Leo’s Pad Preschool Learning App

The draw of the iPad is intense with our three year old. He’s often found climbing on things to find it and has figured out the password to unlock the home screen to let himself play his favorite preschool learning apps. Honestly, I don’t blame him–I love fun technology, too. Usually, when Asher plays the iPad, he will open an app, play for a few minutes, and move on to another app. Lately, I’ve noticed him choosing a particular app and staying within the app for a longer period of time.

Review Leo's Pad Preschool App by Kidaptive

Disclosure: I was provided this product for free for the purpose of this review. I was compensated for my time. All opinions are honest, and I was not required to post a positive review.

The app my three year old son has been drawn to is Leo’s Pad, an adaptive-learning series for preschoolers by Kidaptive. Designed by Stanford researchers and world-class animators, Leo’s Pad Enrichment Program is a stunningly beautiful app jam packed with learning.

Leo's Pad preschool app

What I like about Leo’s Pad Preschool Learning App

  • Amazing graphics–This is the most beautiful app I’ve ever seen. The graphics are seamless, not choppy or awkward when they move. The graphics are very detailed, much more like a painting than minimalist clipart graphics used in some apps. Here is a screenshot of one of the beautiful ocean scenes:
    Leo's Pad preschool app screenshot
  • Encourages social skills–There are times when kids are encouraged to share with one of the characters and do nice things for the characters. For example, one time the activity was to paint on an easel and give the paintbrush to one of the characters when my son was finished.
  • Multiple levels–There are six chapters that unlock when the early learners have mastered a level. While parents can unlock a level, the app wants them to play a number of times to keep them from breezing through the games and to master the learning. Big thumbs up!
    Leo's Pad preschool app by Kidaptive
  • Creative Skill Learning and Reinforcement–The activities are creative and woven in the storyline of the “app-isodes”.  There are auditory reinforcements that go along with the visual learning. For example, when a color is chosen on the paint easel, the child hears the color name.art on Leo's Pad preschool app by Kidaptive
  • Photo avatars for the non-readers–This was a huge positive for me. Since each child is working on their own level of learning, each child has a user profile. I liked the option of adding a picture for my three year old to help him independently find his profile. Don’t worry, if you’d rather not load a picture into the app, there are several cartoon character profile pictures available instead.
  • STEM focused–There are lots of higher-order thinking skills woven throughout the activities and I noticed a large portion of the activities were designed to cover STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I love STEM activities for my boys–science experiments and engineering get my boys excited!

What my kids think about Leo’s Pad

They love it! To them, it’s an interesting and fun game. As a mom and a master’s level teacher, I know it is teaching them and doing so much more than just entertaining them for a while. While never pleasant, kids fighting over who gets to play first is a sign of a great app. Although Leo’s Pad is targeted for preschool, my second grader enjoyed playing, too.

My Only Hangup

If you’ve been a reader here for a while, you’ll know that I’m a frugal girl. I believe homeschooling can be done well without spending a lot of money, especially in the early years, and can be done with common household items. Normally, we stick to FREE apps or go without. On the rare occasion that I pay for an app, it is less than five dollars. At a price of $24.99, Leo’s Pad does not currently fall within my app price range. However, you get what you pay for, and with Leo’s Pad, you know you’re making an investment in your child’s learning, not just entertaining them.

Leo’s Pad has a trial available for the first chapter. I encourage you to download it and see this app for yourself. Your kids will love it and you might just think it’s worth the investment. Download your FREE TRIAL of Leo’s Pad Enrichment Program. While you’re downloading, be sure to download Kidaptive’s FREE companion parenting app, Learning Mosaic.

Coupon Code for Leo’s Pad

If you like Leo’s Pad and want to purchase it, get 20% off with code IHOMESCHOOL if app is purchased via https://shop.kidaptive.com/. This code will not work via iTunes. Coupon valid until May 31, 2015.

