My kids love broccoli. I don't say that to brag. They just do. I think it's because we used to play with broccoli, calling the little pieces trees and making food forests on our plates. When the question "What's for dinner" was answered with "Trees," I knew I'd hear cheering.
Getting kids to do things for their development stretches the imaginations of parents. We are forever trying to find ways to entertain, cajole, and trick our kids into doing what's best for them. Sometimes, it's easy to get kids to accept lessons. Other times, not so much. It might be the kid resisting, but I think, more often than not, it's us as parents that might have just run out of steam trying to come up with new material. So when something comes along that makes it even easier for us to prepare kids for life, we're pretty much stoked.
Here's one thing preschool parents will definitely be stoked about.
Zorbit's Math Adventure is a game that covers all the skills a preschooler needs to be prepared for first-year school math. Through play, kids learn counting and numbers, shapes, sizing, comparing, separating and matching, and more skills that will give them a boost when entering their first class room. All this is done through the story of Zorbit who needs to build a rocket and solve a few situational problems with the help of friends that come along as they level up. Along the way, the player will get to collect and play with virtual stickers. And we all know how much kids love stickers!
I got to play with Zorbit's Math Adventure at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles last week. What I liked about the game was the simplicity in both the graphics and the actual game itself. Another great feature is that a child is able to play this game on own. There are no words to read and the levels are very intuitive. Leaving a child alone to play might make the teaching parent feel guilty, but more likely, they're feeling relief at not being needed for a few minutes.
Teaching a preschooler may become frustrating for both parent and child. There are a few concepts that tend to trip preschoolers up that seem so simple to us as adults. We don't realize that it's not something that comes naturally because we've understood those early concepts for so long, we may not remember how we learned it. You sort of look at the kid and think "How are you not getting this?" And the kid looks back at you with big doe eyes and says "I don't know, Mommy." And then your heart breaks and you start to feel like a failure at teaching your own kids the simplest things.
Letting the child "play" at learning on their own builds confidence while also building basic understanding of those math concepts that are needed to succeed in the early years of school. Kids think they're playing a video game, but they're really absorbing the core skills that will give them a boost when they enter school.
As a mom who taught my younger two kids at home for several years (and will be returning to doing so during our upcoming year in Mexico), I can appreciate games that teach. The kids are entertained and can learn/play on their own, and I'm not going nuts trying to come up with fun ways to teach simple mathematical concepts. The trick is to find a game they will actually want to play. The bright colors and story line, as well as the stickers and other positive reinforcements rewarding accomplishments are just the things a game needs to keep kids coming back for more learning. Although I was able to find some good math manipulatives to teach them early concepts with, I really wish I would have had something as simple and fun as Zorbit's Math Adventure for them to "play" with on their own.
Zorbit will not help make your kids love broccoli, but it'll definitely get them excited about core math concepts. Just don't let them know they're not just playing a video game.
And here's a great article from the creators of Zorbit's Math Adventure on the importance of absorbing math concepts at an early age:
*Thanks to the staff of Zorbit's Math Adventures for having me at E3 this year!