10/1/16 - 11/1/16 | NESHEAHOLIC

Sunday, October 30, 2016

KidloLand Toddler App Review

Disclosure: I received a one year subscription to KidloLand for review. All opinions are mine. 
This post contains affiliate links.

Kidloland App

There is a lot of discussion around screen time for young children. How much is too much? Does it stunt creativity? What role does technology play in the development of the next generation?

I am a huge proponent that TV, video games, iPads, and other technology can be efficiently used in educating and entertaining a child when used with supervision and assistance of a parent. When we use apps with BabyCakes we do a lot of talking through the activity, pointing out new objects and reinforcing things that she has already learned. I am all about using technology in a strategic way for learning. 

When the crew from KidloLand reached out to me to try out their app I was interested because I'm always looking for the most up to date digital and non-digital teaching tools. KidloLand is for children under 5 years old to help teach ABCs, animals, fruits, vegetables, shapes and more with the help of 575+ interactive nursery rhymes, songs, stories and educational activities. They gifted me a free 1 year subscription ($39.99 value) to try out and review for you all. 

I started out trying the app on my phone but I quickly realized I didn't have enough space so I switched to using it on my iPad. Because you have to download the different packs of content you will need to use it on a device that has space. I do wish that there was more content available for streaming rather than download but the downloaded content will come in handy in situations where we don't have internet access. Because the content has to be downloaded the first time you use it I suggest downloading a few songs, stories, and activities before you engage your child with the app because even though it only takes a few seconds for each download your toddler may not have the patience to wait. 

There is SO much content available in the app. It is packed with songs, activities, games and stories.There are also special sections like Halloween stories and Christmas songs. Songs like "Old MacDonald" have engaging graphics and music that kept BabyCakes entertained. Stories like "The Ant and the Grasshopper" have nice narration and offer a read myself option if your child is already reading or you would like to read it to them. BabyCakes enjoys having the story read to her and  pushing the arrow to virtually change the page. 

Her favorite activity is Splat that Jelly. It's a game where you tap globs of jelly as they float down the screen. As you tap the glob of jelly it tells you what color you hit. I like it because it helps her learn colors while also working her hand-eye coordination. 

I like how there are new versions of classics as well as the original songs like "The Wheels on the Bus" along with "The Wheels on the Train." Because I have a train obsessed kid that one is a favorite.

Each sections of songs (Vehicles, Fruits and Vegetables, Animal Kingdom , etc.) plays through the songs/videos continuously which is nice if your child can't navigate by themselves just yet. For example if you start the Weather section at any season it will play through the songs for all the seasons and types of weather automatically. There is also a pause button if you need to stop in a certain spot but aren't closing the app. The songs can be solely watched, or your child can interact with them by tapping to make simple animations happen. Her absolute favorite song is "The Itsy Bitsy Spider."

The coloring activities are really good for reinforcing the names of the items being colored and working through color identification. I learned that she knew the color red while she was playing a coloring activity and said "dog! red!" 

As BabyCakes is only two years old she has trouble with activities that require you to drag things across the screen with your fingers but did great with tapping activities like all the popping games. If you have an older child there are a bunch of sorting, matching and puzzle games that they would enjoy. 

If you teach units based on specific concepts (shapes, letters, animals, etc.) the app is a really great addition to non-digital teaching tools. 

All in all BabyCakes really likes the KidloLand app. If my iPad is open it's always her choice. 

KidloLand is available on iOS, Google Play Store, and Amazon Appstore


Saturday, October 22, 2016

How to Carve a Pumpkin and Roast Pumpkin Seeds

*This post contain affiliate links. 

When I was a child each fall I would help my grandfather carve a pumpkin and help my grandmother roast the seeds. The ritual was one of my favorite October activities. I haven't carved a pumpkin or roasted seeds since I left home for college many years ago. I decided this year was the year to pick the tradition back up in my own home. 