Connect with Leo’s Pad

Find them on Facebook (3 pages to choose from)–Kidaptive, Leo’s Pad, and Learner Mosaic
Find them on Twitter @Kidaptive or @LeosPadApp

Delight-directed Homeschoool Learning in December With CurrClick

December is a hard month for homeschooling in our house. The days leading up to Christmas seem so busy to me and all I really want is to just slow down, bake cookies, and stare at the twinkle lights on my Christmas tree. Not to mention, we’re all starting to feel a little homeschool burnout by now. That’s why I have started Delight-directed Homeschool Learning in December–to get us through the slump, take a curriculum “break” without really taking a break, and add a little fun to our days. Oh, we’re still doing the basics like math, writing, and reading, but we’re taking a break from the more intense unit studies for a little while to catch our breath and enjoy the holiday season.

One easy way I incorporate delight-directed learning for multiple kids is by turning to CurrClick.com. CurrClick has thousands of resources with the click of a button. You can purchase their products for relatively cheap, and most importantly, you can download and print them instantly. CurrClick makes delight-directed learning a cinch.


Delight-directed Homeschool Learning in December

To start with, I sat down and searched the CurrClick website for things I thought the kids would enjoy. With thousands of resources, it can get a little overwhelming to scroll through lapbooks and unit studies with kids looking over my shoulder. Keeping the kids’ interests in mind, I searched for things that would still meet some of the current learning needs for each child. Then, I let the kids pick what they would like to do out of those things. So, in a way, I guided their choices a little. I’m sneaky like that.

So what did my kids pick?

Jonah (7 yrs old) picked the Winter Brick Activities and More (he’s a a bit Lego obsessed)
Winter Brick Activities and More Lily (5 yrs old) picked the Frozen Lapbook , Frozen Copywork, and the Frozen Activity Book (she’s a bit Frozen obsessed)

Frozen Lapbook

Frozen Copywork

frozen activity book

The most important thing? It worked! The kids are enjoying themselves, I get a break from the teacher intensive curriculum, and we can still enjoy all of our favorite holiday traditions during the month of December.

12 Days Of Christmas Homeschool Freebies and Resources

12 Days of Christmas Homeschool Freebies & Resources from CurrClick.com

Here’s little more incentive to help you get to know CurrClick.com! Along with some of my blogging friends, I am partnering with CurrClick to offer the 12 Days of Christmas Homeschool Freebies and Resources.

From December 12 – December 14, 2014 you can download a Holiday Music Unit Study for FREE with code CC12days12.

Plus, we’re hosting a giveaway! Enter below to win one of 12 $20 gift cards to CurrClick!

CurrClick Giveaway


CurrClick end of the year sale

Nature Walk Bag

One component of our homeschooling is nature walks. We get outside, enjoy fresh air, and learn about the world around us. We often have several things we need to carry with us for our nature walk time. Instead of packing and unpacking a bag every week, I set up a Nature Walk Bag with some of our important items we need most often. This simple act of organizing our nature walk materials has saved my sanity! We have everything read to grab and go.

Nature Walk Bag for little scientists on the go

What’s in our Nature Walk Bag?

Science Journal–we use this to write or draw things we saw on our nature walks. It may be making a list of the bugs we saw, sketching an interesting flower, or doing a bark rubbing, but we always try to journal about our time outside. The kids also record our science experiments in this journal. For example, the picture below shows the journal page from my Second Grader after Testing for Air Science Experiment.

science journal

Writing Utensils–I put a few pencils and colored pencils in a small pencil bag. I chose colored pencils so I wouldn’t have to worry about melting crayons if I left it in the van.

Binoculars–Part of the reason we have binoculars is because my oldest thinks he needs them for an exploring adventure, but we normally use the binoculars to look at birds or animals from a distance…of course, that depends on how quiet the kids can be before scaring them off.

Bug Catching Kit–My boys love bugs. It is easier to observe insects when you can catch them and get a closer look. We always release them into the wild so they can go about their business…unless the three year old stomps on them.

Magnifying Glasses–Once again, the boys turn into little explorers when they can “play the part” with a special tool. We use these to look at bugs, tree bark, flower parts, and the veins of a leaf.

magnifying glass

Kid Friendly Field Guide–By having a field guide in our bag, we can look up birds, plants, and more. Learning how to use a reference text like this to find information is a skill everyone should have.

We use and love the Fun With Nature Take-Along Guide. It is a compilation of 7 books: Caterpillars, Bugs and Butterflies; Frogs, Toads and Turtles; Snakes, Salamanders and Lizards; Rabbits, Squirrels and Chipmunks; Tracks, Scats and Signs; and Trees, Leaves and Bark.

