Showing posts with label Media for Kids. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Media for Kids. Show all posts

Mar 26, 2014

Our Favorite Kids Educational Programs on Netflix Streaming

We save hundreds each year by not buying cable TV. Instead, we pay for Netflix streaming ($7.99/month) and one-at-a-time DVD service ($7.99/month). Not only is it incredibly cheaper, but we don't have to deal with commercials. And for years, I've been using Netflix's instant streaming programing to help educate my kids. I mean, if I'm going to let them watch anything, why not let it be something they can learn from? With that in mind, here are our favorites.* (All age listings are approximate.)

Science:

The Magic School Bus (ages 5 - 9)
Beakman's World (ages 5 - 10)
How Stuff Works (ages 5 - adult)
How Do They Do It (ages 5 - adult)
Reading Rainbow Ocean Life (ages 3 - 5)
God of Wonders (creation science; ages 5 - adult)
Dragons or Dinosaurs (creation science; ages 6 - adult)
Wonders of God's Creation (creation science; ages 6 - adult)

History:

Dear America (ages 5 - 13)
Storybook Treasures: Amazing America (ages 5 - 9)
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (ages 4 - 12)

Language/Reading:

WordGirl (ages 5 - 9)

Logic:

Busytown Mysteries (ages 2 - 5)

Preschool Basics:

Shapeville Park
Numberland
Phonics Farm
The Amazing Alphabet Amusement Park
Sesame Street and Sesame Street Classics

Misc.:

The All About series (All about Astronauts, All About Cars, etc.; misc.; ages 3 - 6)
Reading Rainbow Music, Music Everywhere  (ages 3 - 5)
Mighty Machines (ages 2 - 5)
Various documentaries (These change rapidly, so I suggest browsing the documentaries section regularly. Note that you can expect all nature related documentaries to mention evolution.)


BONUS: If you use a Roku device for streaming Netflix, there are many other educational channels you can watch for FREE. These channels include:

PBS Kids
PBS
The Smithsonian Channel
The History Channel
National Geographic Kids
NASA
Kids' Food

The list grows monthly. (Note that some stations, like The History Channel and National Geographic Kids, allows Roku users to see only some episodes.)

* Please note that Nextflix streaming offerings change periodically.


Nov 27, 2013

My Family's Favorite Board and Card Games | Best Board and Card Games for Kids

Of all the toys you can buy for children, games are really some of the very best. Children tire of them far less quickly than other toys (assuming they are great games), they last for many years, they can help bring families together (game night is our favorite night!), and they offer a lot of good learning experiences. That's why I'm always delighted when my children receive a game as a gift.

If you're thinking of some new games for your children - or someone else's - here are some we particularly enjoy. All of these games are rated as an A by both my children and myself.

Games for Little People

Busytown
My children, ages 5 and 8, adore this game, and we've been playing it for about a year now. As far as first board games goes, this one is tough to beat. This game features a very large (6 foot) and sturdy game board with a classic Richard Scarry Busytown scene. Just looking at the board is fun for kids, as they see downtown Busytown, the countryside, and even the shore, with all of Scarry's cute animal characters working and playing. The goal of the game is for each player to meet up at a certain spot so they can ride the ferry together and get to the picnic before Pig Will and Pig Won't eat all the food. Along the way, Goldbug may come along and ask players to find as many things (like balloons or fire hydrants) as they can. The more everyone finds, the more everyone can movie forward to the ferry.

Skills required: Simple counting of squares on a game board. I often helped my son with this when he was younger, but if your kids can count well and follow a path along a game board, they can play this game independently. Also, if you have young kids, you know that sometimes competitive games can be a challenge. Busytown is a good introduction to board games in part because players work together toward a common goal.

Age recommendation: 3 (with help) to 8.

Uncle Wiggly
Back in the 1910s and 20s, there were some popular children's stories with a character named Uncle Wiggly. This game was created around that same time, but doesn't require that your children know the original character or stories.* The game board is heavy and beautifully printed. It shows a winding path along lovely scenes - with some unhelpful creatures (like an alligator and a fox) along the way. Each player moves his piece along the board, following directions on a card he's just drawn. The goal is to be the first to make it to Dr. Possum's house for tea.

