need for a long distance parenting plan?

In this day and age, divorce or separation is quite common. It is becoming a part of everyday life for many adults and children. For example, in the 44 reporting states in America, 3.2 per 1,000 population got divorced in 2016. To give context, in the same year, 6.9 per 1,000 got married. 

This article will look at the considerations that need to happen when a couple with children decide to go down this route. Of course, there are legal considerations to consider. More importantly, we must remember the potential impact on the child involved.

With all these things carefully considered, the aim is to make the impact on the child as acceptable as possible.

In your country or state, a parenting plan or long distance parenting plan may be legally required or provide great support for a custody agreement. A qualified lawyer should be contacted to draft such a document. Even if these plans aren’t a legal requirement for you or your situation, it may still be an important thing to consider in order to properly consider any possible impact on your child.

Even if you don’t commit anything to paper, at the very least it should highlight some key points for consideration.

You may not even be getting divorced or separated. It could just be that one of the parents is simply moving away for work reasons. Some of the points in this article could be a benefit to this situation too.

Disclaimer: I am in no way offering legal advice. This article is designed as a simple guide for parents who find themselves in this situation. You should always seek the advice of a lawyer when making an official long distance parenting plan.

In many of the situations discussed above, the two parents involved may verbally come to an agreement about the parenting arrangements for their child. However, the problem usually arises when you get down to the finer details. If these details haven’t been agreed properly beforehand, it could lead to major disagreements in the future. It is always a good idea to put this into a physical document to make sure this doesn’t happen.

When the two parents are in the same physical place, a parenting plan will happen quite naturally. Any small disagreements can be discussed on the spot and more easily remedied. However, when distance is involved, it is very easy for disagreements to go unnoticed and build into much bigger issues.

So again, whether this is a legal requirement or not, making a long distance parenting plan of some form, often makes sense for both parties.

Things to consider when making a long distance parenting plan.

You are creating a more stable environment for your child to grow up in.

The plan that you make means that there are set routines that are followed. Your child will grow up in a consistent environment, where they will learn to expect the same things to happen in regular everyday situations. This stable and predictable environment will help your child’s mental stability greatly. There will be no second guessing for them, they will know what to expect in each scenario.

Is long distance parenting a viable choice?

It is recommended for parent-child contact time to happen at least once a month. Can you afford the financial or time expense that may be needed to organise this. Maintaining a good relationship with your child could depend greatly on the frequency of parent-child contact. On top of this, do the parents schedules match up to facilitate an amount of parenting time that is acceptable to both parents?

Do you have the flexibility to make long distance parenting a success?

I have heard time and time again that one of the keys to successful long distance parenting is the ability to see your child when they are on school holidays. For a long distance parenting plan to work well, the ability to cater for this would be important.

What will the effect be on the wider family?

I sure you will agree, that more often than not, contact between the child and the wider family is an important thing to consider. For example, will there be any arrangements to help the child to see grandparents?

Age of the child

It is usually easier to make arrangements for a long distance parenting plan when the child involved is a young child. For example, when a child gets close to being a teenager, arrangements may get more complex and harder to setup. This should always be a consideration when making a parenting plan.

Making a long distance parenting plan.

What are some of the finer points to “nail down” in a long distance parenting plan?

Custody

Clearly, this will be the main part of any parenting plan. It should detail clearly who has custody of the child and when. Also, what will happen if situations arise that may change a parents ability to take custody.

Visitations

When will the regular visitations happen? Where will the child and parents stay during these visitations? What happens if there is an emergency that prevents visitation? Will the time be made up? As you can see, the topic of both Custody and Visitations is not always as simple as it may first seem. By locking down all possible situations and outcomes, it should help to eliminate future problems or misunderstandings. These two aspects make up a large proportion of the agreement and must be agreed in a robust way for all parties.

The best way of presenting the main custody and visitation agreement is to make a long distance visitation schedule that shows exactly where the child will be and when.

Vacations

Will there be an agreed protocol for a parent to request a vacation with their child? Are there certain times of year that each a parent can arrange vacations? What level of flexibility will be built into this plan?

What form long distance communication will take?

Regular communication is an important part of a long distance parenting plan. Any good plan should make sure to include this. The type of communication and regularity should be agreed upon.

Typically, telephone or live streaming video calls are used to facilitate this communication.

This modern technology has significantly helped any situation where long distance parenting is involved. But always remember that this shouldn’t take the place of physically seeing your child.

As well as thinking about the parent-child long distance communication, it is equally as important to consider the communication between the parents. Who has authority to make what decisions relating to the child? Who will attend school events? These examples show the importance of parent communication. A regular schedule of communication would likely work better than an ad-hoc one.

