Most of the time, our reviews focus on products for elementary age children, but every now and then, the opportunity comes up to review a product for the preschool crowd. When the chance came up to review PandaParents new subscription series, MESSYLEARNING FOR PRESCHOOLERS AND KINDERGARTNERS, we were excited to give it a shot.
For this review, we were given 3 units of the digital subscription. The units we received are:
- A Jolly Jingling Journey
- Mommy’s Baby
- Scotty Skunk Hears a Scary Sound
Each month’s course includes stories, videos, and a workbook.
The program encourages MESSY learning:
- Mixed subjects and activities for integrative learning
- Engaging activities that challenge minds
- Simple 1-2-3 steps: Read, Learn, Create
- Smart designs for creative learning
- Yeah, a new way to promote preschool STEM and early brain growth!
How We Used PandaParents
I let Booger chose which unit he wanted to use during the review period and he decided that Scotty Skunk looked best to him.
We started by watching the story video. The videos are available on Vimeo, but can be downloaded. I used our Apple TV airplay feature to stream them to our tv so we could watch the video as a family.
We ended up watching the videos for all three units over the course of a week. The videos ranged from 5 minutes (Mommy’s Baby) to 38 minutes (A Jolly Jingling Journey part 2). Overall, the stories were entertaining and both boys enjoyed watching all of the videos.
From a technical stand point, I felt that the videos were well made and had a good sound quality that was well balanced (I’m pretty picky about volume balancing in videos!). As an adult watching the videos, I felt they were a bit cheesy and goofy, but they were appropriate for the intended audience.
The workbooks are colorful – which is great in a physical product or a digital product that is meant to be used digitally. However, as a digital download that is meant to be printed, this created an issue. With the amount of color used, it just wasn’t feasible for us to print the entire workbook (Scotty is 51 pages! The shortest workbook was 40 pages). Booger and I worked through the workbook together, using mark up tools where we could or modifying when we could. For example, instead of circling hidden items, we just pointed them out. I printed a few pages in black and white, but a lot of the activities were above Booger’s skill level, so we ended up with a bunch of scribble pages. Totally not an issue for his age, but he could have done the same thing on a blank piece of paper and been just as happy.
“I like Scotty Skunk. Little Muffin got stink-ed by Scotty Skunk and that was silly. And the fish likes being in the pond. I liked coloring on the pages Mama printed for me. That was so so sweet to print pages for me. Little Muffin’s mom was nice to read a story.
I liked the Christmas story and the Mom and Baby story. There was nothing I didn’t like.”
Note: Booger’s review is in his own words, in response to questions from me regarding what he liked and did not like about the program.
Overall, I think this program has potential. I would definitely be interested in seeing the physical workbooks once they are released, but as a digital product, this just didn’t work too well for us. Booger enjoyed the videos and asks to watch them multiple times a week. I can definitely see the digital subscription working for other families though! If you are looking for a new way to engage your younger students in learning, you should check out PandaParents and read some more reviews from the Review Crew.
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