Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Need Something to Keep Your Kids Busy?

Before I was a mom, I was a teacher.

For sevenish years I shaped and molded a variety of elementary school children in three states. I enjoyed it. I was good at it. Some days I really miss it.

I was kind of forced to become a stay-at-home mom because my oldest was born eight weeks early arriving home just in time for my very short maternity leave to end. How could I leave my tiny premature, RSV prone baby at a day care less than 24 hours after his homecoming? Answer: I couldn't. I called to extend my substitute the next day. And the next day. Eventually I was fired. Although I could, and probably still can, teach the pants off half the teachers in the state of Texas, I am no longer welcome to do so. So what. I am grateful for my dismissal almost every day.

But I still miss teaching. Especially this time of year. I love the smell of new crayons and paper and feel the yearn for a brand new lesson plan book. Right now, I'd really like to homeschool all my kids forever and ever and hang art projects from the ceiling and serve lunch on melanine trays just like the old days. My husband, eh, he's not that keen on the idea. So for the summer, I play school two days a week with my kids. Where before I'd have sixteen kids of the same age, now I have three of various ages so it's hard to keep everyone interested every single minute.

A few weeks ago Jennifer with the Jump Start company contacted me about reviewing a new product. I don't usually jump at all the offers presented to me, but this one intrigued me. When I was teaching those Gifted kids in West Virginia, the only room they had to stick put us was one half of the computer lab. Well, it was that or the hallway. The teachers didn't like having to be forced from it during prime morning hours, but it worked. Sometimes when the kids finished their work and I had nothing else for them because they were so fricking smart they cruised through everything I had and I couldn't keep up, I'd let them use the computers. Being 1997 and, knowing almost nothing about computers, I'd just give them a Jump Start CD and let them go. The kids LOVED it. I was even known to spend a few too many of my lunch hours cruising through the fourth grade disc because I was addicted because I wanted to be sure the kids were learning.

I liked the program so much I bought the toddler, preschool, and kindergarten programs for Jacob. All before he was eighteen months old. And he loved them too.

So now Jump Start has a virtual web world where kids can make their own avatars and cruise through the city playing games and earning coins. I jumped at the chance to check it out and thought it might be a good educational way to keep my big kid occupied while I attempted to teach the younger two ABCs and 123s and all that stuff that's sooo boring to almost third graders.

Jacob loves using this program. There are different places in the world to stop where he can play games and they each have some sort of skill to teach or practice. Yesterday he was sequencing sounds on instruments ala 1980s Simon which actually does help my ADD kid learn to stop and listen.

Here's what he has to say about it:

Jump Start is cool. You can jump. You can play cool things. Also you can go through waterfalls and you can collect jewels and money so you can buy things like new clothes. It's fun.

Think you'd like to try it too?

Well, ONE of you can. I'm giving away a three month membership to the Jump Start Virtual World so you can check it out for yourself. If you're interested, drop me a comment a let me know your kid's favorite computer game and you'll be entered in my drawing. If you really want it, post a link to your blog and I'll give you two more entries. I'm going to let Monkey-Girl choose the winner next Monday morning so sign up before then.


kelly jeanie said...

Ooo that sounds right up Owen's alley. He's all about the Wii right now but when he gets on the computer he likes Webkinz and Zoo Tycoon. Thanks Andria!

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Don't enter me as I've reviewed it as well and have a membership. I just wanted to reiterate that my kids love it, too!

Mommy Daisy said...

I've used the Jump Start computer CDs with kids before, but I've never had a chance to spend much time on them.

This would be great if it would give my preschooler something else to do. He loves computer games (new to him), and he's smart enough to keep up with it. He baffles me.

Leslie said...

That sounds like a great computer program!!

(But don't enter me in, we don't have access to the internet at home, and my two are too little & too old for this one!!)

Jo said...

We are definitely interested up here Andria... my ADHD/Asperger's boy loves anything on the computer and Miss Priss is getting to love the computer as well.

Caleb's favorite games are rollercoaster tycoon and anything on NickJr. He also loves his Leapster games... his favorites change weekly.

Sydney likes Littlest Pet Shop and Webkinz world. She also loves PetPals on the Leapster.

Jo Ellen ;)
Carthage, TX

Amie said...

My kids love Jumpstart! They all learned to use the computer with the toddler game.

Lynanne said...

Favorite kids computer game? Jumpstart Toddler, beyond compare. We have the older version (10 years+) that has the animals that look like Fisher Price Little People. My older boys grew up on the series of games. Thanks for telling us about the online version! What a great idea! I'm sure my youngest two will love it!