Kidloland Preschool App – A review

Oscar and I love technology. Always have. From as soon as he could grasp for it with his pudgy little baby hands, he wanted to play with my phone. And now I have an iPad he’s taken his love of app based entertainment to another level. I don’t have a problem with this. My son’s autism means he learns in a very visual way and I’ve found apps, of all kinds, to be thoroughly useful for him. From hand eye coordination to speech and vocabulary to problem solving and plain old having fun, we love apps in this house. So when I was approached by Kidloland to try out their app I was intrigued. Here was an app that wasn’t just songs or just games or just fun, it seemed to be a bit of everything. We couldn’t wait to try it out!

Kidloland is a app designed specifically for preschoolers and toddlers. It has over 500 Nursery Rhymes, Songs, Stories, Activities and Games, with no advertising what so ever. Advertising in apps for children is a bug bear of mine so I was pleased to find none here. It works on a subscription basis of 1, 6 or 12 months. We used to subscribe to BabyTV and that was just short cartoons. There is so much more to this.

The app

My first impression of the app, on downloading it from the iStore, was it was huge! There are just so many different parts to it! As always, when I download content for Oscar, I took a look around myself first and I’m so glad I did. I found each ‘pack’ needs to be downloaded to your device individually before using it. I’m glad I realised this before giving it to Oscar, as I know he’d have been frustrated had he not been able to access everything straight away. The downloading does take a little time, but fortunately there is a “download all” function for each pack. I did have an issue downloading one of the songs, but I remedied this by skipping that one and downloading it individually. I also told Kidloland about it and they gratefully handed the info over to the tech team so it may not be an issue any more.

The look of the app is bright and fun, with all original characters and animations.  I have all the packs in the app, but you can choose which ones to download. I love that, as it means you can concentrate on a particular theme if you prefer. It also allows you to control how much memory the app takes up, which if you download the whole thing is a lot! However, downloading it means you don’t need a signal (or wifi) to use it, which is a definite plus point for me!

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Just some of the packs available on the Kidloland app

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The content

It is split into sections you would expect such as stories, numbers, games etc. But I love that it also has other sections such as fruits and vegetables, months of the year and even a whole section devoted to dinosaur themed activities!

It even has a Dinosaur section!

It even has a Dinosaur section!

The pineapple song!

Fun with fruit!

Learning Letters!

Learning Letters!

I assumed Oscar would be drawn to the games and initially he was, but after a while I noticed he was playing more with the songs. The nursery rhymes are set to interactive animations. Touching the characters makes them move or do surprising little things, which he seemed to love! I just love the concentration in his face here. Getting video of Oscar is so hard, but I love that he’s so engrossed here he doesn’t even notice me!

Thoughts

Kidloland is well made, well thought out app, which keeps on expanding (I’ve had two more packs updated since we originally downloaded). Oscar starts school in a few weeks and some of the games were a little simple for him, but he still found things to enjoy and good fun to be had. I only wish we’d found this app a year or more ago! It would be a great learning app for younger toddlers.

There is so much do and chose from in Kidloland. Although your child is bound to find favourites, they’ll never be bored.

 

 

Thank you Kidloland for gifting us a 12 month subscription for the purposes of this review. As always I wasn’t paid to write this post and all opinions are my own.

You can download the app for iOS, Google Android and Amazon Android.

 

End of an era

So here I am. Sat in my favourite Haslemere haunt. My plans for today much the same as the plans I’ve had most days since Oscar started preschool 19 months ago. Drink coffee, write words, catch up on social media. You know, stuff.

But today is different. In as much as it is the same, it really is different. Today is Oscar’s last day at preschool. They are having a big party in a local park tomorrow, but as far as walking him to the scout hut, dropping him off, and walking away, to any one of the local coffee hangouts, but more likely than not Dylan’s, alone, well this is the end.

I’ve cried this morning. I honestly surprised myself. I didn’t think I’d feel just so, well, sad. But I do. Wrapping the chocolates and writing the cards for his Keyworker and TA was hard. I guess that’s what happens when you leave these things to the last minute (typical me)!