We also use More Fun With Nature Take Along Guide. It is a compilation of five other Take-Along Guides. It includes: Berries, Nuts and Seeds; Birds, Nests and Eggs; Rocks, Fossils and Arrowheads; Seashells, Crabs and Sea Stars; and Wildflowers, Blooms and Blossoms.

Note: Depending on what we are studying, I choose one of these books. I don’t want to be carrying a heavy bag for long! And let’s face it…mommas end up carrying these sort of things most of the time.

Nature I-Spy Cards–I printed the Nature I-spy Cards from Nature Study Printables for Toddlers and Preschoolers written by friend Maureen over at Spell Outloud. I placed them on rings so they wouldn’t get lost. Little Brother likes these the most.

nature walk

 Need more Nature Study ideas?


Creative Nature Walks has over 100 nature walk ideas that are easy to do! If I didn’t have this ebook and so many of Cindy’s wise words, I would seriously wander around with the kids looking at the same things every week. Cindy has some fantastic ideas packed in this resource. If you are new to nature walks or just need a fresh idea, this is for you. Cindy is my go-to person for Nature Study. She has a ton of nature study resources available!

Follow Sara @ Happy Brown House’s board Easy Science Activities on Pinterest.

Viking Ship Craft for Kids

While learning about Vikings during our Viking Unit Study, the kids wanted to make a Viking boat. Using some common household materials and some recycled materials, we came up with a viking boat that has been played with over and over and extended their learning through small world play. I often find the kids, mainly Jonah, pretending Lego men are Erik the Red on a voyage or Leif Erickson on his way to North America.

Viking Ship Craft for Kids: how to make a Viking Boat using recycled household items.

To make the base of our viking boat, we recycled an orange juice carton. Using a box cutter, I cut the orange juice carton in half.

Make a viking boat out of a recycled orange juice carton

Using brown paint, the kids painted the orange juice carton half.

Make a viking boat from a recycled orange juice carton

While the paint was drying, Jonah was in charge of measuring lines with a ruler on a piece of cardstock and coloring the red stripes on the viking boat sail. (See how I snuck that math measurement skill in there?) When he was finished, I cut the paper in half and trimmed the sail to 7 inches tall and 5 1/2 inches wide. Using hot glue along the top and bottom edges, I reinforced the viking sail with barbeque skewers.

Making a red striped viking boat sail for a viking boat craft for kids.

Once the edges were reinforced, I used my scissors to poke a hole through the top and bottom in the center of the sail. I used a skinny, but sturdy cardboard tube that was recycled from a package of glow sticks. It was the perfect size for the mast.

Making a viking boat for kids with recycled materials

Using the skinny cardboard tube, I threaded the tube through both holes in the paper sail. Then, I hot glued the mast in the center of the boat.

viking ship craft for kids mast assembly

To make the oars, I used a single hole punch to punch three holes in each side of the boat.

How to make a viking ship for kids

Next, we threaded three barbeque skewers into the holes and used some brown craft foam hot glued to each end to form the paddle on the oar.

how to make a viking boat craft for kids

The craft foam was wrapped around both sides of the skewer and hot glued together.

viking ship craft for kids

To make the dragon head on the front of the viking boat, I folded a piece of brown craft foam in half and roughly cut a dragon profile. Using hot glue, I attached the dragon head to the front of the boat. The picture below shows the dragon head unfolded.

how to make a viking boat for kids

And that’s it! A Viking Boat Craft for Kids to pretend and engage in small world play.

Viking Ship Craft for Kids

Viking Ship Craft for Kids

Other Viking Activities for Kids

Enjoy a Viking Lunch during your Viking Unit Study and snuggle up with some Viking Books!

Read This Make That (Viking Snack Edition)

*Affiliate links are present

 Voyage with the Vikings (Imagination Station Series)Voyage with the Vikings (Imagination Station Series)

vikingViking (DK Eyewitness Books)

Leif the LuckLeif the Lucky

Are you following me on Pinterest? I like pretty things and fun kids activities.

Visit Sara @ Happy Brown House’s profile on Pinterest.

