Lessons, letters and Leapfrog

When I think of September, I usually think back-to-school. With an almost 6 year old in the house, the thought of heading back is pretty exciting, for him and for us. He loves to learn, and if he can incorporate learning into his shows or games, he is even happier.

With the school strike that we dealt with for the first three weeks of September, I tried to find learning opportunities in lots of different places. When I discovered that Netflix carried a lot of the Leapfrog learning shows in the kids section, Q and I were both thrilled. One of his favourites this month was Numbers Ahoy.

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Tad, Lily and Scout go on an adventure under the sea and learn about numbers, counting and estimation. Q is nearly 6, and already knows how to count well, but he quite enjoyed the movie. He said that the songs were fun and he really likes the Leapfrog adventures that involve Tad, Lily and Scout. I think that there is always something more to learn, and would be a great show for preschoolers right up to early primary grades.

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Curious George has been a perpetual favourite of Q’s pretty much his whole life. He loves the books, the movies, and the TV shows. More than once he has said to me “I’m curious, just like George”, and sometimes he even brings this line out when he has gotten into something he is not supposed to. Kids! One of the things that he likes best about watching Curious George is how there is always something new for George to learn, and a problem for him to solve. Even if he gets into trouble, or messes things up, he is always able to find a way to make things right. I think that this is a great lesson for kids to learn, and is something that we don’t always emphasize enough to them, especially when they are up to no good. Curious George also teaches the value of learning, and exploring, and being curious about the world around you. All important things for kids (and grown ups too!) to do, and not something that we encourage enough sometimes. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, sometimes it is easy to forget to stop and pick the flowers or watch the leaves blow in the wind and wonder why they do that. We could all use some more of that, I think.

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“Who’s got the power, the power to read…” Anyone familiar with those words knows that they are the first lines to the theme song of Super Why. Wyatt and his friends Red, Pig, and Princess Pea travel into storybooks to solve problems. They transform themselves into the Super Readers and jump into classic stories such as The Princess and the Pea, The Ugly Duckling and The Emperor’s. New Clothes, to help save the day. Along the way, they learn about the alphabet with AlphaPig, learn rhyming words with Wonder Red, spelling with Princess Presto and reading with super Why. This was one of the first shows that Q ever watched, and he still enjoys it today. It is very interactive and kids want to help to solve the problems by collecting letters to enter into the super computer to get the answer to the Super Readers questions. As well as reading, the show features social lessons on etiquette, being a friend, and helping out.

On the bigger kid side, one of the movies that Q has been loving this month is Turbo.

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Turbo is about a snail who dreams of being a race car driver. An impossible dream, considering who he is, but he trains for it nonetheless. After getting sucked through the engine of a nitrous boosted car, Turbo gains some interesting abilities. This dream gets him into trouble at his work at The Plant, and an unfortunate accident at work one day means that he has to find a new job and place to live. He meets Tito, the owner of a taco truck who also has big dreams, and together they, and a crew of racing snails, work to make their dreams come true. I loved this movie because it really showed that when you believe in yourself, and don’t quit, you really can make your dreams come true. It is a fantastic movie, and is a lot of fun for both kids and grown-ups alike. There are lots of all star voices, catchy music, and a great message.

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Ok, I have a confession to make. I was so excited to see Ever After on the list this month. And Glee. I know, I know. Super cheeseball, but they are such fun. Ever After is a beautiful retelling of the Cinderella story, starring Drew Barrymore and Dougray Scott. The two main characters have such lovely chemistry, and the whole story is just so sweet and lovely. Plus, Drew’s character has THE most amazing dress. You’ll know it when you see it. And what can I really say about Glee? Even though most people will mock me for this, I just can’t help myself. I’ve been a lover of music and musicals my whole life, and I love the cheesy fun of it. I have also been known to break into song at random times and in random places. Ask anyone who knows me. So go ahead and laugh. I’ll still be watching. And I might even admit to it if you ask. Might.

A few others to check out as a family include Radio, The Pursuit of Happyness, and The Karate Kid. All great movies that will make you laugh, make you think, and hopefully make you smile too.

So there you have some of my back to school favourites. I hope that you find one or two that you or your kids like. Please let me know if you do enjoy them, or if you find something else that you think we should check out or might enjoy. That is part of the fun of Netflix, getting to share and recommend and find new things!

As a member of the Netflix Streamteam, I get special perks for my participation, however, as usual, all of the thoughts and opinions about the shows and movies mentioned are ours alone. I share these with you in hopes that you will find a fun new show or movie to enjoy.

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