Finding the Best Educational Apps & Games for Children- Interview with Expert Dr. Jody Sherman LeVos

I grew up using electronics all the time. I had handheld video games, went to Computers class to play Oregon Trail & KidPix once a week at school, and logged onto AOL after school. Since I’ve always been around electronics, I can’t imagine life without them- and I know the value of them as well.

Electronic toys can be very educational, so long as you get the right ones. My handheld Ms. Pacman game? Fun, but not particularly educational. My “laptop” that taught me everything from synonyms to phonics to algebra? Much more educational. Allowing your children to “plug in” and use electronics is definitely not a bad thing- so long as you choose them wisely.

In the 20 years since I was Shane’s age, things have come a long, long, long way. Not only has technology come a long way, but toys are so much more educational now. Entire teams come together to develop, research and create each item &the top professionals are consulted to ensure that the educational component is up to standards. So while I don’t let Shane substitute real life, education or play time with electronics, I do let electronics enhance those things.

Dr Jody Sherman LeVos LeapFrog LeapPad

I recently had the chance to interview Dr. Jody Sherman LeVos, a child development and learning expert, on how to give your kids the best apps & e-games. It’s easy to waste your money on something that your kid just has to have because it has their favorite character or a cute animal- but how do you make sure you only pick games that are worth both your money & your child’s time? In this interview, Dr. LeVos answers:

1. How do I find the best educational content, games & apps for children?
2. How can parents ensure their children are having a “balanced e-diet”?
3. What are the best apps & devices for children?

Be sure to check out the interview below!

You all know how much I already love LeapFrog products, and I want to share them with all of you, so be sure to check out this great LeapPad2 Power Prize Pack giveaway going on now until November 6th!

Note: I was provided with a sample product to thank me for my time on this campaign. All opinions are my own.

Enjoying the “Feel Better” Smile & Smiling It Forward

Note: I have received information and products from McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc., the makers of TYLENOL®. The opinions stated are my own. This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks.

Shane hasn’t been sick too many times, but I can usually tell when it’s coming. He wakes up on the wrong side of the bed & seems to get upset about anything & everything. Asking him what he wants for breakfast can make him cry. By the end of the day, he typically starts sniffling & grabbing some extra hugs. It’s then that I realize he’s not just having a rough day- he’s coming down with something.

Usually that horrible day is followed by at least 2 or 3 days of just feeling downright yucky. Usually a very active kid, he typically doesn’t want to do anything but sleep. Last time he was sick, he’d take little breaks everywhere to rest.

Going down the stairs:

Shane sick

Arriving at the bottom of the stairs:

Shane sick 2

Even attempting to get onto the couch for a lazy breakfast:

Shane Sick 3

We spend sick days on the couch, marathoning his favorite TV shows, cuddling together & playing with his toys. It’s about all he can do.

Mr Ducky and Shane

So when the tides finally turn & he starts to feel better, that telling first smile really grabs my heart! We’ve all seen that “feel better” smile- the one that gives you a glimpse at your little one, and not the sick, weak kiddo they’ve become over the last few days. The glimmer of hope that things will return to normal, and they will be smiling a lot again soon.

TYLENOL® knows how much those first smile moments matter to us & they’ve created a website where you can be a part of SMILING IT FORWARD. Not only can you go to the website to share a smile that matters to you & check out smiles from others, but when you upload your photo TYLENOL® will donate $1 to Children’s Health Fund, which helps children in need see a doctor & get the care they deserve. You can help bring one of the beloved feel better smiles to another parent in need- and all it takes is one minute to upload a photo. Be sure to check it out!

Will you be SMILING IT FORWARD™?

Playing at the Park Without Worry Thanks to Wet Ones

I participated in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Wet Ones. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Since Shane has started school, we’ve been incredibly busy. I haven’t seen my parents in over a month, & they live right down the street! We always have somewhere to go or something to do, and while it’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s exhausting.

