Watch, Listen, & Learn With SmartKidz Media #Review
Need something new to do during lazy afternoons while it’s hot outside, but still want the kids to be learning something? C’mere, let me whisper in your ear… our secret this month has been the SmartKidz Media. With just the right balance of entertainment and education, it can help smooth out those guilty days where everyone wilts in front of the TV because it’s just “too hot to move”.
The SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers covers a wide range of topics in a variety of media, for the whole family. Materials include video, audio, ebooks, and even games.
- World of Discovery – This is where we’ve spent the most active viewing time. Favorites include the Unusual Culture and Bizarre Science videos.
- Music & Fine Arts – All music. Love this section. Would love to see it significantly expanded, and additional materials created to accompany it.
- Mighty Ebook Collection – Primarily for toddlers through early elementary, these are slightly animated books.
- Baby Sign Program – This is for those that use baby signing, and seems to be primarily videos and reference material. While I find it an interesting idea, it wasn’t yet a fad when my children were young, so I just did the obvious-to-me thing and taught them to talk, which they did early and often. Since mine are teens, it wasn’t an area we spent much time looking at.
- My Animal Family – Animals! Anything with animals is always a favorite, but we were pretty surprised to discover that many of these were sort of sing-alongs. Definitely intended for slightly younger children then mine, but still fun for a watch.
- Quick Find Study Guides – These study guides are in the style of an accordian FAQ page. What you first see is a list of pages and topics, and when you click on one, a “page” opens up with more information on that topic. It’s an interesting concept, but not quite what I’d hoped for, when I was expecting some sort of printable. I suppose these could be printed, but not very easily or conveniently.
- Learning Special Needs – There are two parts to the majority of these titles – the first, a book that can be “watched”, and the second, printables and other activities to delve a little deeper into the topic.
- Living Skills Program – These, too, by the description are songs. Never did manage to get any of these to work, and still haven’t managed to remember to try on another device or two.
- Ready Set Sing – Want to utterly annoy your teens with songs for preschoolers and elementary school kids? Then THIS is your section! Have to admit, my kids have never listened to anywhere near as many of these songs as I did as a kid, so of course, I’ve had to share. Big Rock Candy Mountain, anyone? Seriously, I need these on a CD for in the car… they’d probably decide to walk. :)
- Fun Zone – This is where the games reside, along with some short joke videos and jigsaw puzzles. My personal favorite is the mice hiding in cups. It’s simple in concept – can you remember which style cups the mice are hiding in – but a little bit harder in practice, once you get enough cups on the screen.
What Do We Think Of SmartKidz Media?
It’s fun, and something different to watch and listen to for a while; a nice change from regular subscription TV programs, since it’s all educationally-focused. Several sections say “Coming Soon”, and so it’s clearly a work in progress. Because my kids are all older, limited the topics they’d be interested in, we’d need to see regular, fairly frequent updates to encourage us to continue to subscribe. Younger kids might be quite happy with repeat viewing, but for us, the only “repeat”-eligible area is the music, which we’d like to see a wider variety of. (I have to admit, I really, *really* like the relaxation music… it’s wonderful non-words stuff for playing in the background as I’m doing some kind of quiet activity, like writing or reading.)