Wrapped gifts

He felt it. Of course he did, he always does. He picks up emotions in the air like the smell of freshly baked bread. And it affects him. He cried and told me he was “sad”. That he was “crying from my eyes”. But he couldn’t tell me why. He doesn’t understand that he won’t be going back to his nursery again, and I don’t really know how to make him understand. I’ve all sorts of exprience of preparing him for things that are coming up, that are yet to be, but no idea how to explain the things that won’t be anymore.

The walk to preschool was harder than usual, but he ran in just as happy as ever. I feel like I should give him that. One last day when it’s all ok, all the same. Maybe I’ll regret not trying to prep him better somewhere down the line, but at the moment, for who he is now and what I know about him, this is the right way.

Myself, I thought I was prepared. I’ve been counting down the weeks, for weeks. And now here I am. And all that prep has made no difference. Because as much as it’s his last day, it’s kind of my last day too. The end of an era, the end of my routine. I will never be a preschool mum again. And while that is my choice, and a choice I still stand by, I didn’t realise it how sad it would make me feel. How lonely.

But I owe it to him to focus on the positive. So happy last day at preschool my beautiful boy. Let’s concentrate on the fun we’ll have this summer and the awesome school you’re starting in September. And mummy promises not to let you see her cry.

Much. Thank you card from Gin Bunny Prints

Mixing it up….

In just a few short weeks time, my bouncing little ball of energy, also known as Oscar, will be turning four. FOUR! Man alive, how on earth did that ever happen? A year. Over. Done. Never to be repeated. When you look at the passage of time through the ageing of a child it makes everything feel so much more transient, so here today gone tomorrow. Literally. Ahh my sweet sweet boy. Every day you change, every day you grow.

So aside from getting maudlin, and feeling all kinds of old ? we’ve been thinking about how to mark our little guy’s fourth birthday. Last year, you may recall, we threw him a wonderful party with the help of our friends at The Hen House, Haslemere. It’s was awesome! So awesome in fact that we weren’t sure what we could do to top it this year (not that it’s a year on year competition, but you know what I mean!) We ummed and ahhed and looked around locally, but couldn’t find anything suitable. Then we started talking about how much fun we had over Christmas and how it would be lovely if Oscar could share his birthday with his extended family.

So that’s exactly what we’re doing. We’re going down to Plymouth for Easter. We’re staying in the same apartment as at Christmas, and we plan to celebrate his birthday, with his extended family, a week early, on Easter Sunday. I’ve been pinteresting like mad already for some Easter themed party food and while I won’t be going mad, a centrepiece always goes down well I find. My favourite at the moment is this one. Isn’t it too cute?

A dip filled bunny, surrounded by veggies? What's not to love?

A dip filled bunny, surrounded by veggies? What’s not to love?

Any other Easter themed party food ideas gratefully received. Seriously, if you’ve got any ideas, or blog posts to share, I’d love to see them!

So that’s the party sorted, but then there’s what to get him for a gift. For the last few years we’ve concentrated on large garden toys for his April birthday, setting him up for the coming summer. And that’s been great, but this year we haven’t really got anything in mind. Maybe a bigger slide? But where would it go? Hmmm. It’s a conundrum that’s for sure. And in terms of play toys, there’s nothing he desperately wants and nothing much he needs, to be honest. He’s got more Thomas toys than you can shake a stick at and Duplo coming out of his ears! He has no interest in any of the movie tie ins and flits between favourite cartoons most days (last week it was 1940s Tom and Jerry, this week it’s been 1990s Rugrats – all hail TV streaming services!) He has just started to pick up things (straws, sticks, the Hoover!) and use them as guns, but this upsets me no end and I have no wish to encourage it. So we’re back to the question; what do we get him? What is he in to?

There is one idea I had. It may sound crazy and you may think this is more for me than him, but hear me out. The boy loves to bake. This has been a thing now for over a year. But recently he’s decided he doesn’t like using my Kitchen Aid and instead wants to ‘mix’ everything himself in a ‘giant bowl’ (his words). For this you need a good sturdy bowl, and I just don’t have one. We tend to use my mixer bowl, which is light and topples off its tiny base regularly. He needs something better. I’ve always loved Mason Cash bowls. My mum had one, my Nanna had one. I used to think owning one was almost a prerequisite for being a mum. I always wanted a beige one, just like my mums, but recently Mason Cash released their Varsity range, in cream and Navy Blue. So I started thinking, actually, of all the things we could get him, how about his own ‘giant mixing bowl’? And if we’re going to do that, why not get him the grande dame of bowls?

