April 30, 2020 · 4:23 pm
Mr. Man uses Geoboards as part of his Occupational Therapy. Every time they come out, Monkey wants to be part of the activity. So, we decided to get a set of our own geoboards from Timberdoodle and post a review on them.
The Timberdoodle geoboards come with 4 boards, 20 activity cards, and 96 rubber bands. The boards themselves are of good, sturdy quality. They are smaller than I have seen with other boards, at 7.5 inches square. However, I found that I actually preferred this compact size. The cards are brightly colored and fit onto the frames well. There was one card that was not usable because the holes were not punched correctly. I really liked that the rubber bands were colored and could coordinate with the patterns. In comparison with other geoboards I have seen, I definitely prefer the boards that include patterns. One problem I had with this particular set of geoboards was many of the rubber bands snapped the first use out of the box. I don’t know if this is typical or if we simply got a bad set of bands, but it was very disappointing. After one use, we already need to replace the bands and this was not due to excessive roughness on the boys part (for once!)
This kit was a bit of a flop for us. Mr. Man sees them as a chore, so he wasn’t overly excited about this set. Monkey played with them but tired quickly. So overall, they serve their purpose but were not a huge success. My biggest pro was the quality of the boards themselves and my biggest con was the low-quality rubber bands. My overall feeling towards them was that they are typical geoboards, nothing overly exciting. They do their job. If you are looking specifically for geoboards this is a good sturdy set that looks like it will take some wear and tear (with back up rubber bands), but in the end, they are simply geoboards.
Disclaimer: Timberdoodle provided me with a discounted set of geoboards in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and received no further compensation.
April 27, 2020 · 8:03 pm
We recently reviewed Artistic Patch Cosmos Foil by Djeco. This craft kit, for ages 6-10, is sold by Timberdoodle and is included in their 2020 First-Grade Curriculum Kit. This Kit would be an excellent addition to your Space themed units. The kit includes 8 sheets of glue patches, 10 foil transfer sheets, and 12 background pages. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of pages that were included with this kit. There are enough to allow several for several crafting sessions.
The boys enjoyed the effect created by the metallic foil. They loved picking out their glue patches and watching the foil bring the design to life. A somewhat softer touch is required to rub and transfer the foil onto the glue patch. This was hard for the boys, who have no idea how to use soft hands. When they went to rub the foil, they often ended up crumpling it. I also noticed they had a hard time placing the foil in a way that would allow them to get the most uses from the pages. This required spatial planning they have yet to master.
Overall, this was a fun project which allowed the boys to practice a variety of skills in a fun and creative way. We would love to get some of the other Artistic Patch Kits by Djeco, as well. Hopefully, Timberdoodle will start carrying a variety of these kits, because they are so much fun!
April 24, 2020 · 9:09 pm
Bored? Like puzzles? Love cookies? Look no further… I am always on the lookout for activities that my boys will like but also get them to think. Smart Cookies is a single-player puzzle game that helps children learn to follow step by step clues to solve puzzles and build deductive reasoning and logic skills. The game contains 9 quality made cookies in 3 colors and 3 patterns. The players use a clue book to follow the clues and figure out where all the cookies are placed on a 3 by 3 grid. The suggested age for Smart Cookies is 6+ and is part of Timberdoodle’s First Grade Curriculum Kit.
I must admit, the first time we tried this game I thought I knew what I was doing and didn’t read the directions. Wrong! I thought the game was a Sudoku style game in which no row or column could share a similar attribute with another cookie. This is how I originally taught the boys to play and I was pleasantly surprised by how well they did. Mr. Man struggled some with his attention to the attributes, but after several attempts, he really started to get it. Monkey had no issues and was placing cookies at speeds that (pleasantly) concerned me… I definitely need to get him some Sudoku puzzles!
THEN, I realized we were playing the game incorrectly… oops! I thought each clue was an individual puzzle. However, the book gives step by step clues that you must follow to solve the entire puzzle. As long as you do not violate one of the clues, colors and shapes may share the same rows and columns, unlike Sudoku. This need to follow the clues step by step was great practice for Mr. Man, who often reminds me of a ping pong ball. However, it was very difficult and tiring for him. Monkey was still able to solve the puzzles easily, but they didn’t hold his attention as long as our first attempt. The puzzles get harder as the children move further along in the book and new rules/clues are added.
