Maple Leaves & Helicopter Seeds + Academics' Choice Review

We were on the hunt for Maple leaves and their helicopter seeds (or "samaras") for this week's Outdoor Hour Challenge.

Maple by Lori Nichols was our book of the week. This is one of our favorites about a little girl named Maple and her baby sister, Willow.

We collected leaves of many different colors on our Fall walk two weeks ago:

When we went out on another walk last week to check our leaves, the soft and colorful leaves are now mostly brown and very crunchy. And it was quite cold and windy! Finally it feels like November.

We had a great time searching for these leafy treasures and will be on the lookout for Oaks and Acorns in the upcoming week. The kids love going "hunting" for the perfect leaves!

This week I also reviewed three learning resources for Academics' Choice. Here are my thoughts on these products by Rock N' Learn, Heidi Songs and Oceanhouse Media:

Rock N' Learn Letter Sounds Silly Sentences

Learning the alphabet letters and sounds is right up our alley in this almost-four-year-old stage. E loves this book's "game show" style and asks to read this book many times a day. The sentences are indeed silly and the accompanying pictures prove to be entertaining. This is a board book which is great when you have little siblings around trying to destroy everything.

Along with the Letter Sounds Silly Sentences board book, Rock N' Learn has many other resources from Pre-K to 5th Grade & Up. I haven't checked out their DVDs yet but I would be interested in exploring their "Learn a Language" resources. The website also has some printable freebies.

Rock N' Learn's Letter Sounds Silly Sentences board book is a great resource for developing pre-literacy skills. We give it a thumbs up.

Sing & Spell the Sight Words DVDs

The kids and I tested out Volumes 1,2 and 4 of Heidi Songs' Sing & Spell Animated DVDs. Through singing, simple movements and repetition, these songs are designed to help children memorize the words and jumpstart their reading and writing skills.

Each volume that I review covers the words listed:

Volume One: and, are, can, for, go, have, he, here, is, like, me, my, of, on, play, said, see, she, that, the, they, to, was, with, you and I'm Done (the Period Song.)

Volume Two: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black, white, gray, pink, an, at, big, do, down, has, in, it, no/yes, not, small, this, too, up, we, what, who.

Volume Four: A (word), all, am, as, be, by, came, dear, did, friend, from, good, had, his, I (word), if, love, made, nice, now, out, over, put, some, then, very, will, and your.

E and even W were enthralled by all the action on the screen but they preferred to just watch rather than imitate the motions for each song. I thought the Sing & Spell DVDs were very busy, certainly repetitious - and quite annoying. They were fine to review but I would not buy them myself.

One Fish Two Fish Read & Learn App

This was one of my favorite Dr. Seuss' books as a kid and I still love reading Dr. Seuss to my kids. As I mentioned in my review of The Lorax app, I am not a fan of putting cell phones or iPads in front of my children. Children enjoy working through this interactive book (doesn't every kid obsess over smart phones?!) but it doesn't compare to reading the actual book with your child.

The One Fish Two Fish Read & Learn App is well-designed but we prefer the real book reading experience. I'll pass on the Read & Learn apps.

(Screenshot Source)

Have you gone on any nature adventures this week?

Joining up with Preschool & Kindergarten Community Weekly Link-Up, Homeschool Blog and Tell, and Mommy Moments.

Disclaimer: As an Academics' Choice Advocate, I was sent these products free of charge for my honest review. All opinions are my own.


  1. The leave hunting sounds like a great little adventure for little ones!

    1. Yes, "hunting" of any sort is a hit with these two :)

  2. What a great blog entry! I loved seeing your Outdoor Hour Challenge. Can I share one of your images in my newsletter along with a link to your blog? Let me know :)

    1. Thank you, Barb! We are really enjoying your Outdoor Hour topics each week and I would love for you to use my images.


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