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The Mason Cash Varsity Mixing Bowl in blue. The perfect gift?

Surely that’s what every four year old would want for their birthday. Right?

Come back in a few weeks, I’ll let you know what we decide!

Wicked Wednesday – 2nd Dec 2015

He asked so nicely. With words! How could I resist?

“Paint. Paint. Purple. Please.”

So OK, it’s late in the afternoon but he’s got a nasty cough and we’ve done nothing else today, so why not.

“Right, mummy’s just going upstairs, I’ll be back in a minute.”

“Hello baby are you having fu……”

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Ahhhh

That would be my fault for leaving a 3 year old unattended with paint.

Remind me, when does messy play, become just a mess?

 

brummymummyof2

Our (Amazing) Summer Update

So we’re half way through the (pre)school holidays and I thought I’d update as to how it’s going. I won’t lie to you I was preeeety nervous as to how it would go. We don’t have a car and there are few clubs or activities going on locally that he’s a) old enough for b) likely to want to join in. Add to that the change in routine, well I was a touch concerned that we would be in for a world of pain.

As it happens, its been fine. In fact it’s been more than fine, it’s be great!

We’ve had a little over four weeks at home, but so far Oscar either hasn’t noticed or doesn’t care that we’re not going to preschool twice a week. Which is making things easier than I hoped. The weather’s been unpredictable to say the least, which makes going outside something of a lucky dip, but he’s thoroughly enjoyed playing in the garden when he can.

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Playing in the garden with friends

Other than that we’ve kept things pretty much the same as usual. We go to the Sure Start Centre on a Tuesday, our wonderful Home Start Volunteer comes on a Wednesday and we see his little buddy Cecily at least once a week. We’ve been to parks, met some animals, had play dates and visitors and parties to attend. It’s been pretty much the same as when he’s at preschool to be honest.

I think the biggest difference in routine has been for me. I don’t get my two, two hour sessions a week at the moment. And when you’ve gotten used to even such a small amount of time out, it’s hard to give that up. Thankfully our Home Start Volunteer or as I call her, in the nicest possible way, our ‘Rent a Gran’ (because she does things a grandma would if they were nearer) has been visiting long enough that I can now leave Oscar with her. So once a week, she’s been staying here with him while I head to my ‘office’ (read Dylan’s Milk Barn 😉 ) to work or write or just to take five. Gawd bless her! It’s making all the difference.

But in as much as everything has stayed the same, A LOT has changed in the last few weeks. Oscar’s language has EXPLODED! I’ve been nervous talking about it, lest it should disappear again (we’ve been burnt like that before), but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m going to celebrate his achievements regardless. So what if it disappears? The fact is it’s here today. And boy oh boy is it here! Where do I start? Colours, shapes, numbers, nouns and more excitingly adjectives. The boy who had a handful of words in January can suddenly count up to 28. He can read numbers. Hell, this morning he spelt out S.H.O.E.S, pointing to letters in the word! Every single day he’s blowing my mind. He can tell me when he’s ‘hungry’, when he ‘need help’, when he’s done ‘poos’, when he’s ‘sad’ or even ‘happy’! He can ask for any number of toys, food items (his new favourite being sandwich!) and even hugs, which he does often. He sings songs, totally unprompted, most of which I can make out. Favourites are Wheels on the Bus, Old McDonald and The Farmer in the Dell. It’s less than a year ago that he would slap me, hard, if ever I sang. He’s also following instructions and answering questions in a way I’ve never seen before. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not talking sentences and discourse here. But holy moly it’s soooo much more than even a month ago.

What else? Oh yeah, he calls me Mummy! Not Mama, which I’ve called myself every day since he was born, and I would have imagined is easier to say, but Mummy. No idea where he got it from (Cecily mainly calls Bethany Mama), but boy oh boy does it make my heart smile every single time I hear it. Particularly when I’ve been out and come home to an excited ‘Mummy!’

Honestly so much has changed in the last four weeks, I can’t even begin to imagine what he’ll do next!

Sod the weather, this has been an amazing summer 🙂

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My happy, talking, developing, boy

 

A Cornish Mum