It’s my 11th year being a parent. Wow, just writing that is a bit daunting!
As a South Asian mother of two, I must own the fact that I do try and ensure my kids do some extra learning over the summer break. Growing up, my summers were about seeing friends, travelling with my family but also doing some ‘catch-up math, reading or getting ahead’ work throughout the summer. My parents believed in the ‘summer slide’ and so do I, especially since many of my friends include teachers in the mix. So in those 11 years as a parent, I’ve always tried to grab resources like academic books and activity books or other practical educational resources to get ahead and get a head start over the summer for the coming year.
Finding the right resources that are both engaging and educational for both genders and preschoolers or elementary students has always been a challenge. I often find the resources available are either too simple or do very little to reflect the format of academics at school, or they just aren’t engaging enough for kids.
Characters in the books and relatable format for my son, especially is key. I was thrilled to see that NELSON, Canada’s leading educational publisher, has recently expanded their home learning portfolio with the launch of NELSON’s Disney Learning products.
I had a chance to review this collection and I was really happy to see that it reflects educational content taught in Canadian schools with beloved Disney characters, to create helpful resources for parents like me who are eager to extend classroom learning at home. For over 100 years, NELSON resources have been developed with a deep understanding of children’s learning needs and the curriculum taught in Canadian classrooms and it shows in this new series. It improves their vocabulary and language skills, exercises their brain and develops their imagination.
As a mom who has gone through learning A-B-C’s and numbers with my kids when they were young, I like the idea that with NELSON’s Disney Learning activity card series, preschoolers and older kids can also be more engaged in learning their letters, numbers, shapes and colours with favourite Disney characters.
Of all the NELSON’s Disney Learning products that we received for review, I was most excited about the activity cards. There were two really big elements I noticed right from the start that resonated with me as a parent.
- The cards reflected a format of activities and exercises that looked exactly like the format he was receiving for homework in school. The questions asked for children to notice patterns in math and numeracy instead of just doing a one problem. This is similar to the kinds of math problems my son got for homework in grade two during the year.
- The cards also had a parent summary of tips and goals on the back to help me ask additional questions for extended learning and look at ‘next steps’ in the problem on the front.
Each math topic is seen near the top right corner of each card so it’s easy to help us moms navigate when going through the series.
I also loved that the activity cards had erasable markers with them so that we could look at problems and repeat at another time. It was an asset to have the cards as they are really travel friendly when dropping my kids off at my mom’s so that they could do a little work during the times I was away at work.
Here’s a description of each level for the cards:
Math Activity Cards – K
The Math Activity Cards for Kindergarten focus on 5 mathematical topics, aligned to what children learn in school, and is an entertaining, easy format for parents to customize and adapt to the learning style of their child. The series demonstrates how math is being taught in school, which is why the Math Activity Cards contains many support tools to help your child develop confidence with math. The cards were developed with an understanding of the importance of math and literacy skills in growing kids. Each set includes laminated cards and a dry-erase marker for children to show how to use different math strategies.
The Disney Learning Series – Math Activity Cards – 1
The Canadian curriculum-aligned Math Activity Cards focus on Numbers, Patterns, Data Management, Geometry and Measurement. Each card contains an I Can goal, identifying what the child should be able to comprehend by the end of an activity. The content not only reinforces the math concepts your child is learning in class, but also demonstrates alternative methods for solving problems.
Young learners often need help and support from their parents, which is why the Learn Together feature involves the parent and provides suggested materials and activities to encourage learning outside the classroom. Extra Learning is a feature that supports learning by providing your child with additional activities once your child has completed the initial problem. This helps in developing a deeper understanding of the math concepts and increases retention.
Math Activity Cards for Grade 2:
Each card set contains several activities that will challenge and instil confidence in the child. Parents are also encouraged to stimulate the child’s learning with the help of the Learn Together section of this card set. Parents can use these activity cards to explain important math concepts to their children and ask them questions to see if they have fully understood those concepts. These activities include another useful feature called Supporting the Activity, where there are suggested questions parents can give their children beyond the lesson being taught. Extra Learning is another activity where parents can create simple math practice games from the comfort of their own home.
The activity books were also a selling point with my son. He loved the characters of Dory and Cars.
What I loved most is that some of the exercises allowed for inner reflection as well. For example, one of the exercises used a bar graph to talk about how often a character felt sad, happy and angry. The exercise was asking to show the frequency of these emotions using a bar graph.
Once the first exercise was completed, the next page asked my son to share how many times he was happy, sad or angry the day before and do the exercise again using ‘data’ in the form of a bar graph.
I loved this because it was more than just a math question. It was relatable with reflection. Each book contains reward stickers, which we also loved!
Here’s a description of each book’s level:
The Disney Learning Series – Ready to Read and Write – PreK (English)
Contents found within the workbook aim to develop children’s motor skills through Ready to Print, where kids are tasked to trace lines, letters, and words. As the child progresses throughout the workbook, the content will help develop and strengthen writing comprehension through Word Knowledge, where children are challenged to think of words that are presented to them and to think of the opposite. To boost confidence in your child and ensure his or her success, they can be rewarded throughout the workbook through stickers and a certificate, thus, inspiring them to learn as they have fun. The rewards stickers are placed upon completion of each topic in the I Can section, which indicates the skills practiced, and can also be used as a goal.
The Disney Learning Series – Reading, Writing, and Math – 1 (English)
The Disney workbook features activities designed around Disney’s most iconic characters and stories. The contents found in this Disney inspired workbook include Comprehension, Writing, Addition and Subtraction. The contents are designed to not only promote critical-thinking and communication skills, but also make skills practice fun. The book helps children to develop math and literacy skills at a young age. While the workbook is designed for children, parents can also get involved and motivate their child to complete the activities and practice exercises.
The Disney Learning Series – Reading, Writing, and Math – 2 (English)
At this grade, children have progressed their literacy and numeracy comprehension, and are now exploring and discovering numbers in the world around us. The book complements the school curriculum for Grade 2 and helps in developing skills and competencies that are expected from your child at his or her academic level.
The contents in this workbook aim to stimulate the child’s progress in literacy and numeracy, challenging them with material aligned to Canadian curriculum connected to fun activities within the Disney’s fantasy worlds. Content such as Letter Sounds help children practice with consonants and vowels, while Numeracy covers topic areas; Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division problems for children to conquer. The Reading, Writing, and Math workbook also features an I Can section for each topic, indicating what a child should be able to comprehend by the end of the activity, making the series a well-rounded learning tool for Grade 2 children.
The main thrust behind NELSON’s Disney Learning products is to bridge the gap between the classroom and home learning, providing parents with trusted educational tools to boost their child’s confidence by reinforcing their understanding of critical concepts.
Each of these resources is available now for a cost of $12.99 each to $14.99. Masalamommas readers can access a discount using code Nayyar10 if you plan to shop online!
Disclosure: I am participating in NELSON’s Disney Learning campaign and have received special perks. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own.
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