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Old 11-19-2010, 09:34 AM
304 posts, read 782,944 times
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Hello all!

We recently completed our adoption of two girls who are now 10 and 7. Both need a lot of extra help with all of thei life skills. Their biological family did not stress education, they don't know many of the 'childhood' songs, even euphamisms are confusing to them. (funny aside, we were 'discussing' something heatedly and I said "And the straw that broke the camel's back..." We both saw their attention disappear as they wondered where the camel came in!)

Our oldest was given a Nintendo in foster care and we've limited her use and changed the game from feeding an alligator to some learning/math games. She doesn't mind this!

With Christmas approaching, we ere thinking of supplementing their school and home school (yes, both!) with a portable game/learning something. But when I start looking, I'm overwhelmed.

Leap Frog looks like it's all Disney.
I know nothing about vTech
I'm unsure what a Leapster is

Amazingly their math skills are fine. It's really vocabulary, reading, history, geography, and science that are weak. We're working on manners and socializing, so that's good. We've got church covered and they're learning there (they thought Christmas was Jesus' birthday and so we have a party for him. That's ALL they thought!).

So I'm asking for YOUR opinions about things you've used/seen. HELP!

Oh yes, we have the Klutz Kwiz devices which they play with, but those assume a lot of knowledge.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 11-19-2010, 10:17 AM
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I just want to pop in with a quick God bless you and thank you for giving these girls a home! You are doing God's work and I am full of admiration.
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Old 11-19-2010, 10:58 AM
Location: Nova
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I have actually been hesistant about getting a learning device for my almost four year old but she likes to play games on my phone so much that I cracked, did some research and bought the new Leapster Explorer.

It sounds like the Leapster Explorer might be a good fit for your situation too, but I'm not sure.

The Leapster is a hand-held device with educational games. It is a great step up from the Leapster 2 model in the larger screen and much better graphics. It's on sale right now too at ToysRUs. The games are pricey though at $25 a pop, but they are also on sale right now for the holidays. With the Explorer you can buy games online on the website for cheaper too though.
What's different with the Explorer over the Leapster 2 is that you can track your kids progress on-line once they play and achieve games.
There are a few games with mathematical skills, but there are a lot with writing and reading... and some with socialization too. Look up the game profiles before deciding on the handheld device.

I don't know what the VTech offers since I knew I wanted to go with Leap Frog.

But in your case, it does sound like these kids need a lot of one-on-one interaction too... a lot of socialization that you can't get from the games. And more learning from building actual relationships.

Good luck to you.
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Old 11-19-2010, 11:22 AM
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I'd double up the recommendation on the Leapster. My son has had one for awhile and as long the kids are cool with playing educational games (my son kind of lost interest in it) they are a nice supplement. Also, if you have a Nintendo Wii, there are quite a few educational games out there, you just need to look for them.

Another suggestion would be to ask the school for any websites or software programs they would recommend. My son's school publishes a list of recommended websites and provides login accounts for some of the pay sites. They also give copies of software that the school uses so kids can use it at home. My assumption would be the stuff the school picks is probably pretty good when it comes to educational software. The computer based ones also give you the double benefit of helping them to become more computer fluent, which is oh so necessary these days.
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Old 11-19-2010, 12:02 PM
Location: Geneva, IL
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They are 2 very lucky girls. Good for you.

I'd say they may be a bit old for the Leapster. Nintendo DS has Brain Age (which my 10 year-old loves), Left Brain Right Brain, Scribblenauts, Spelling Bee, Think Smart, the Challenge Me series, many word puzzle games.

There are great web sites that have a combination of fun and educational games. Scholastic has a great site, Discovery Channel, funbrain.com, learningplanet.com.

Good luck!
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Old 11-19-2010, 12:28 PM
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,472 posts, read 43,543,470 times
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I have 3 adopted children but all were adopted as infants even tho we asked for older children. You are to be admired for this action.

I think the more time you spend one on one with them, the better. I also think Leapster is too young for them. I would work with flash cards, some online games, picture books, and most of all outings to museums, plays etc which will help them with their language as well as socialization. They will pick up alot from you and it is amazing how quickly. Good luck. Guess what I'm trying to say is that the time you spend with them one on one will be more valuable than electronic games. Limit screen time which includes tv, computers and games. And even tho they are coming to you as a pair, be careful to treat them as individuals. They are not the same girl with different ages.

Oh yes....lots of puzzles, especially map puzzles. my 8 year old girls work a different puzzle every two week. They develop their brains so much.
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Old 11-19-2010, 12:38 PM
Location: Geneva, IL
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Also worth considering music and art classes. Those are great emotional outlets. We got a free piano on craigslist, and lessons don't have to be too spendy. Our county offers great art classes in a variety of mediums. Or even look for things you can do together.
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Old 11-19-2010, 02:14 PM
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Is English their first language? If not, perhaps that is part of the confusion.

Metaphors and euphemisms and figures of speech are often confusing to children who don't have a wide range of experiences.

I agree that they need lots of one on one interaction. A music class might be a good thing too.

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Old 11-20-2010, 07:25 AM
Location: Connecticut
427 posts, read 1,245,911 times
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To be honest I would stick with a nintendo ds, there a ton of learning games for the system and for all ages. The other systems your limited with age they will outgrow the leapfrog, vtech systems quickly. Whereas with a DS you can just do different games as they get older
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Old 11-21-2010, 10:05 AM
Location: Australia
1,492 posts, read 2,741,111 times
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To me kids (& all of us) learn in many different ways. I would not be too focussed on getting only the quizz games or only the educational games.

I think the DS is a great toy. The wireless interconnection lets the kids play network games.

To me the loves and the hugs and the talking will do far more that worrying about the best piece of software.

Good on you for taking them on and giving them a loving home.
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