When I was asked to review the new VTech Switch & Go Dinos, I thought it would be a breeze. Send me some dinosaur transformers for Bean to play with? Are you kidding me? SIGN ME UP!
The dinosaurs are actually transformers that morph into cars. Two of Bean’s favorite things in one toy. This was going to be a breeze. He loved them, and they are virtually indestructible (believe me, Bean’s tried…). Bean likes that the faces of the dinosaurs (or the windshields of the cars, depending on what shape you’re playing with) are little bitty LCD screens. he thinks they are computer screens. And they make a LOT of noise, which Bean loves, but they have an OFF switch, which I love.
But then I got an email asking if I could actually make a video which shows Bean creating his own dinosaur creation in order to promote the new VTech Switch & Go contest. Now, Bean Man is only three years old, so I sat there for a couple days and thought, “How in the world am I going to create this dinosaur and then try to pass it off as Bean’s own creation?” (Don’t judge. You know you would have done the same thing.) Finally, Chris suggested that maybe I actually let Bean try himself. Like, without me. “But he’s THREE!” I protested. “He can’t create a dinosaur!” Ignoring my Debbie Downer attitude, Chris asked Bean if he could go to his room and create a dinosaur. That was it. No instructions. No ideas. No limitations. No rules. Just, go make a dinosaur. To which Bean replied, “OKAY!” and off he went. Ten minutes later, Bean called me upstairs to show me his dinosaur. I was flabbergasted. No, it isn’t the most genius toy I’ve ever seen, but it was exactly what a three-year-old would come up with! In ten minutes!
All this is to say that if my three-year-old can create a dinosaur, then I’m willing to bet your child can, too. Which is good because VTech is having a Switch & Go Contest to promote kids who transform their imaginations. Contestants will upload a 15-30 second video to the VTech Facebook page of your childís home-made Dino creation. In the video, your child can show their new Dino by drawing, building or customizing their existing Switch & Go Dino. You can also take it a step further and encourage your child to expand their imagination by explaining what cool things their dinosaur does!
One grand-prize winner will get a kids lifetime supply of educational toys from VTech. And your video will air on a VTech commercial on Nickelodeon, which you can watch at your very own viewing party with your friends and family. And VTech will also transform your living room into the ultimate Dino den. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me!
So take a little time to imagine with your child, then pop a short little video on the VTech Facebook page, cross your fingers, and hope for the best!
Check out other bloggers’ reviews and videos on the VTech brand page on BlogHer.com
A couple months ago, I accidentally stumbled on an article through Pinterest on the things your child needs to be able to do before they enter Kindergarten. Normally, I avoid milestone charting like the plague. They just stress me out, and it’s like Chris says, “Have you ever seen a college student who isn’t potty trained and still drinks from a sippy cup?” But somehow I found this article and was instantly sucked in.
Most of the things Bean can do pretty well, like recognize numbers and letters, can follow one and two-step instructions, can sort and characterize by different features, and definitely has an eagerness to learn. There were some things on the list that he just isn’t ready to do yet, but that I have no doubt he will master within the next few years, such as cutting shapes out of construction paper, sequencing pictures in a logical order, and using shapes or letter-like objects to communicate ideas on paper. But there were a handful of things that he certainly had the ability to learn, and we just hadn’t thought to teach him yet.
One of those things was learning the names of all his immediate family members. He now knows me, Chris, and Gracie’s full names (and thinks it’s hysterical that Chris and I have actual, real names besides Mom and Dad), along with all his grandparents. And we also worked with him on learning both upper and lower case letters, which he is getting really good at recognizing. But the one that I think I am the most proud of is that he can now spell his name.
We tried writing his name and having him tell us the letters, and that worked, but he couldn’t ever repeat the letters without looking at them. Finally, I wised up and realized that Bean memorizes best when he’s singing a song. So, I turned his name into a little chant (don’t tell Chris, but it’s more like a cheer from my cheerleading days…and before you ask, I was a reject cheerleader on the reject cheerleading squad in 8th grade…not too many fond memories there). Within a day or two, Bean could spell his name using that chant. Over the next few weeks, I practiced the chant with him by asking him to spell his name at unpredictable times to see if he could truly recall the information, and he always could. Gradually, he dropped the chanting pattern and can now spell his name in a normal inflection, and can recognize it when it is written. Though, when I ask him to spell his name with a camera in his face, he hams it up pretty good…
So the lessons learned in this spelling experience:
A) If you’re trying to teach your child how to spell his or her name, try a chant or song because they are easier to remember for kids.
B) Milestone charts (while they aren’t the end all, be all of parenting) aren’t really the worst things in the world. When I stop freaking out about them, they can actually be a very useful tool to help guide my parenting.
C) Bean can cheer with the best of ‘em.
When our house was broken into a couple months ago, one of the things that was stolen was my Flip HD video camera.Â I loved that thing and I didn’t realize how MUCH I loved it until it was gone.Â I used to carry it around in my diaper bag (also stolen…) and just whip it out whenever I saw Bean doing something funny.Â It was so convenient!
When they stole my camera, we started using Chris’s iPhone for videos and that was pretty good, too.Â But it wasn’t nearly as convenient because #1 – I had to ask him for his phone every time I needed it which made me miss a lot of moments I would have caught quickly with my Flip and #2 – if Chris wasn’t around, then there was no video.
Then for my birthday in December, my parents surprised me with a new Flip camera!Â Now (since I don’t carry a diaper bag anymore), I keep the camera in my purse and it’s been like old times again.Â I’ve been catching little moments all over the place.Â Only, I keep forgetting to download them!Â So, tonight I downloaded all the videos from my camera that I took over Christmas break and I found a few of Bean that were definitely worth sharing.
In this first one, I was cooking when I heard Bean and Molly in Gracie’s nursery.Â I thought they were playing, so I grabbed the camera to get a video of the cuteness.Â Only, when I actually got in the room I discovered they weren’t playing at all and that Bean was MAD because Molly was drinking out of his sippy cup!!!
This second video is from just the past weekend. Chris, Bean, and I went to the outlets to exchange a pair of jeans I got him for Christmas. It was a beautiful morning and Bean was in a great mood. Such a good mood, in fact, that the dancing fever overtook him right there on the sidewalk!
Bean has decided that his plastic golf clubs are his favorite toy right now.Â He carries them around the house and uses them to point at things, whack things, and push other toys around.Â I think of them like really big chopsticks.
We’re having to watch closer now because he’s getting a little rough with them, as Big Molly will now demonstrate….