Thursday, December 4, 2008

Quantum Leap Pad

Yesterday Hunter's aunt gave him her old Quantum Leap Pad and a couple of books to go with it. He has been playing with it ever since and really enjoying it, especially the geography book.

In times past I used to be really "anti-electronics" for little kids, not in the sense of being borderline Amish or anything but just having a thing against all the computer and TV learning ware that is on the market for little kids all the way down to newborns. I read Endangered Minds by Jane M. Healy when I was pregnant with Hunter and although there was some things in that book that were good (like the fact that kids who are constantly bombarded with loud, obnoxious television and other media for many hours a day may have some trouble learning in the real world, that is, in real books the letter A doesn't dance up and down and morph into an apple then into an airplane then fly off the screen, accompanied by flashing lights and fast-paced music, all in under 5 seconds flat) but there were a lot of premises in the book that were off, like the idea that when kids watch any type of media they are virtually in "zombie mode" and aren't learning anything, just being mesmerized by all the ruckus.

But now I know that kids can, and do, learn from just about anything. There are a great many people who simply refuse to believe that kids could learn to read from the TV but it happens all the time, and many kids are picking up words and figuring out reading on their own as the result of the TV. Now I don't in any way propose that we sit down our preschoolers to four hours a day of good ol' "educational TV" on PBS, and would much rather have my son playing with blocks or running around outside than watching TV. Hunter rarely, maybe once a week, watches any videos, other than maybe 15 minutes a day of foreign language immersion. But with that said, I do believe that kids can and do learn from just about anything, and pick up an amazing amount of information from their environment. I still would rather him use his imagination and be building and creating when he plays, but a limited amount of play with an electronic box can nonetheless be beneficial.

So, back to the Quantum Leap Pad. He loves the world geography book, and that's the main thing he's been playing with. In this small book they have all the countries and their flags (over 200), the states of the USA, continents and oceans, and tons of other stuff. You can learn how to say "hello" in the languages of Asia, Europe, or Africa. You can learn about longitude and latitude and about different seas, gulfs, rivers, and landmarks. You can learn each country's capital, national anthem, it's population and land area, things about its economy and people, etc. Some things I've heard coming out of this little box of plastic and wires are things like "Vexillology is the study of flags" and "You could fill 160 Olympic-sized swimming pools with the olive oil Spain produces each year." There are lots of games and challenges and it's a great way to review all the geography facts he's learned as well as learning new things. It's supposed to be for ages 8 and up but he didn't have any problem navigating the system.

There were two other books that he was given, one was a sample book (that's the one that comes with the system) with all kinds of stuff like the bones of the body, planets, multiplication, parts of speech, and presidents of the USA. The other book he got was 3rd grade math, which as soon as he's done learning all his numerals he will be able to use.

I do prefer to be learning with him, having lots of face-to-face interaction, learning by doing, etc. But for those times when that's not possible, it sure is nice to have fun toys that teach like this!

"God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us... That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations... O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth..."
Psalm 67:1-2, 4

Hunter is 3 years, 8 months old

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comments!