I’m so glad that we didn’t sign Shane up for any extra-curricular activities this month. He’s been doing soccer for almost a year but we didn’t opt him in for this session because I wanted to see how our schedule would go with school. {Well, that & he was getting bored, so we may be looking into a different activity anyway.} If we had signed him up for anything, I get the feeling that we would just be accruing make-up classes & not actually attending right now. We are still working on getting a set schedule into place.

Shane riding horse at park

One thing that we have been doing is going to the park. Not only is it easy to fit into any free moments we have {rather than having to be at a certain class at a certain time}, it’s been beautiful outside. After three months being cooped up thanks to the extreme heat we get here, it’s always so refreshing to get outside & play in the Fall. {It’s how I imagine anyone in the cold weather states feels in Spring!}

The problem with the park is that it’s just another way for us to pick up germs. Shane’s already spending 9 hours a week in a petri dish {i.e. a classroom}- in fact, we already got the dreaded “exposure notice” for lice the other day. {He didn’t catch them, knock on wood!} The park is covered in germs, too, so we’ve been making sure to bring our Wet Ones along with us!

wet ones

We always have Wet Ones handy- they kill germs on contact but are gentle enough for the whole family to use. We even used them on Shane as a baby! I’m sure they’ve saved us from a few viruses by now.

In addition to being great for killing germs, Wet Ones are great for cleaning up messes. Wet Ones has made an online booklet filled with “Sticky Situations” from Moms & teachers- and Shane’s in it! He’s a notoriously messy eater & I shared my love of using Wet Ones for quick clean ups. You can check out the booklet here.

Shane in Sticky Situations booklet

Be sure to check out Wet Ones online to learn more, or pick up a pack next time you’re at the store. They’re available in a canister, a to-go pack or as individual wipes so whatever your mess, you’re covered!

How do you stay germ-free?

Why I Choose to Play #cherishchildhood

Note: This post is brought to you by Gymboree. All opinions are my own.

The other day, the weather was finally nice & we were able to head to the park. When we came home, so did six twigs & a giant branch. When Justin got home from work, he was confused and questioningly asked, “You brought those home?!” To which I replied, “Of course I did- they’re his swords. You can’t fight bad guys without swords.”

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in being a grown up. To fret over messes and avoid messy activities, or skip playtime entirely in favor of getting chores or work done. My house is definitely never spotless, but I’m okay with that because I know it’s because I choose to play.

Shane at Play

I have an entire lifetime to clean my house, but Shane won’t be four forever. There will be a day sooner rather than later where he no longer wants to play with me at all. He will grow tired of fighting bad guys & monsters, and his instinct to jump in every puddle he finds will dry up. He won’t want to play endless games of hide & seek or make elaborate storylines with his toys. So for now, I’m enjoying my role as Princess or Fairy or Bad Guy or Horse or whatever Shane can dream up. &I’m enjoying seeing the world through the eyes of a child, when everything is a game waiting to be played.

Gymboree is the official sponsor of childhood and they want to remind us all to take time to play. The dishes and laundry will be there in a few minutes, but you’ll only have a child for so long.

What will you play today?

Sponsored: Headfirst! Expert Advice on Lice – A New Head Lice Resource for Parents

The below content is sponsored by Sanofi Pasteur’s Headfirst! Expert Advice on Lice campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Every parent hopes to avoid dealing with head lice, but much like taxes, some things can’t always be avoided. In the United States alone, an estimated six to 12 million head lice infestations occur each year in school aged children. If you are facing head lice after your child returns home from camp, there are resources available to help!

The Headfirst! Expert Advice on Lice website is driven by experts who are also moms, so they get it. The site features basic information on the little critters like symptoms, diagnosis, prevention and treatment options, and a variety of tools including:

· The How to Lose the Lice Guide, with a handy checklist to save time and reduce stress when battling head lice

· The Headfirst! Lice Experience video allows you to choose your experience, whether it be you’re not sure you have lice, or you just want to get rid of them:

It’s important to remember the most common way to spread head lice is head-to-head contact. Thinking ahead with things like teaching your child to avoid sharing brushes or hats is a good start.

So if you’re trying to get rid of head lice post-camp, or a parent who always likes to be prepared for next season, visit Headfirst! Expert Advice on Lice for more information.

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