Who pays for what?

Typically, parents plans should include details on who pays for such things as cost of schooling, healthcare and of course general child support arrangements.

Transportation Arrangements

Long distance parenting will involve a lot of travelling. I have talked about the financial considerations that allow parents to travel and see their children regularly.

In this situation, we are talking about when the child is travelling in order to stay with a parent.

In general terms, it should be decided who pays for the different types of transportation methods.

There are also transport specific considerations to make.

Car Transportation

Who will drive the car?

Where will the parents meet?

Air Transportation

Who will make arrangements to buy the ticket?

What exact flights will usually be taken? Are there any routes that aren’t acceptable?

Depending on the age of the child, what supervision is organised whilst on the flight?

Who is taking the child to and picking the child up from the airport?

Making a long distance visitation schedule over a coffee!

In Conclusion

Whatever situation may have risen to make you consider a long distance parenting plan, I hope this article has gone some way to help your thought process around this. There is a lot to consider and a lot of fine details to arrange. If you go ahead with this, then hopefully you will be able to make these arrangements in the best way possible. This will ensure that the impact on your child will be kept to a minimum.

When looking at long distance parenting plans on the internet, I found a lot of very factual content (mostly by law firms). This is why I decided to make something a bit more informal and (hopefully) thought provoking! I don’t know if I succeeded, but it was an enjoyable experience to write!

If you have experience of making such long distance parenting plans or long distance visitation schedules, it would be great to hear your views and advice in the comment section below.

There is an excellent resource that I would recommend for making these plans, which is linked here:

https://www.custodyxchange.com

READER COMMENTS:

Osmo Creative kit Review

by Best Case Expert- Updated October 5, 2019

Welcome to our Osmo Creative kit review. On Best Case Parenting, we are always on the look out for innovative new products to make learning fun for young children.

As soon as I saw this particular product, I could see it would make a good candidate for coverage on the site. I have seen a lot of Educational apps for kids over the years, and this seems one of the better ones. 

I want to start off this Osmo Creative kit review with a slight warning to parents.

This product does require your child to use an Ipad. Therefore, it is important that you understand the recommended screen time. 

This information can be found online. For example, The Canadian Paediatric Society has a great page on screen time for children here.

I believe that, with proper guidance from adults, these technologies can hold great learning potential for our young children.

Who are Osmo?

On their website, they say…..

Tangible Play Inc. — the business behind the Osmo brand — was founded in 2013 by Pramod Sharma and Jerome Scholler, who set out to create “something awesome that inspires the youngest generation,” while at the same time addressing a concern of many parents about how to have their children interact with technology without losing the value of hands-on play.”

They have ex Google employees among their team (apparently) and, back in 2014, got 12 million dollars in funding for these Ipad based learning products and their associated educational apps for kids.​

​I am really excited by the idea of “interacting with technology without losing the value of hands-on play”. A lot of the apps I have seen in this arena lack imagination and don’t really push the envelope of what this technology can offer.

The same cannot be said of these Osmo products. The idea to integrate physical play with Ipad apps is ingenious. They seem to be taking educational apps for kids to a whole new level. You may have seen many Ipad bases too, but this Osmo Ipad base is something very different. 

What is Osmo Creative Kit? 

With this kit, your child can play three different types of Osmo games. These are interactive games, often involving drawing or making marks on a whiteboard. 

Osmo Creative Kit Review!

Within this kit, you will get:

Three Osmo games: Monster, Masterpiece and Newton.

Osmo Ipad base and red reflector

This is the main part of the Osmo creative kit. Without it, the Osmo games can’t be played.

Be careful, when ordering Osmo products. They have two versions of these packages. Sets, which don’t include the base, and Kits which do. I found this slightly confusing at first and think Osmo should come up with a way to make it clear whether a package includes the Osmo Ipad base or not!

This base is where your Ipad is placed to play the Osmo games. It also comes with a red reflector. This is a piece that fits over the top of your Ipad, to cover and redirect your Ipad camera.

The compatible Ipads are as follows:

iPad 2, iPad (3rd Generation), iPad (4th Generation), iPad (5th Generation), iPad Mini, iPad Mini 2, iPad Mini 3, iPad Mini 4, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, the 9.7-inch and 10.5-inch iPad Pro.

You might want to double check this before ordering, as it may have changed since this article was written.

Creative Board and a set of dry-erase markers

Fairly self explanatory, this is a white board type product and is used to interact with many of the Osmo games. You place this in front of the Osmo Ipad base, so that the camera is positioned over it. It comes with a set of Dry-erase marker pens.