Skills required: Counting of squares on a board game. Reading isn't absolutely required, although the cards do offer cute little rhymes on them. If your child can read the numbers of the cards and count spaces on her own, she can play this game independantly.

Age recommendation: 4 to 7.


Candyland
This is a classic game every child should own. The goal is to travel along a winding path in Candyland (a place with such fun things as a rainbow bridge and a licorice forest) and be the first to make it to the candy castle. Players draw a card with either one or two board squares of a certain color and move to the nearest square of that color.

Skills required: Children must know their colors and be able to follow a game board path. Children must also be able to count to 2. For players who are new to board games, parental help is required. Otherwise, kids with these skills can easily play this game independantly.

Age recommendation: 3 to 7.


Go Fish

I don't think there's a better first card game than Go Fish. Each player begins with a small number of cards (which most kids can hold in one hand without much trouble). Each player then tries to find as many matches as she can, asking each player: "Do you have a [type of fish]?" Other players either answer "Yes" and give their opponent the appropriate card, or they say "Go fish," and the player asking the question must draw a card from the pile. The player who puts all her cards down as matches first wins.

Skills required: Being able to match alike cards. If children can't read the names of the fish, they can just describe the type of fish, or (when not playing the game) memorize their names. Kids can easily play this game on their own.

Age recommendation: 3 to 8.



Games for Slightly Older Kids (starting at about about age 6 or 7)

Uno
This is a card game everyone in our house enjoys. The goal is to be the first to get rid of all your cards. The game begins with one card facing up in the middle of the players. Each player must then try to remove one or more cards from their hand and put them on top of that card by matching color, number, or function. Things that make this game fun include cards that skip other players, reverse the direction of play, make players draw additional cards, or change the color to any the player desires. There are several variations on this game, so be sure you're just buying the classic card set, as seen above.

Skills required: Children should be able to hold a number of cards in their hands. (Although I have sometimes given my daughter a large egg carton to hold her cards in.) Players must also be able to recognize all colors and numbers. If they can do this, independant play is quite do-able.

Age recommendation: 7 to adult.


Connect 4

The goal of this two person game is simple: Be the first to get four of the same-colored discs in a row. Rows can run horizontally, vertically, or at an angle. Players take turns inserting discs into the plastic game piece to either create their own row or block their opponent's. This is a great game for teaching children to think about other players' strategies. And once your children master playing the game this way, there are directions for making the game different and more difficult.

Skills required: Children must be able to count to four and recognize rows going horizontally, vertically, and at an angle. (If they can play Tic-Tac-Toe, they can play Connect 4.) Once they master these skills, kids can play this game without parental help.

Age recommendation: 6 to adult.


Jacks

A good, old fashioned game of jacks teaches kids motor skills and strategy. There are many ways to play this game, but the most basic is this: A player tosses the jacks on the floor. She bounces the small rubber ball once, catching it while simultaneously picking up one jack. The next time, she tries to pick up two jacks. The next time, three, and so on. This game may be played alone or with 2 players.

Skills required: Counting and motor skills.

Age recommendation: 7 to 10.


Sorry
The goal of this game is to get all your pawns "home" before anyone else. Each player moves forward by drawing a card and moving their pawn the presented number of spaces. Sounds simple - but other players can send you back home, trade places with you, and so on. May be played with 2 - 4 players.

Skills required: Counting. Also, it's important to be able to read some of the cards, because they may actually tell you to move backward so many spaces, instead of forward.

Age recommendation: 7 to adult.


Chinese Checkers

This game board is made with indentations for marbles to fit into. Each player has his own color of marbles and tries to move them forward to their opponant's part of the board. Marbles can only be moved one space at a time, unless your own or other player's marbles can be jumped over. The first person to move all his marbles into his opponant's position wins. For 2 - 4 players.

Skills required: This game tests your child's spacial understanding. Children must learn to stategize their positions to get where they want to go as quickly as possible.

Age recommendation: 7 to adult.

Twister


No game makes my children laugh as hard as Twister. Technically, it is neither a card or board game - unless you can count a large plastic "rug" as a "board." The "rug" has dots of several colors on it. One player uses a spinner to tell the other players to put a particular limb (hand or leg) on a particular color. This continues, with players unable to move a limb from it's former location unless the spinner tells them to. The results are hilarious as kids bend into all kinds of strange positions and get twisted into each other. The winner is the person who is last to fall.

Skills required: Color recogniation and knowing the right from the left.

Age recommendation: about 6 to adult (Younger kids can play, too, but it's much more difficult for little people to stretch across the "rug" to reach the appropriate colors.)

Yahtsee


Technically, this isn't a board game either - but Yahtsee is too fun not to include on this list. Each player rolls a set of dice and tries to get either as many of one number as she can, or combination of numbers. Each play earns a particular number of points and the person who finishes getting all the combinations and gets the highest score wins. Like Uno, there are a lot of variations on this game, so be sure to get "Classic Yahtsee."

Skills required: Basic adding skills, plus an ability to read dice. Parents can help with the adding.

Age recommendation: about 7 to adult.

Aug 23, 2013

Top 12 Media Recommendations for Christian Kids - by guest blogger Tanya Dennis

Note from Kristina: 

Moms have a unique viewpoint when it comes to media. When my children have been watching secular television shows, for example, their behavior and attitude usually leaves much to be desired. But if we fill our home with Christian music, movies, and other media, I always notice their actions and words are much more Christ-like. 

With that in mind, I asked blogger Tanya Dennis for her recommendations on great Christian media for children. (Her kids are a bit older than mine, and I felt she had more experience in this area than me.) Her list is terrific; I think you'll find it just as helpful as I do.



Media surrounds us. Parents, especially those in the church, often bemoan the effects of the media on younger generations. Movies, music, video games…they all influence our children. Sometimes the impact goes almost unnoticed. Other times it’s quite obvious.

I remember our first day of public school. My then first-grader came home and insisted that she have shorter skirts. “My friends said the boys won’t like me if I don’t wear short skirts.” She said this pointing to a girl wearing a “Future Mrs. Beiber” t-shirt. I was horrified.

There is good news. The media can also to influence our children for good. Christian music and movies have long been criticized for inferior quality. This certainly is warranted in some cases, but we’ve come a long way, now offering highly competitive entertainment with a faith-based education. VeggieTales and Adventures in Odyssey are great, but sometimes you want something different.

As you strive to train your children consistent with your faith, consider these alternative resources. They have proven favorites in our home.

MOVIES

Read and Share DVD Bible [SERIES]: Based on the Read and Share Bible by Gwen Ellis (illustrated by Steve Smallman), this series offers animated vignettes of Bible stories. Most volumes include several pieces from both the Old and New Testaments. A few volumes focus only on certain holidays or stories, such as Christmas. I like this series because they’re peaceful, simple, and biblically accurate. They include a large cross-reference of stories, not just the over-done Sunday School ones.

Age Appeal: 5 and under
Total running time is 60 minutes per DVD.

On the Farm with Farmer Bob [SERIES]: Featuring the voice talents of Amy Grant and Vince Gill,
these videos use farm characters to teach and re-tell parables from Scripture. Many of these are also available in a “Literacy Edition.” These offer interactive bonus features that encourage and teach fundamental phonics and beginning reading skills, each focusing on specific letters or letter blends. My kids loved the quirky talking animals. I liked the applicable lessons taught.

Age Appeal: 4-8
Videos run 40-60 minutes in length, depending on the episode.

3-2-1-Penguins! [SERIES]: The creators of VeggieTales also produced this sci-fi series that teaches moral lessons based on faith. As twins Jason and Michelle travel throughout the galaxy with their new penguin friends they learn a lot about the fruits of the spirit, about friendship and how to live lives that honor God. Their grandmother always comes in at the end to share a memory verse and wrap up the lesson.

This is very, very similar in style to VeggieTales, but it appeals more to boys, specifically, and to older kids, generally. Only seven videos were made in this series, the last in 2008. My kids still think they’re hilarious, and I’ve caught them applying the lessons to their own situations.

Age Appeal: 5-10
Total running time is 30 minutes per video.

What’s in the Bible with Buck Denver [SERIES]: This is by far my favorite Christian video series for
kids. It was created by Phil Vischer, but has very little in common with VeggieTales. Instead of teaching morals or simple Bible stories, this series dives into theology and deeper questions about faith. It’s not just what we believe, but why we believe it, how we can know that it’s true, and what is its relevance to us today. These are crucial questions and I am so grateful to this series for helping me teach my children. As I’ve lent these out to friends and all have confessed how much the kids – and adults! – learn by watching them. Truly a fantastic series, complete with catchy songs, storytelling, animation, puppets and live characters. This series is also available as church curriculum.

The only criticism for this series relates to its interpretation of Creation. Phil Vischer mentions the “Big Bang” twice in the first episode. He does not discuss evolution or the age of the earth. Rather, he emphasizes that Christians believe differently about how long a “day” is and that the most important point about Creation is not “how” but “Who.” He acknowledges the dispute, but re-focuses the discussion on God as Creator rather than the specific way He created. Even with this, I cannot recommend the series highly enough.

Age Appeal: 6 and up
Total running time is 60 minutes. This includes two 30-minute episodes per DVD.


MUSIC 
I do not like children’s choirs or CDs. My kids listen to what my husband and I listen to. Their favorite songs come from Third Day, Jeremy Camp, and Jamie Grace. However, there are a few CDs we have purchased with them in mind.

The Go Fish Guys: Their tagline is “music for kids that won’t drive parents bonkers.” Well, I can get my fill, but as far as kids’ music goes, they’re definitely at the top. With pop sounds and intricate harmonies, they teach kids through songs like “Bible Book Bop” and “The Ten Commandment Boogie.” They even have an entire VBS program based on their albums.

Seeds Family Worship: These  CDs include 12 songs per disk, each one based on Scripture. It’s a perfect way to get God’s Word in their heads and hearts.

Note from Kristina: I'd also add the Hide 'Em In Your Heart CDs by Steve Green. They feature simple but pleasant songs that really get Bible verses into our heads. Green does a nice job of targeting verses that are especially helpful to children (like "children obey your parents in the Lord" and "when I am afraid I will trust in you")

In addition, if you're looking for audiobook CDs that aren't are Adventures in Odyssey, I recommend the Jonathan Park series, which focuses on Creation science.

TABLET APPS 

I’ve not found a ton of apps that I like. Honestly, most are pretty cheesy and not worth the money. Many that are really good – like Jesus Calling – are the same, both in content and price, as bound book versions. If given a choice between a traditional book and a tablet, I’ll always prefer the book for my kids. Here are a few tablet apps that we do like.

SuperBook by CBN: (Available from the Apple Store)This offers a number of educational activities for
kids. They can read the Bible (New Living Translation), view Bible profiles, take quizzes, play games or watch videos. Age Appeal: 7-10

Granny’s Bible Dojo: (Available from the Apple Store) Something like Fruit Ninja, this game features a karate-kicking grandmother who uses her dojo to teach the books of the Bible. Players must break the board in the right order to earn prizes. Mistakes will lead to bruised and eventually broken hands. My kids and I have fun with this one! Age Appeal: 5 and up.

The American Bible Challenge Game: (available for Kindle) This app provides a fun, fast-paced Bible trivia. Any questions that are missed get added to a Bible study section that users access at the end of each level. Not only does it challenge users’ knowledge, but it also teaches and helps fill the gaps with solid Bible training. Age Appeal: 8 and up.

The Bible App: (formerly called YouVersion; available for Kindle or Apple products) This app was not created for kids, but our kids use it. It offers Bible reading plans, several versions of the Bible and daily devotional encouragements. Age Appeal: 8 and up.

Your Turn: Tell me. What are your favorite multi-media tools for your kids? 


Tanya Dennis invites readers to pursue God in the dailies, even those seemingly mundane details of parenting and suburban life. She is a former contributor to Christian Children's Book Review and the author of Big Word Bible Studies, a series of in-depth explorations through the Old Testament. Learn more at her website: www.TanyaDennisBooks.com.


Dec 3, 2012

Best Christ-Centered Christmas Picture Books

Song of the Stars: Imagine how nature might have reacted to Christ's birth and you have the essence of this book. Animals, plants, the wind, skies, sea, and more all celebrate Jesus until finally we see Bethlehem with shepherds and angels, then a little barn, then a baby surrounded by animals, then the baby held by his mother. "Our Rescuer!" Mary cries, and all "gazed in wonder at God's great gift...Heaven's Son sleeping under the stars that he made."

The Christmas Troll: A boy is angry with his parents for not letting him open one of his Christmas presents early and takes his little sister and runs off into a nearby forest. There, they meet a troll - a wonderful, sweet troll. He is a fantastic, unexpected gift - one they hadn't deserved, yet received all the same - and now the boy can't wait to tell everyone about it. This is a well layered story that will lead to discussions such as: Do people put God in a box? Is God more unexpected and wonderful than we think? Are God's greatest gifts the surprising ones?

Tiny Baby Jesus: "Tiny, tiny fingers touch a piece of hay./Tiny baby Jesus born in Bethlehem today. Now those very fingers,/grown so sure and strong-/Jesus is a carpenter,/working all day long." So this book goes, highlighting some aspect of Jesus at birth, then some aspect of the rest of his life - up until the miracle of his resurrection.

The Christmas List: Everyone keeps asking Emily to make a Christmas list of things she wants - but she's uncomfortable with the idea and not very excited about the holiday. Then she learns that God's love - and the action it requires - is the most important thing to put on a Christmas list.

The Three Trees: Three trees have great aspirations, but when they are cut down, they think there's no chance they will do anything great. However, the first is turned into a feeding trough that later holds baby Jesus. The second is turned into a boat from which Jesus later calms the water. The third becomes Jesus' cross. This beautiful story highlights the idea that God often uses us in ways we don't expect.

Berenstain Bears Get Ready for Christmas: This simple lift the flap book shows the bear family preparing the nativity scene for their home. They find various parts (baby Jesus, Mary, the shepherds, etc.) throughout the house (and under the flaps) and each one is explained.

My First Countdown to Christmas: Actually an advent devotional, suitable for toddlers through perhaps first grade. In addition to the devotionals, some crafts are suggested, as well as prayers.

Touch and Feel Christmas: A great first Christmas book, it tells the basic story of Jesus' birth with highly attractive collage illustrations that have touch and feel elements.

Away in a Manger: In this simple book are the lyrics to the song "Away in a Manger," accompanied by gorgeous illustrations. It's a great way to both cement the reason why we celebrate Christmas and teach your child a simple Christmas song.
 
When Mother Was 11 Foot 4: A beautifully written story of a boy whose mother love Christmas. But one year, Mother, now single, is working but not making much money. There may be no huge Christmas tree and abundance of gifts. Mother is defeated, but her children work to raise enough to buy a meager tree. They decorate it (including a little Sunday School project of Jesus in the manger) and when Mother walks in and sees it, the little woman suddenly feels 11 ft. 4. The children have learned the power of giving.

Pine Tree Parable: A farmer and his wife plant Christmas trees. Years pass and finally the trees are ready for selling. But one tree, the farmer's wife just can't part with; she puts a not for sale sign on it. Then a very needy family visits the tree farm. The only tree they can afford is pathetic. The little girl in the family hopefully asks for the beautiful, not for sale tree instead; the farmer's wife cannot say no. As the tree falls, she thinks, "Yes, it was a great sacrifice. but it brought even greater joy. Isn't that just like Christmas?"

Saint Nicholas: This attractive book explains the man behind the Santa legend, telling the most famous parts of his story. A man has daughters who cannot marry because they can't afford a dowry. Nicholas secretly drops the needed cash into their shoes, set before the fireplace at night. The legend of St. Nicholas - a man who serves God - begins.

Josie's Gift: Josie wants a gorgeous blue sweater for Christmas. But it's the Depression and Josie's father just died. Christmas, she thinks, is about everything she doesn't have. On Christmas Eve, Josie spots a package under the tree and secretly opens it; it's her sweater! Yet moments later, she feels just as empty as she was before opening the box. She walks outside, asking God for answers. She discovers a man and his wife huddled in the barn, with an infant in their arms. They need a warm place to sleep for the night. Josie tucks her blue sweater around the baby. “Christmas is not about what we want. It’s about what we have.” Josie heartfully thanks God for Jesus and for Christmas. Because Christmas, the author concludes, is about “what she had, deep down in her soul that only God could give.”

Legend of the Christmas Stocking: There are a number of books out there explaining Christmas symbols with a Christian slant, but The Legend of the Christmas Stocking is by far the best-written. It's the story of a boy who longs for a beautiful model ship for Christmas - but there isn't much money for presents. Then the boy hears a sermon explaining why we use Christmas stockings - and the he decides to sacrifice his own desires so he can give gifts to his mother and sisters.

Gift of the Christmas Cookie: It is the 1930s, in the heart of the Depression. To one boy, Christmas doesn't seem very appealing without his father (who is far away, working) or presents. His mother makes some Christmas cookies for the poor, explaining such cookies were originally used to tell the story of Jesus' birth. Still, the boy is not happy the cookies will go to others, instead of him. Yet when his mother offers him the biggest of the cookies, the boy gives it to a vagrant man...then tells him the story of Jesus' birth.

Waiting for Christmas: Is a story about waiting patiently for Christmas. In it, a young German boy learns Jesus had to wait two or three years for his gifts from the wise men. To help the waiting, his mother gives him a daily advent cookie. “Christmas would come, he knew. For now, he would just have to wait. But that was all right. Some things are worth waiting for.”

The Tale of Baboushka: Baboushka ("grandmother" in Russian) keeps a very tidy house, and when three visitors come to her door, she makes sure they have exactly the food, drink, and shelter they need. When they tell her they are traveling to meet a new king (Jesus) and ask her to join them, Baboushka says she will follow -  but first she will tidy her home. By the time she gets around to Jesus, the star guiding the way to him is gone, so she travels around giving gifts to children around the world, ever in search of the king.

Jun 22, 2012

Nature Documentaries with a Christian Point of View

If your child loves watching nature shows on television, but you're tired of how frequently evolution is mentioned, have I got a resource for you! Zondervan, the famous Bible publisher, has released a series of DVDs called Wilderness Discoveries. Each is an interesting nature show, sans evolution, which gives God credit for his creation. So far, Amazon.com and Christianbook.com only have the first three DVDs available, but more will soon be released.

We have watched all the DVDs as a family; my children (ages 3 and 6) love them, and my husband and I find them interesting, too. I highly recommend the series. In fact, I've added them to my Amazon store. (Be sure to check out my store for all kinds of excellent books, games, household supplies, and such.)

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Apr 4, 2012

Free Traditional Music (and Hymns) for Young Kids

Several years ago, I found this site offering free mp3 downloads of children's music. What a great find! Normally, I think it's ridiculously difficult to find decent children's music - songs that aren't scaled down versions of pop songs, or music that isn't performed by fourth rate artists. This site, however, offers music both my kids and I can enjoy.

My favorites are the offerings by Noelle Shearer and John Morgan - all free! Expect to find oldies but goodies like "A Bicyle Built for Two," "Animal Fair," and "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain," as well as hymns and Christian songs like "Amazing Grace," "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," "Jesus' Love is Bubblin' Over," and more.

Dec 6, 2011

Children's CDs Worth Buying

My friend Liberty Speidel just mentioned how hard it is to come by good quality CDs of children's music. I couldn't agree more! So often, the recordings feature children singing in unison - off key and with little to no enunciation. Blegh. Who wants to expose their kids to rotten music?

