Thursday, May 17, 2018


Panda Parents Kindy Curriculum

MESSYLEARNING FOR PRESCHOOLERS AND KINDERGARTNERS by PandaParents is our newest review and Little Bug approves.  I received the first 3 months of digital copies of their program and should be receiving 3 more months soon.  The files included digital reading books, videos, and digital workbooks.  This is a monthly digital subscription service so you would get one month at a time.  Each month there is a story topic and for each month you have a reading book, a video that supports that book, and a workbook that reviews the story and has LOTS of activities to work on throughout the month.

M.E.S.S.Y.Learning is an acronym for:
  • Mixed subjects and activities for integrative learning
  • Engaging activities and questions that challenge brains
  • Simple 1-2-3 steps: READ, WATCH, DO
  • Smart designs for creative learning
  • Yeah, a new way to promote early brain growth!
I was able to download the files with no problem.  I have a wonderful, very economical, color printer that I get ink for very cheaply so I was able to print off the reading book (only 50 pages - 25 duplexed-  for the first month) and the workbook (only 40 pages, 20 duplexed).  They are both PDF files so you could easily just read them on your computer and only print necessary pages from the workbook for assignments.  Technically all pages in the workbook need to be printed but there are some you can adapt and just have child answer on screen.

Their program says it builds complex brain functions (early brain development) and fine motor skills through:
  • Story recall and thinking activities (preschool stories with pictures)
  • Reading, writing, and tracing (early reading activities for preschoolers)
  • Sequence and matching games
  • Counting, math, and writing numbers (early childhood education math activities)
  • Completing patterns, sorting colors, and shapes (preschool learning)
It is recommended that you read the story, watch the video, then complete a page or two in the workbook (they recommend you use it 2-3 times per week for 30 minutes at a time).  We followed the suggestions and worked on ours about 2 - 3 days per week for about 30 minutes or so.  We, of course, reread the book several times and watched the videos multiple times.  Repetition is key at this stage of learning.  Some of the material was very much PreK oriented but Little Bug still enjoyed working on her pages.  I liked the reinforcement she was getting.

Sample book page

The first month we chose to work on has a book with two parts and two videos (part 1 and part 2).  The Part 1 video was approximately 10 minutes long and Part 2 was approximately 38 minutes.  The first part of the book was A Jolly Jingling Journey and if you guessed it was based on the letter J, you would be correct!  The letters R and F are also covered.  The story opens with introducing Davy Rainbow and his dogs Dahu and Magnus. In his dream, they travel to the North Pole and meet Jet, a husky dog. They learn about the letter J and patterns.  They play a game of "find me" to find Santa.  The second part of the book was An Epic Journey.  Davy and his gang help Santa find a missing reindeer.  We learned about the migration of reindeer.  Davy and Santa use clues to find the reindeer.  They use Jet and his friends to pull the sleigh to go look for them.  All through the story the letter "J" and "J" words are being used.  We counted the reindeer with lighted collars.  The story ends with Davy waking up on Christmas morning. At the end of the book, there is an Extra Credit page that has even more activities with an answer key.

Extra Credit page

In the video, Part 1, we learn about the Special Guest Star letter "J" and juggling.  Both upper and lowercase letters are shown.  I also really liked how they subtly introduced foreign language in a couple of places.  It is cute and whimsical and Little Bug got a kick out of it.  Little Bug is 5 years old and I have done a lot of Kindergarten work with her this past year but we will also repeat Kindergarten next year.  The Part 2 video is a movie version of the book with some extra activities.  It is a wonderful reinforcement to the storybook.

Sample video clips

The third part of this curriculum is the workbook that further reinforces themes from the story and this is where your child gets to really engage in various activities including cutting, pasting, matching, coloring, counting, and writing (including tracing). Activities teach your child to problem solve and learn about sequencing.  They will learn about nature and shapes, feelings and emotions.

Workbook cover

Sample workbook page

Little Bug working on her workbook page

Sticker page can be printed on sticker label paper or just
 cut out and glued on page (which is what we did)

There really is a lot to this curriculum and when you look at it as a whole and work through the activities you can see how engaged your child becomes.  It is a fun curriculum that is just perfect for the PreK age group.  It will go a long way to preparing them for kindergarten.  With there just being a book per month I'm not sure this could be a stand alone program (I can't see if they cover all 26 letters of the alphabet), but definitely a great supplemental one.  If the goal is for it to be a stand alone program and all 26 letters will be covered then It would probably work just fine.  I looked at the other two books we received.  Mommy's Baby covers the letters P, T, K, and B and animals and shapes.  The video for Mommy's Baby is only about 5 minutes long.  The third book I received, Scotty Skunk Hears a Scary Sound, covers the letters S and H.  It also covers nature and seasons.

I think I would recommend MESSYLEARNING FOR PRESCHOOLERS AND KINDERGARTNERS for Preschool aged children that have not had experience with their letters and numbers.  It is a wonderful introduction to more formal learning and will give them many skills they need to be Kindergarten ready.  Little Bug is really enjoying it even though she already knows her letters and numbers.  There are still some skills she needs to work on that this curriculum covers.


You can connect with PandaParents on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, and INSTAGRAM.  Currently, they have digital subscriptions available.  If you want printed books they have options for that but they will only fulfill those once they receive 200 orders or more.  Just check their website out for more details on all the options available for purchase.  Of course, your best deal is the monthly digital subscription.

Please also be sure to check out the other reviews to see what fellow Crew members have to say.