Fuzzy Blue Pouch and Erasing Cloth.

The fuzzy blue pouch would act as a good place to store your dry-erase marker pens. From the look and feel of it, you could also use it as an eraser. I would imagine, over time, this would make the pouch look rather dirty. As they also include an erasing cloth, it would seem this is the intended item for erasing. The slight problem I see, is that a young child would likely use the Fuzzy Blue Pouch to erase things, whether it be intentional or not 🙂

This thing might need several runs through the wash during its lifetime.

Osmo educational apps for kids!

What age group is the Osmo Creative Kit intended for?

Osmo indicates that it can be used for ages 6-12 years old.

What exactly do these 3 Osmo games entail?

Monster

This Osmo game is centred around a monster character called “Mo”. Mo will invite your child into his world. They will help him with tasks. For example, to create objects for a magic show. These objects are drawn on the creative board, as per Mo’s instructions. The great thing about this, is that there is a lot of flexibility within the drawing system. No matter what the drawing skill of your child, their work will be incorporated into the Osmo game all the same. Also, there were never any errors after drawings had been made. This indicates to me a top level of integration between the physical drawing and the app.

Mo is also a great character and very well voiced. He will guide your child in a fun and positive way. 

Osmo Games in action!

Masterpiece

Masterpiece is a drawing Osmo game. Your child can choose from a wide variety of objects to draw. When they have chosen, they are guided to trace this object onto the creative board in front of the Osmo Ipad base. If you wish to keep the drawing, paper can be used instead of the creative board. Interestingly, you can take a photo of a real object and convert it into something traceable. Be warned, this object often have a lot of lines and might be too fine to trace for some children.

You can save your work and share it too if you want!

Newton

Newton is a problem solving Osmo game for your child. They solve problems by interacting with the game via the creative board. Again, paper can be used if preferred. For example, balls might be falling down and your child could stop this by drawing a curved line to catch them.

What do I like and dislike about the Osmo Creative Kit?

This Osmo Creative kit review has been a lot of talk about what the Osmo Creative Kit is. Now lets get into what I like or don’t like about this set of educational apps for kids.

Overall, as I have talked about in this article, giving activities meaning is a sure fire way to engage your child. A large majority of children will find these Osmo games a big draw, and will be motivated to continue without much encouragement. This is a far better way for a child to learn, rather than being forced to do boring drills with no meaning.

OK, with that out of the way, lets get on with the Pro’s and Con’s

Here are the Pro’s:

  • Build your child’s creative and problem solving skills in a fun and engaging way
  • Osmo Ipad base and Red reflector easy for your child to setup independently
  • Use of Creative board cuts down on wasted paper
  • High production value of the 3 Osmo games
  • Seamless integration of Osmo games with the drawing element
  • Osmo Games receiving ongoing updates

Here are the Con’s:

  • Slightly confusing variety of Osmo products, some with the Osmo Ipad base and some without!
  • Creative board and dry erase markers might not be needed

Conclusion

I would say that I am suitably impressed with this attempt to bring Educational apps for kids to life. By combining physical objects with the Osmo Ipad Games, it brings a whole new fun dimension. One which many children will enjoy. I was also impressed by the fact that all of these is done in a seamless and high quality way. It is quite rare that a system like this is backed up by such a well funded company.

It’s also great seeing that Osmo are still updating their games. For example, at first the Monster Osmo game only had the option for a magic show. They now added the option to go on an adventure.

It sure isn’t perfect though. I wish that OSMO would simplify their packages for the Osmo Ipad Base and Osmo games, to make it clearer what is and isn’t included. We seem to have many disappointed parents that buy one of these, only to find out it didn’t have what they expected inside. This suggests to me that clarification is needed.

It is also debatable whether the creative board and dry erase markers are actually needed. Osmo state on their website that these items are needed for the optimal Osmo games experience. However, a regular whiteboard and pen set seem to work equally as well. As do a regular set of pen and paper.

In this particular pack, the problem is not so bad, as there are other items in the Osmo Creative Kit that make it worthwhile. But some of the other sets Osmo offers, have these items as one of the main components. In these situations, I feel quite a few customers won’t be happy with this in terms of value for money.

This product is an excellent one. I highly recommend it for your child, and it is a great way to build creative drawing (with some thinking) skills.

Just be careful with what you order. Explore the available packs on Amazon and decide what you really value. You can then tailor your order to those needs. Just make sure that the Osmo Ipad base is included somewhere along the way 🙂

Click HERE to check out the Osmo Creative Kit on Amazon.

If you have already bought this product, I would love to hear about your views in the comments below.

