You may have seen me mention before how much I love Educational Insights' "playful products with serious educational value." This has not changed at all. The more of their products the girls and I get to try out, the more I love this company. For over a year now, I have been wanting to purchase the girls some of the Hot Dots products. If you haven't heard of their Hot Dots products before, here is a little information from their website:
"The Hot Dots Learning System turns study time into game time, complete with lights, sounds, and encouraging audio--perfect for independent learning! "
You start with this really cool pen that lights up and says cool phrases while making neat sounds to signify whether the child got the answer right or wrong on their special flash cards.
If your child is right they will hear one of these phrases:
"oo hoo" with cheering.
"Wow, that's excellent."
"Way to go!"
If your child is wrong they will hear one of these phrases:
"Whoops, not it."
We tried the pen out with the Money Math Flash Cards
and the Telling Time Math Flash Cards.
I chose the math cards mainly for Tabitha because she really seems to enjoy math. We have been talking about money for a while so I thought these would be both a great review and fun way to increase her knowledge. We have talked about telling time off and on, though we haven't really focused on it. In hind sight, I probably should have chosen at least one set that would have been more appropriate for Amelia, but she does seem to enjoy the Money Flash Cards. The only thing that is keeping Amelia back from using these independently is that she can't read the question/instructions or the full answer. So Tabitha will help her read. (An additional bonus of these cards is that Amelia is starting to be able to read some of the words herself!)
Amelia gets really excited when she gets the correct answer, whether she chooses it the first time or after getting some wrong answers.
The only concern I have is how exact the placement of the Hot Dots pen has to be on the answer circles. If the child places it off the circle they can get confused because the right answer will signal as being wrong.
This picture shows Amelia being very precise about her placement.
The little black part is completely hidden when holding the pen straight up and down as is necessary, which makes it tricky to ensure the black tip is hitting the circle. I am assuming with practice it will get easier to hit the right spot. Fortunately, this has not decreased the girls' enthusiasm regarding using the Hot Dots Pen and Cards (in fact they love pushing the pen down just to hear the pen go off whether it is wrong or right).
Tabitha has been enjoying using the Telling Time Flashcards.
She does love receiving a correct response.
Both card sets start out with easy questions and they increase in difficulty as they progress. For a child who is just learning the predictability can be a great help and encouragement, as it is for Amelia. However, for Tabitha who is more advanced there are some places where I feel it is imperative that I mix up the cards.
The Telling Time cards start out by having the child tell time to the hour and the cards go in order from 1:00 to 12:00. Then there are a group of cards that have the child tell time to the half hour, from 1:30 to 12:30, once again arranged in order. Next the child is to find the time to the quarter hour, either a quarter after the hour, or a quarter before the hour. These cards are arranged randomly. The next grouping of cards asks "What time is it?" and on the same card asks the child to tell how many minutes after the hour the above clock shows. Lastly the children are to find the clock that shows a specific time.
I love the progression of these cards, though Tabitha hasn't gotten past the half hour cards yet. I am excited to see her progress.
The Money cards start out by having the child identify what coin is shown. I love that they show a picture of a real coin, heads and tails and then have the child pick the correct word, "penny, nickel, dime, etc." Then on the flip side of that card they are to choose the same coin out of a grouping of all possible coins. On the next card they are asked how much the same coin is worth, with the answers to choose from being written, "1 cent, 5 cents, 10 cents, etc." On the flip side of that card, the child sees the same coin again, but this time the answers are written with a cent sign. They progress through the penny, nickel, dime, quarter and half dollar before moving into bills. Amelia is still on the identifying money cards, but then she will progress into counting money. First they just count the money and choose the correct amount, later the cards show different things they could be buying with said money, though they are still really only identifying how much money they have. I love this small step though, because it brings it into the "real" world, showing the child why they need to be able to count money. They are then asked to find the coins that equal a certain amount. And the next step is finding an equivalent amount using different coins. There are also cards where they have to choose which coins show more or less. And they end by having the child figure out how much money there is written out in decimal form ($1.50).
Unlike worksheets, these flashcards can be used over and over again. Each set comes with 50 double sided cards and a teacher's guide.
I would highly recommend this fun learning tool.
But wait, there's more!!
I have been given the opportunity to offer my readers a giveaway!
So, don't forget to stop back for your chance to win this great product.