Messylearning For Preschoolers and Kindergartners {PandaParents Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Kids Email Safe Email for Kids REVIEW

Kids Email

I AM "THAT MOM."  I protect my kids sometimes to the verge of too much.  Or, can there really be a "too much" in today's society.  Each generation seems to say, "It just wasn't like that in MY generation."  With the dangers of today's technology, I was more than happy to have a chance to review Kids Email Safe Email for Kids by Kids Email.

She thinks it's pretty cool to have her own email!

We received a free 1-year subscription for up to 6 kids.  This is a digital product so you, of course, must have internet access to use this.  It is very customizable.  It was easy to sign up for the account and add the kids in.  You basically have a parent account with a dashboard to customize all of your settings and set up accounts for each child.  I even chose the more "adult" teen version for my 14 year old son.  The extension on his email is kmail instead of kidsemail and he has the extra option to customize his folders in his inbox.  Now my kids can communicate safely with our family members and those I choose to allow.  Don't worry, there is also an option to review all ingoing and outgoing mail in your kids email account.

Customized templates
Teen version has a little different interface that
 also allows for custom organizing of folders

I just don't think you can be "too safe" with what is out there today in cyberspace.  It is too easy for strangers to connect with our kids.  Did you even know that a lot of "innocent" game apps allow your kids to communicate with strangers?  I have the tablets for my kids on lockdown (or so I thought) because I just don't trust what is out there.  My son was telling me a story one day and I said, "who were you talking to and how?!"  He said through his game!!  I said, "well we will just fix that," much to his dismay until I explained to him that he really has no idea who this person claims to be.  I even have a net nanny to filter stuff out, but the "chat" feature from an app got missed.  Mind you this was one of his game apps, not anything like facebook or musically.  I just didn't realize that they have "chat site" options in these games that allow them to play with others over the internet.  I have tried to not allow those games in, but this one got missed.

Kids Email Safe Email for Kids seemed the perfect solution for us.  I have not allowed him to have email, but now he can and I can rest easy.  It allows you to only allow contacts you choose or approve of if you want (or you can allow it to work like regular email with no restrictions except their safe filter).  There are NO ads!  Yup, no worries on crazy images or inappropriate advertisements your kids might accidentally see.  This alone is worth a lot to me!  Especially with a teenage son.  Other features include:
  • email filters that can not just block certain people or allow all emails, but also any attachments, pictures, or links
  • time of day restrictions or even "grounding" for a period of time
  • contact manager that allows you to have a list of approved contacts
  • spam filter (no spam!!)
  • mail queue that allows you to review emails going in and/or out if you choose
  • custom mailbox that your child can organize (teen version) and customize their own inbox (some cute templates are available).
There are so many customizations available and it really does work to block unwanted content.  It also blocks any offensive words.  The activity log not only shows you when they logged in and out but also when they try to access it when not allowed.  Customizing it is fun for the kids and really makes it "their" email.  I love that they can now safely communicate with our relatives that do not live locally.

For my K5 daughter, there is a READ IT feature that actually reads her email to her!  What a great thing while she is learning to read right now.  I love it!  Some other really fun features include the option for them to DRAW a picture in the email (on the tablet and mobile devices) and send it.  They can also send their own attachments if you allow that.

Little Bug LOVES the drawing feature!!

Another bonus for us is that it is also available as a Kindle app!  I love that! I chose Kindles for my kids because of the safety features, now they have kid friendly email to go with it.  The dashboard does look different on your mobile devices and tablets as compared to the computer or laptop, but just as user-friendly.  If your kids have mobile phones, no problem, they have the apps available.

The interface is a little different on the Kindle tablet

If I can't convince you how awesome this is then I have even more good news.  You can try this out for FREE using their 30 day trial.  You don't even need a credit card or anything to sign up.  Just register and you can try it out for 30 days with nothing more to do unless you choose to continue your subscription. How cool is that?!  

If you choose to continue they have 2 options and the annual option is by far the best.  If you choose annual it is only $38.95 for the year (approx $2.99/mth because you get 1 free month extra) and 6 email accounts.  If you choose monthly it will be billed at $4.95/mth and you only get 4 email accounts.

Kids Email

I plan to continue our Kids Email Safe Email for Kids subscription and highly recommend that you check this wonderful resource out.  You can connect with Kids Email on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, INSTAGRAM, and GOOGLE+.

Please take the time to see what other Crew Review members are saying about this.

Safe Email for Kids {Kids Email Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Broody Easter Egger Momma

Aaaaannnnd. . . we have a broody mom!  I have been asking my steadfast Buff Orpington broody moms when they were gonna sit some eggs for me.  They of course just looked at me like I was crazy.  I do have one new Orpington that has pretended to want to sit, so she might in the near future.

But, kind of out of the blue, one of my young Easter Egger hens has decided she wants to hatch some babies!!  She has been very protective of the eggs when I collect them and has been screaming at me, but I just kept ignoring her.  On Saturday I decided to leave a couple eggs under her to see what she would do.  One day and night later and she was still sitting!  I am excited.

You know the saying, "don't count your eggs before they are hatched?"   Well, that is because broody moms can be fickle.  Especially new moms!!  The eggs must incubate for 21 days to hatch.  If at any time she decides to stop sitting on those eggs, they will not hatch.  They need her warm body to incubate them and her skills to keep them turned.

Hoping we hatch out some pullets!!  Roosters will surely be food on the table as we already have too many now. Broodiness can be catching so perhaps one of the other moms will decide to sit soon too.

May your day be greatly blessed!

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