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"Educational" toys - Page 2

post #21 of 31
I never heard of a toy actually lowering a child's IQ. If there is no volume button & it gives you a headache, or she is getting overly frustrated by it, take it away or limit it. Otherwise, I don't see the big deal; it's a toy.

What I have always understood to be one of the tenants of unschooling is that anything can be learned from anything at any time. A toy is meant to be played w/ and enjoyed, "educational" or not. I actually just saw that toy in the store on Saturday and thought it was pretty neat. DD1 is still too young to be able to follow the directions, so I'm not getting it for her, but I totally would if she were older. She has the leapfrog fridge phonics toy & I hated it at first b/c it is electronic, but she learned the alphabet song & all of her letter sounds from it. She loves it so much that I am putting the next level up one on her Christmas list. Unschooling (and parenting, really) is about letting go of what you think they should like & accepting what they actually do like.
post #22 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Unschooling (and parenting, really) is about letting go of what you think they should like & accepting what they actually do like.
I agree with this statement.

I don't agree with this one:
Quote:
I never heard of a toy actually lowering a child's IQ
I think that too many electronic "crutches" will definitely have a negative impact on IQ. I'm not saying that you personally are advocating unlimited amounts of these kinds of toys (in fact it sounds like you tend to limit them, too) but in light of how too much TV halts creativity, development, etc., I would think the same would be true of a lot of so-called educational toys. IMHO

I do encourage my nearly 3-YO to get outside, do artsy stuff, etc. rather than ever giving her or suggesting she play with anything. If I had a lot of electronic toys lying around then I would feel compelled to try and direct her attention to other things (like art, going out to play, etc). I guess it's about the environment I want to create for her. Maybe this is a little anti-unschooling but it's what I prefer. And I'm totally new at this with child who isn't even school-age yet.

That being said, this toy did provide almost 2 hours of uninterrupted entertainment for her while we were driving to our camping destination last week!!
post #23 of 31
If you want it gone, I suggest waiting until she stops using it for a while, then quietly sneaking it out of the house. If your MIL asks, say it was fun for a while, but she stopped using it and you had too many toys. You don't have to keep it forever.

I'm with you -- I think this kind of toy is obnoxious, and not necessarily innocuous. If your gut says it's bad news, trust yourself.
post #24 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsCCM View Post
Maybe this is a little anti-unschooling but it's what I prefer. And I'm totally new at this with child who isn't even school-age yet.

That being said, this toy did provide almost 2 hours of uninterrupted entertainment for her while we were driving to our camping destination last week!!
Woo hoo, sounds like a good deal to me!

As for "what is unschooling & what is not," you are going to find a WIDE variety out there. My kids are not school-aged yet, either, so I try not to dwell on it. Yes, we do limit electronics, and that is from a Waldorf perspective, not an unschooling one. Many many many unschoolers do not limit electronics of any kind & can explain their decisions. I would continue to do as you are doing, question everything, see what you like, consider all the sides. Your kid is still young enough that when she gets a toy that you don't like, you can take it away. You do not need to justify this to anyone else, you are the parent, it's your choice to own. If you change your mind, you can always give it back.
post #25 of 31
I don't like electronic toys either, so we have always shunned them. Even many of the activity gyms, etc. out today generate flashing lights and sounds upon pressing different parts.

My aversion to such things is that they seem too "pushy", and I worry that they might encourage passivity. Or, at least, they might cultivate a preference for things that demand attention, instead of something like a book to which you must direct your own attention.

Regarding awful toys in general, I don't hesitate to throw them in the garbage. I don't keep them around in case the gift giver visits-- I trash 'em. In my opinion a bad toy is worse than nothing, so I can't bring myself to donate them.
post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogretro View Post
She has the leapfrog fridge phonics toy & I hated it at first b/c it is electronic, but she learned the alphabet song & all of her letter sounds from it.
No, she didn't. The Fridge Phonics toys have many failings, not least of which is that there are only two sounds stored for each letter. Go try it right now and see how many sounds it has for the letter A.

Also, I highly encourage you, if you're going to stick with that toy, to buy the lower-case letters. Why they include only the upper-case letters with the toy is beyond me. (Or, rather, it's not, from a marketing/cash perspective.)
post #27 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iucounu View Post
No, she didn't. The Fridge Phonics toys have many failings, not least of which is that there are only two sounds stored for each letter. Go try it right now and see how many sounds it has for the letter A.