Thank you for reading my Osmo Creative kit review! Rest assured, more is one the way!

​If you would like to check out our Osmo Genius Kit Review,

please CLICK HERE!

READER COMMENTS:

Value your child’s work!

by Best Case Expert- Updated October 5, 2019

Have you you ever seen this happen?

Child exits school and is greeted by parent.

Child says “look what I did today” enthusiastically thrusting paper forward!

Parent squints at the picture in question and says “doesn’t look like much!!”.

I think you get the idea, right? When a young child first starts drawing or representing things on paper, it can often just look like a bunch of squiggles.

However, we MUST always remember that this is the child’s work. This could be something that took the child considerable effort and thought to make. How would you feel as an adult if someone looked at your work and, in no uncertain terms, told you it was rubbish? Well, we have to recognise it is exactly the same for young children.

Why does this situation happen so much? Well, in my opinion, it is quite a natural thing for an adult to want to take over or control something a child is doing. Adult’s like to impress their more developed notion of something onto a child. Some adult’s also have a fear that their children are under performing or such like. So, for these reasons, they don’t appreciate the work being shown to them and want to “improve” it.

So, the key message I want to give you is this. Please, please, value the work your child shows you and understand they are just developing their ability to represent things accurately. They need encouragement to keep doing this and continue developing their levels of expression.

So, how do we encourage our young children to develop their representations?

Well, the important thing is to make sure that the child has a wide experience of real life situations and examples beforehand. Maybe your child wants to draw a monkey, for example. We would take them to a zoo to see real monkeys, read books about monkeys or look at pictures of different types of monkeys. This would give the child a real life reference point to start with.

Then we let them at it! Give them paper, pen, paint or whatever they want to use.

We can guide them with some questioning:

“What part of the monkey is that?”

“What does this part of the monkey look like?”

“Do you think your monkey looks like the real one?”

Rather than instructing the child, you are encouraging them to think themselves about their drawing and how they could improve it. If you simply instruct a child what to do, there is no learning process there…..no thinking involved. They are simply following instructions.

If you use this technique over time, you will see a great improvement. What you will see would likely go like this:

  • A mess of scribbles!
  • A mass of scribbles, with some better defined features!
  • Less scribbles and mostly well defined features!
  • Scribbles no more! Recognisable drawings now exist and are well formed!
  • Drawings start to get finer and more detailed!

This is the journey your young child needs to take. Appreciate their work, whatever it looks like, and help them through the process!

READER COMMENTS:

Make learning meaningful! Meaning is the key to learning for your child!

by Best Case Expert- Updated October 5, 2019

Having been a teacher in Asia for quite some time now, I have had numerous parent meetings that raise the warning flag! I will give you an example:

Parent: I just can’t get my child interested in learning at home.

Me: Why? What did you try to do with your child?

Parent: Well, I tried to get them to practice writing letters but they refused!

Let’s just say, I have spent quite a while re-educating parents when it comes to “sitting down” to drill their child or ask them to do “work”. Well, I’ll ask you this.

As an adult, if I asked you to sit and write random letters for no reason, how would you feel? You would probably tell me to get lost, right? Well it’s the same for your beloved children!

Giving meaning or value to activities is your golden ticket to helping your young child get interested in learning at home.

I will go back to the example above. If you want your child to practice writing letters, why not think of a valid reason to do this.

If your child shows an interest in shopping trips, for example, why not get them to help you write a shopping list!

You will find that, by giving a meaning to tasks, your child is far more likely to find this idea interesting and be motivated to do it WITHOUT pestering from an adult. Of course, maybe your child couldn’t give two hoots about shopping!! Well, then think of something that does interest them….and….BINGO!

READER COMMENTS:

Welcome to Best Case Parenting!!

by Best Case Expert- Updated October 5, 2019

I have been meaning to get around to blogging for quite a while! Alas, time is a finite resource and, all too often, I don’t have enough of it!

So, what’s my plan? Good point! Well…..funny you should ask. I have been an Early Childhood teacher for 12 years. In my humble opinion, over this time I have built up something of a knack of realising what is good or not when it comes to teaching young children. In my professional life, I have dealt with and helped many parents. My idea is to try and do this on a wider scale.

Sounds grand right?? Well, on this site you should find several things. Advice on teaching your little one! Advice on how to keep your little one in line! And along the way some recommendations of products or services that I feel fit into this well.

My expertise is with children aged between 3-6 years old, so a good majority of what I cover will likely be relevant to these ages.

Well, all that is left is to get all formal and say……welcome. Hopefully, I can offer something of use to parents of  young children. Well, if I don’t try I’ll never know!!

READER COMMENTS: