I want to start with a disclaimer to say that I am not getting any royalties, commission, or any other type of compensation from anything I am about to list.
I try to only have toys that reinforce learning concepts we're working on. Same for DVDs, Kids' TV shows, and websites Hannah surfs. I want her to be surrounded with opportunities to learn.
So my favorite gadget to date has been Leap Frog's Leapster. Heather Jo loaned us one for a car trip and WOW did it make the trip more pleasant. I bought a couple for the house and all the kids had a grand old time. I also found a couple of various types of LeapFrog Twist and Shout toys at the thrift store. Those are pretty awesome too. We also like LeapFrog's Bank. But that one has been discontinued. I think maybe the person at Fox who canceled Arrested Development and Worst Week went to work at LeapFrog and pulled the plug on my beloved bank. But that's a different story...
I mentioned some other great LeapFrog products in my reading post.
Our latest gadget acquisition is a Nintendo DSI. I have only gotten educational games for her like My Chinese Coach, Animal Genius, and My Personal Trainer: Math. There are tons of educational games available for the DSI. Sometimes I play the language games when Hannah's asleep and I'm feeding the baby.
Videos and TV:
We like to watch Mei Mei and Me videos to learn Chinese. Signing Time was on PBS for a season and we still have several episodes on the Tivo. Little Einsteins is actually pleasant because of the classical music and art. Sid the Science Kid is a great little show. And don't post comments about how Sid's the devil because of the Sid gets a shot episode. All the other episodes have been great. Zoboomafoo is a good one to have in the rotation too. And I already mentioned Curious George. We don't watch all of this every day. But if Hannah watches something during the day, its one of these shows.
Hannah has her own gmail account so that I can sign her into the google toolbar. All her incoming emails are forwarded to my account. She has only her favorites available on the toolbar. She calls it the "Hannah Star" and she doesn't even know that you can type in a web address. Lately she's really enjoyed this Signing Time youtube playlist. One day I will figure out how to make my own youtube playlist, but this will do until then. Don't freak out. Hannah's not allowed on the computer unless we're in the room with her. She often surfs at the kitchen table while I'm cooking. She still enjoys Starfall. That site has good stuff for many age groups. Here's a fun typing website.
Shut the box is a fun game the Goodalls introduced us to. Hannah loves Blokus and Blokus 3D. Cranium Triple Triumph is another good one as well as Sequence States and Capitals.
CDs and MP3s:
Ellen, did you notice I didn't make CDs and MP3s possessive? That was just for you.
Hannah can memorize almost anything she listens to a couple of times. I try to take full advantage of that and find educational CDs and MP3s for her to listen to. In Dallas, it made a bigger difference than here though because we had the van and she was a captive audience in there. Here, I often have various MP3s going, but they seem to be more backgroundish to her and she isn't activley listening like she was in the van. Geography Songs is catchy and fun. Here's a fun addition MP3. Seeds has yet to come out with a song that I don't like. This is very well done music, mostly scriptures. And it really sticks with you. I find myself singing these verses and being encouraged throughout the day. I have classical music playing in the background while Hannah's doing her schoolwork though.
If anyone out there has more suggestions for cool educational gadgets, videos, websites, games, and MP3s, please share!