For this reason, my children listen mostly to what I listen to. But we do have a handful of CDs of children's music that we also enjoy. If you have young children, consider giving them the gift of music.


Jesus Loves You. This personalized CD comes with your child's name inserted into the songs. Joyfully sung by adults, young children will enjoy learning songs about God - songs that will stick with them in adulthood. To see if your child's name is available, visit the maker's website.

Name Your Tune. The cover of the CD leaves a lot to be desired, but the recordings themselves are fun and performed by creative adults. Again, this is a personalized CD, so if your children have names that aren't common, before you place an order, you'll want to contact the maker to ask if his or her name is available.

Sunny Days Studios Kids Songs. If you're looking for a definitive collection of classic children's songs, this is the series for you. All the songs are sung by adults (in tune!).
LinkHymns for a Kid's Heart. Although I generally steer clear of CDs featuring young children singing in unison, I make an exception for this series of CDs. It's so difficult to find decent CDs of hymns, and these are peppered with a woman's voice, too, making them easier to understand. Each CD also comes with a beautifully printed book that tells the story behind the hymns - and offers the vocal line and lyrics, too. For more on this collection, check out my post from 2009. Amazon.com offers several of the CDs, as does Christianbook.com.

Oct 28, 2010

Positive, Healthy Media for Kids

By now every parent knows television, computers (except for homework), and video games are in the bad category as far as pediatricians are concerned. And while many parents struggle to limit their kid's media time, I also suggest we think in terms of offering them more positive media and entertainment resources.

For example, have you ever noticed that if you keep Christian music playing in the background throughout your day, your attitude is different than if you're playing the top 40 station? The same is true for your kids.

At our house, the kids only watch DVDs or listen to CDs we pick out for them. Period. And one of our favorite resources for media is Adventures in Odyssey. We have a few of their DVDs, but mostly we stick to the CDs, which are extremely well produced radio dramas. My five year old begs for these shows and we're thrilled because:

1. My husband and I agree listening engages the brain more than watching. When you listen to a radio drama, you must engage your imagination.

2. The Adventures in Odyssey radio programs are not only clean and gently teach traditional virtues, they are Christian, too.

I highly recommend them for every family, whether your kids are young like mine, or teenagers. Even my husband and I enjoy listening to these CDs with our kids. Here are some good places to start:

* The Truth Chronicles: 5 hours of entertaining radio dramas about absolute truth. Includes the true story of pilgrims
* Cause & Effect: A new release. 5 hours, with stories about social networking, replacing Christ with symbols and traditions, and more.
* Life Lessons: A series of 8 CDs on subjects such as respect, excellence, responsiblity, friendship, perserverence and more.

* You can also listen to Adventures in Odyssey free on the radio. Find a station here. Or, download podcasts.



Jan 6, 2010

Vintage Children's Records...FREE!


I have fond memories of using my own children's record player and listening to a wide variety of LPs. (Not only did they give me a great appreciation of good music and storytelling, they enhanced my imagination and taught me to listen well.) My favorites were classic stories, dramatized and including music. Sadly, I've had poor luck finding anything like this for my preschooler - and the few modern CDs I've purchased her have had such low-quality music I don't even let her listen to them.

But a few days ago, I discovered Kiddie Records Weekly. This website offers free downloads or streaming audio of a fantastic selection of vintage children's records, including Bible stories and classic tales like Cinderella, Peter and the Wolf, The Barber of Seville, Paul Bunyan, The Trojan Horse, Winnie the Pooh, Dr. Seuss' Horton Hatches the Egg, Thumbelina, Uncle Remus' stories, Johnny Appleseed, and so much more - performed by the likes of Danny Kaye, Lionel Barrymore, Rosemary Clooney, Gene Autry, Claude Rains, Roy Rodgers, and many other talented performers of the past. They don't make them like this anymore!

And if you don't want to bother with downloading or streaming files, you can also purchase CDs. Check it out!

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