How to Carve a Pumpkin

Wipe down your pumpkin with a damp cloth to get rid of all the dust and dirt. 

Grab a pumpkin carving kit. There are plenty of different options available on Amazon HERE

Using the largest cutting tool cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin big enough for you to put your arm through. Lift your newly created pumpkin lid. If it doesn't lift easily use a spatula for leverage to loosen the pumpkin membrane holding onto the lid. Clean up the underside of your lid so that it is smooth and rid of the stringy pumpkin pieces. 

Scoop out all the pumpkin insides with the spoon like tool but save the seeds! Recipe for those below. I like to have two bowls while I'm cleaning out the pumpkin, one for the seeds and one for the rest of the pumpkin insides.  

To create your design you can either use a stencil or draw freehand. Although my pumpkin carving kit came with a number of stencils I did a freehand of a classic jack-o-lantern with a snaggletooth. 

Using the smaller cutting tool cut out your design. Place your pumpkin lid and your carved pumpkin is complete!

For lighting opt for an LED light to avoid a fire hazard. 

Now that the pumpkin is carved lets go back to those seeds!

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. 

Rinse the pumpkin off your seeds. Do this by filling your bowl with water and swishing the seeds around for a few seconds. The seeds float to the top and the pumpkin membrane falls to the bottom so you can scoop the seeds off the surface of the water. Pat seeds dry. 

Toss seeds in 1 1/2 tablespoons of melted butter and a few sprinkles of salt. Lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet lightly coated with cooking spray. I like to use coconut oil spray. 

Bake for 33 minutes or until golden brown. Stir the seeds every 10 minutes or so.

What fall tradition or recipe do you look forward to each year?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Vlog: A Perfect Fall Weekend

This weekend was a great one. The weather was awesome and we were able to take a family trip to Linvilla Orchards, then had a date night at Chima Brazilian Steakhouse, and attend the Philly Baby & Family Expo.  Check out the weekend's vlog below.


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Philadelphia Baby & Family Expo + Giveaway

On October 16th Philly will have it's first Baby &  Family Expo! It's taking place right in Center City at the Marriott Downtown at 12th and Market.

What happens at the Philadelphia Baby & Family Expo?

There will be a number of seminars ranging from Positive Parenting, to nutrition for babies, to transferring from a nursery to a toddler room. View the full seminar schedule HERE. There will also be Stroller Demos with Bugaboo, Baby Gear Advice from BabiesRUs and Book Signings with Paige Wolf, author of Spit That Out!, and April Reigart, author of Dinner Rush.

There will be raffles, swag bags and plenty of product sampling. Who doesn't love free stuff?!

Local baby-wearing expert, Kelly Lunkwitz, founder and owner of Carrying Our Future, will be on hand all day long to provide expert assistance with wraps, slings and carriers.

If you're in the same boat as me and are entrenched in the pre-school search many local pre-schools will have booths where you can learn about their schools, their educational philosophy, and more

There will be fun for the kiddos too. Primp & Play and Music Monkey Jungle are running the kid-friendly Playroom. Your little rock star can drum, dance and play with the Music Monkey Jungle team and create some musical make and take crafts. Do you have a kid who likes a little pampering? Primp & Play has you covered with mini manis and a lip gloss making station (1 for $6; 2 for $10) as well as the chance to make their own bubble baths and bath bombs ($10/each). There will be something for everyone in the Expo Playroom.

And if you need a moment to chill you can visit the Mother’s Lounge for a quiet place to feed and change your baby and get new mama support from experts at Confident Parenting, BabySenseRN and Fulheart Family Support throughout the day. 

The expo runs Sunday, October 16th from 11am - 3:30pm at the Downtown Marriott (12th and Market). BabyCakes and I will be there and we hope to see you too! You can use the code ACG10 to get 10% off tickets AND I'm giving away a Family Pass! Enter to win in the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway closes October 13th!

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