Thursday, August 2, 2012


As most of you who have followed the blog for a while know, I am incredibly picky about Xander's movies. I do not like the idea of too much screen time for any age, but particularly for very young toddlers.  Xander gets a maximum of two baby learning DVDs a day, which works out to about 45 minutes of tv.  A lot of days, he doesn't even watch that (although he gets more if he is sick). Because I limit it, I want to make sure we make the most of the time he does get.  What's interesting, is Xander has become even more picky than I am!  He will only watch certain movies, and cries and complains if I put in something he deems unacceptable.  Almost all cartoons are out, as are any children's television shows.  Anyway, a few months ago I was looking for something to show him when he ran out of Your Child Can Read discs and someone from the BrillKids Forum suggested Sparkabilities.

I have to admit, when I first heard of Sparkabilities, I was not too sure.  It seemed a little to simple for Xander, since he has been learning about special quadrilaterals on his Your Baby Can Discover movies.  Then I did a little bit more reading and learned that Sparkabilities is based on neuroscience and infant development research.  They teach things like shapes, vocabulary, emotions, focus, attention and processing information efficiently (in addition to the more traditional things like colors, shapes, numbers, sizes, emotions, etc.).  The more I read, the more it sounded like it lined up with a lot of the right brain education information I have been reading.  They even have segments that are very similar to the right brain eye tracking activities, only better because of strategic backgrounds.  I decided to show him the YouTube videos and see what he thought (there are three segments available on YouTube).  Talk about love at first sight!  He LOVED them.  He called them BeeBees (Sparkabilities may be a bit hard to say) and asked for them any time we were around a computer.  I had trouble limiting him to just one viewing.

I let him watch one or two of the segments a day for a few weeks.  What really blew me away was that during that time frame, I noticed a huge improvement in Xander's speech.  Over the winter he had gone 2-3 months with chronic ear infections which resulted in hearing loss.  His hearing came back after surgery, but I felt like he lost that time to work on his pronunciation.  (In fact, the first few days after surgery, he kept making all sorts of weird sounds, and you could tell that he was having fun listening to himself.)  Anyway, I noticed that after he had been watching the videos for a while, he really started trying to say a lot more, both words and sounds.  I also noticed that during that time a few of our "school" activities really seemed to click for him.

After mentioning this to my mom, she was wonderful enough to pay to buy three of the videos for Xander (we have Babies 1, Toddler 1, and Toddler 2.  I will definitely adding Babies 1 to our collection if I ever get to have another child).  We have had them for about a month and a half now, and I am SO happy with them.  He watches them a few times a week and still likes them a lot and will still ask for his BeeBees.  He does get annoyed if I happen to show a certain one too many days in a row.  In that time he has come even farther in speech.  I am still seeing him trying much harder to say a wider variety of words and sounds.  How much is actually from the videos, I am not sure.  He also seems to be learning to read new words faster than before, although it could be that I can just tell he can read more words because he is better at communicating.  Maybe the big improvements just happened at the same time by coincidence.  Regardless, he loves the videos and I love the educational content.  I also like being able to give him some extra right brain exposure, because I know I don't do nearly as much as I would like.

Note: I am not writing for Sparkabilities or getting anything out of this post (unless, of course, you decide to purchase Sparkabilities through my Amazon Associates link instead of through their website.  However, be sure to watch their website because they seem to have promo codes frequently).  I just wanted to share our experience in case anyone else was looking for DVDs for their little ones.  I know I always like to hear real moms' experiences of products.

1 comment:

  1. I just found your blog. Love that the Sparkabilities videos are a favorite at your house! (My little girl is in the Babies 1&2 videos.) We LOVE the PlayWisely program and the Sparkabilities videos. They also have Iphone/Ipad apps if you have one! My kids learned so much from this program!


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