Everyone really enjoyed Smart Cookies and it definitely exercised their minds and made them think. Anything that I can find that helps Mr. Man reign in some of his impulsivity and force him to follow step by step direction is a win as far as this Mama is concerned. These are the skills we need to work on daily in our home and Smart Cookies is definitely a fun way to do that. It is also a great activity to help recognize attributes and build spatial awareness.
Disclaimer: Timberdoodle provided me with a discounted copy of Smart Cookies in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and received no further compensation.
April 18, 2020 · 1:22 pm
We had the opportunity to review Timberdoodle’s new product Deep in the Jungle Sticker Mosaic Kit by Djeco. This kit was a lot of fun. The kit comes with 4 Jungle pictures and metallic foam stickers which are added to the pictures to create a sticker by number style work of art. Each boy picked a picture and set to work. The instruction booklet was easy to follow and showed which numbers/colors should be completed first. My only complaint with the kit is that the sticker sheets are not labeled in any way, so you have to guess which sheet is which color/number. Some of the colors are very similar and it was quite tricky. I was concerned that if we used the wrong sheet we would run out of stickers for the other two pictures.
I was pleasantly surprised that this activity caught Mr. Man’s attention ard REALLY kept his focus. He was persistent, despite the fact that this activity is challenging for him due to fine motor weakness. This ended up being a great activity for him! It really had him working on many of the skills he focuses on in OT. He was able to work on fine motor skills, processing/planning skills, and it slowed him down enough to help him work on his difficulties with impulsivity. I would definitely purchase more of these for Mr. Man.
Monkey, on the other hand, surprised me for a different reason. Monkey loves art, but he showed little interest in this activity. In fact, he did one color (with much encouragement) before walking away completely. Monkey usually loves art, but I think this project was a little too structured for him. He enjoys a more free and messy approach when it comes to his creativity. Monkey is also a bit on the outside of the 7-13 recommended age range for this activity, so that may have been part of his disinterest, too. Although, Mama is definitely beyond the age range and I wanted to do my own design!
Overall, the Beans were very impressed with the quality of the Deep in the Jungle Mosaic Kit and would love to see more kits similar to this with a variety of designs. Like I mentioned, my only improvement would be for the sticker sheets to be labeled with their matching number. Other than that, we thoroughly enjoyed this activity and will be proudly displaying Mr. Man’s final product.
April 15, 2020 · 12:00 am
We recently had the opportunity to explore and review Timberdoodle’s new My Epic Life Word Book. Mr. Man has always had a difficult time with vocabulary, he struggles to use a variety of words when speaking. The My Epic Life Word Book is a 235 page 2019 National Parenting Product Award winner and a 2019 Tillywig Award winner. It is a colorful and simplistic way to introduce children to a variety of new words. Each page is illustrated with engaging and fun cartoons that easily capture the children’s eye. The vocabulary words are clearly visible and the definitions are simple and straight forward. I really liked the use of the appropriate amount of empty space on the pages so the words do not get lost in the illustrations. The book is divided into eight different sections by topics such as Words for Time, Words for My epic everyday life and Words for My epic outdoor adventures. I will likely add using this book into our school day by using it to illustrate a “Word of the Day”.
Monkey thoroughly enjoyed looking at the illustrations and loved the humor in them. Both boys loved the word cartoons section located in the back of the book. In this section, you are able to scan a QR code and watch a short cartoon video that shows the meaning of the words. This was very engaging for them. However, I do wish that these codes were located on the pages with the words throughout the book, instead of all on a two-page spread with reference back to the page number which included each vocabulary word.
If you are looking for a simple way to incorporate vocabulary building into your day, My Epic Life Word Book is an excellent resource. For extra fun, Bogart (the bookwork larva) is hidden throughout the book. There is also a QR code to scan that will take you to an Epic Word Adventure game. At the time of our review, this game wasn’t available yet, but it looks like a fun way to reinforce the vocabulary and we will definitely be checking it out when it becomes available.