Also, I highly encourage you, if you're going to stick with that toy, to buy the lower-case letters. Why they include only the upper-case letters with the toy is beyond me. (Or, rather, it's not, from a marketing/cash perspective.)
You sound as though this toy is the only source a child will ever have for learning to read. It is just one resource of many, and probably the least influential one, in a family that is otherwise immersed in reading environment.
post #28 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by midnightwriter View Post
You sound as though this toy is the only source a child will ever have for learning to read. It is just one resource of many, and probably the least influential one, in a family that is otherwise immersed in reading environment.
I can't help what you inject into things you read. I would ask you on what you're basing your attack ("You sound as though this toy is the only source"), but of course you could come up with nothing.

What I specifically wrote was that the previous poster's daughter didn't learn the alphabet song and "all of her letter sounds" from it. You can go right up there in the page and read it again, and see that I'm right. And my assertion was perfectly accurate; you can't learn all the letter sounds from a toy that only has slots for two sounds per letter.

I also think you're injecting something extra re: "a family that is otherwise immersed in reading environment". I don't get that from dogretro's posts here, anyway.

And where do you get "probably the least influential" from-- was it dogretro's plan to buy the next step up in the "fridge phonics" line? (That toy also has glaring flaws BTW, including missing some fairly common three-letter words, which would actually teach a child that certain valid words were invalid.)

No, the obvious issue here is simply that you didn't like what I posted, not that there was actually something invalid in it. My advice is to relax; there's no need to defend another poster simply because I point out some serious flaws in a toy.
post #29 of 31
HI,
you may want to look through some books from Paggy Kaye. I've just had one out from the library and it had lots of ideas for games or activities.

My children are 4 and 5. They, specially my five year old, likes to so these learning activities. THey use work books sometimes, because they like doing the activities in them.

My mother bought this games for my children last Christmas, they think it's fun and there's learning involved.
http://www.enasco.com/product/TB23006T
post #30 of 31
Thread Starter 
We have the Leapfrog phonics toy (again, thanks MIL! Geez where would my 3YO be without all her help?!). The sounds are not clear (for ex. the "S" and "F" sound the same to me) and again it's another electronic toy which I just don't care for. However, DD only uses it to spell words so I never really thought of eliminating it -- it's just up there with her other fridge magnet letters. I seriously need to monitor what MIL is giving her though.

Quote:
My mother bought this games for my children last Christmas, they think it's fun and there's learning involved.
http://www.enasco.com/product/TB23006T
We just got "Cooties" which is a game I loved as a kid. It took DD about 5 minutes to understand which numbers on the die correspond to what body part, so this game might be fun to try. I am also amazed at her patience waiting to roll a "1" for the body and then a "2" for the head, even I am ready to just "cheat" LOL! thanks for the suggestion.
post #31 of 31
My daughter actually really did learn the alphabet song from that dang magnet! I had never sung it to her before & after having the toy for a while (she was pretty young when we got it), she could sing the entire song by herself. When she first started to sing the ABCs, I purposely refrained from singing it to her in an attempt to see if she would learn the entire thing from the toy & she did. She has an astounding memory & learns new songs, even from cds, very quickly.

The toy will tell you the long sound and the short sound (long a & short a). That is how we would teach it in person anyway: http://www.phonicsontheweb.com/letter-sounds.php Fridge Phonics also tells you both "g" sounds. As for the next-step-up version, I found it at the thrift store for only $3.50, so, yeah, dd1 is getting it for Christmas (Thanks, someone else's mil!).

Reading is dd1's favourite activity above all other activities that could ever be invented, so the toy is not her only exposure to letters and language. We do have flash cards that only feature the lower case & we do name upper and lower case letters as such ("big g, little g"). I actually do not really care that the toy goes over phonics. I like it more b/c dd1 likes to find and identify letters. The next one will ask her to do this. In general, we do not keep electronic toys, either. They either go to the attic or the thrift store. They are almost always too loud, too difficult to operate correctly, or too blinky. We have a baby gym, but I took the electronic sun thingie off of it.

My main point was to say that a large part of the joy of unschooling is that you, and more importantly, your child, get to choose the path of learning. Part of this means letting go of what YOU think is worthwhile and embracing what YOUR CHILD thinks is worthwhile.

Some recommended reading: http://justabaldman.blogspot.com/2010/06/values.html AND http://justabaldman.blogspot.com/201...-leave-it.html
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