Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Educating through Entertaining Videos and More on SmartKidz Media {A TOS Review}

SmartKidz Media Review

We had the opportunity to review SmartKidz Media thanks to the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  We were given a full year subscription to their SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers.  This digital media resource is chock full of wonderful videos for the entire family, plus there are books and games as well. It is a wonderful way to supplement your child's education and expand your own knowledge as a parent.

We were able to use SmartKidz Media on the computer and by streaming through the WiiU.

When you first log in to  the site, you will see this menu at the top of the page:

From this page you have access to all of the videos that are found in the "Family Media" section. This section is broken up into two parts: World of Discovery and Music & Fine Arts. 

World of Discovery is further broken down into the following sections:
  • Animals and Wildlife
  • Action Sports (which is coming soon)
  • Documentaries and Culture
  • Health and Fitness
  • History
  • Lifestyles and Cuisine
  • Science
  • Travel and Adventure
Music & Find Arts is further broken down into the following sections:
  • Classical Music
  • Cultural Music
  • Jazz and Blues
  • Relaxation
The "Reading and Learning Center" section is also shown at the top of the screen. As you can see, there are eight categories to choose from. Once you click on any of these subtitles, you will go to the page for that section. 
  • Mighty EBooks Collection
  • Baby Signs Program
  • My Animal Family
  • Quick Find Study Guides
  • Learning Special Needs
  • Living Skills Program (coming soon)
  • Ready Set Sing
  • Fun Zone
Each of these sections has multiple learning opportunities. We have enjoyed some of the animal videos in the World of Discovery: Animals & Wildlife section. The children love watching about baby animals. Each video shares footage of multiple animals.

Our favorite section has been the "My Animal Family" section. There we can learn about five different animals. Each animal has three different videos that focus on them. The Video Storybook follows the daily life of a baby animal while the adventures are being narrated by a child.  These videos are 10-15 minutes long. The next video for each animal is called Fun Facts and is 7-10 minutes long. There are many interesting tidbits shared, such as where they live, lifespan, physical characteristics, what they eat, how they communicate, and more. The final video for each animal is called Story Songs. Catchy songs combine with great BBC video footage, and are about 3 minutes long.

To date, we have learned about Chimpanzees and Dolphins from the "My Animal Family" section. We have made little unit studies out of them. I used the information from the Fun Facts section to write out information for the children to copy, and to give the children questions to answer orally. We made Chimpanzee Fact Books, that I shared about in my Littles Learning Link Up post a few weeks ago.

We are currently working on our project to go with dolphins. I will be sharing all about it in a future Littles Learning Link Up post. 

In the Health and Fitness section, I found a couple of fun exercise videos to try out with the children. Our favorite is the "Aerobics and Exercises For Kids." It is actually 53 minutes long, but we have used it for about 20 minutes at a time. I thought using this video a couple of times a week would be a great way to change up their phys ed. time. 

I did try the Baby Signs Program, but I decided it was really too babyish for all of the children. Not that that is a bad thing. It does say "Baby Signs." I just thought I would see if they would get anything out of it. I can definitely see younger children enjoying the videos that feature animated babies signing, perhaps children who are 1-2 years old. Unfortunately, they weren't for us. I would LOVE to see sign language videos for older children as we have done signs in the past and I really would like them to learn some more. 

Another place the children enjoy is the "Fun Zone." There are games, puzzles and jokes/limericks/riddles. We needed to use this section on the computer Flash was necessary. I had fun finding hidden pictures in the "Find the Hidden Treasure" pirate game. The girls enjoyed using their memories to "Dress the Divas." Even Harold spent some time playing the "Let's Play Hide and Seek with Mice in Cups" game. This was a memory game where he had to remember which cup the mice were in. 

There is so much more for us to explore. Now that we are done with lessons for the summer, I foresee us spending a lot more time exploring the site. There are some sections I plan to preview before allowing the children to watch, such as the cultures section. There are even some that I figure will be great for me, including the Cuisine videos where you are shown how to make a dish along with the recipe. My husband is anxiously awaiting the Action Sports videos. We were glad to hear that they will be added shortly and additional videos will be added periodically. 

A word of caution, I did notice in the science study guide section that there is mention of evolution and billions of years. 

All in all, we have enjoyed SmartKidz Media. It is a wealth of information which we are going to have a year to explore.

SmartKidz Media can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Don't forget to stop by and see what my fellow Crew Mates had to say about this great digital library.

SmartKidz Media Review
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