But, one thing I wanted to do today was to let all our Training Happy Heart readers know about a 15-hour giveaway going on over at Sensational Homeschooling for a U-Play Mat. Yep, today, if you hop on over to Sensational Homeschooling, you can read my full sensory homeschooling-based review of the U-Play Mat, which Play This Way Every Day recently was kind enough to offer me for review, as well as enter to win one. (Today only for that!)
Here, I will give a little run down of the U-Play Mat's use here ar our home:
The U-Play Mat is a simple, fun and beneficial learning system that Luke and Nina have fallen in love with. It fits nicely into Jammies School by offering us a chance to focus on a number of our goals:
· loving others – by providing a fun one-on-one way to learn and play together
· loving moving – through the kinesthetic nature of playing with the mat
· loving playing – both through using the mat in the ways suggested in the booklet that comes with it and in coming up with our own game adaptations
· loving working – since the work of childhood is often play and learning, which the mat encourages
· loving learning – which we are doing – color reinforcement, phonics work, simple spelling, using manners when asking for and receiving things, etc.
And, the U-Play Mat is also adaptable to many of the homeschooling philosophies and methods that interest us. For example:
· Catholic Studies/Faith Formation: I am so excited at the possibilities of using this mat for Saint Study guessing games, Liturgical Object identification, etc.
· Montessori: For some reason my kids like the fact that you can slip the cards into the clear pockets of the U-Play Mat so much more than they like simply lining cards up Montesori-style on a mat, so I definitely can see us using it as a tool for generating extra interest in three-part cards. (I will caution, however, about the one thing I was not 100% pleased with the U-Play Mat. A couple of the picture cards that come with the U-Animal mat are anything but realistic, for example, a green elephant. These can easily be swapped out for realistic drawings or even photos, though.)
· Charlotte Mason: While not in keeping with strict CM principles, the U-Play Mat can certainly compliment Cm studies. First, it’s durable enough to be used outside for families like ours that are trying to increase our outdoor time. Second, the cards in it could easily be traded for 4x6 nature sketches or photographs for nature identification games. And, third, it is fantastic for foreign language studies. The cards sets picture familiar objects and are simple, with no words written on them, so they can be adapted to any language you like.
· Classical: Again, enter the foreign-language study option. Also, sign language. We have been wanting to get back into our Signing Time videos to encourage both regular literacy and a refresher on baby signs for Jack. The U-Play mat could be a great tool for signing games.
· Workboxing: The U-Play Mat makes a great with-parent or with-sibling activity for a workbox.
And, did I mention that the U-Play Mat was invented by a mom? It was. Dr. Jen is a parent and pediatrician who noted a need for her kiddoes and let invention take off from there. I love when moms create products like this. It is both inspiring and helpful. Moms know what kiddoes need and by sharing their ideas, other families can benefit, too.
So, if you want to win your own U-Play Mat today, head on over to the giveaway at Sensational Homeschooling (and forgive the fact that the kiddo pictures are the same. I lost all the ones we took when my hard drive crashed but ahd these two on my camera still.) Or, if you want to guarantee getting one for yourself, simply order one at Amazon.
Truly, I think Play This Way's U-Play Mat is a simple, yet effective educational toy suited for children of varied ages and abilities. Aimed to facilitate interactive play, it also can be used independently, making learning fun either way. We sure have been having a lot of fun with it at our home in the past few weeks! And, being low-tech, it won't disappear like all my files and photos. Gotta love items that have no bells, whistles, batteries or mechanical malfunctions. :)
This post is being shared at We Are THAT Family's Works for Me Wednesday, because, as you can see, the U-Play Mat works for us!