Simple Science Experiment for Kids: Testing for Air

We love simple science experiments at our house! The kids love getting to study science concepts through hands-on activities best and are always excited when we have a fun science activity to try. We have been studying air in our science time and took a few minutes to talk about how air is always around us, but we can’t always see it.

Simple Science Experiment for Kids: Testing for Air with only 3 household materials and less than five minutes

Testing for Air

Since air is invisible, it can be a tricky science topic for kids. You can feel air around you when it is windy and you can see leaves move, but you still can’t see air by itself. In order to help the kids “see air” and realize that air is everywhere we did a quick science activity to test for air. Testing for air is a really simple science experiment for kids. With just a few household items, you could set up this experiment in less than five minutes.

You will need:

  • Bowl with water
  • empty drink can or an empty, clear plastic bottle


Simple Science Experiment for Kids: Testing for Air. You only need 3 simple household materials  and five minutes.

Push the can or bottle into a bowl of water so it begins to fill up. Watch what happens to the water.

Simple Science Experiment for Kids: Testing for Air with 3 household materials and less than five minutes

You will see bubbles as the water pushes out air from inside the bottle. Most things that look empty are really full of air. So easy and your kids will be amazed!Simple Science Experiment for Kids: Testing for Air with 3 household materials and  less than five minutes

Our Testing for Air Video

I took a video of us performing the simple science experiment for the first time. You’ll notice that I didn’t give them the answer, but gave them thinking time and rephrased my question to help them. I want my kids to learn how to think and work it out. I knew they could get to the answer since we’ve been talking about the science concepts, but you’ll notice that they were talking so fast that other science terms came out. My point? Give the kids plenty of time to think and form their answer before you swoop in and tell them.

Want more air experiments for kids? Check out Science with Air!

Looking for more simple science experiments? Here are a few of our popular science posts:

Simple Science: Observing Worms
Simple Science: How to Make a Volcano
Simple Science: How to Make a Sundial

Follow Sara @ Happy Brown House’s board Easy Science Activities on Pinterest.


Don’t forget to enter the HUGE $500 giveaway!

Christopher Columbus Activities for Kids

We’ve been studying Early Explorers at our house in the first few weeks of homeschool. During our Christopher Columbus Unit, we’ve looked at maps of Christopher Columbus’ accidental voyage to North America, made our own versions of the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria, and so much more! I’ve pulled together all of the best Christopher Columbus Activities for Kids–snacks, crafts, printables, and more– for inspiration and wanted to share them with you! This list would be perfect for your own Christopher Columbus unit or for Columbus Day Activities for Kids, which is in October.

Note: There is a fantastic giveaway at the bottom of this post! Don’t miss your chance to win!

30+ Christopher Columbus Activities for Kids

Columbus Crafts & Activities for Kids

Have your little one practice cutting skills while making a Columbus Day Collage from Crayon Freckles. Isn’t this one just adorable?

Christopher Columbus Collage

Make a Triple Sail Boat out of simple shapes, craft sticks, and cereal from Reel Mama.

Columbus Day Craft: Triple Sail Boat

Create a sensory experience with this Columbus Day Spice Painting. Kids will be sure to remember that Christopher Columbus was originally trying to find a western trade route to India and China with this activity!

Columbus Day Spice Painting

Make an adorable handprint keepsake with a Handprint Columbus Boat Craft from The View from the Pew.

Handprint Columbus Boat Craft

Give your kids an engineering challenge to design and build a boat that floats. This is a great STEM activity using recycle materials!

Engineer this: Build a boat that floats STEM challenge for kids

Recycle plastic fruit cups from your kids’ lunch box to make some boats to float in the water table. Originally a Thanksgiving & Mayflower Craft, this would still work for Columbus and other explorers.Mayflower craft made from recycled fruit cup

Dig in your recycle bin again and make Egg Carton Columbus Day Boats that really float!

Egg Carton Columbus Day Boats that really float

Still want more boat ideas? Here is a round-up of 18 Boat Crafts for Kids to Make gathered by Kids Activities Blog.18 Boat Crafts for Kids to Make

Columbus Snacks for Kids

Make a healthy Columbus Day Snack with lots of fruits and veggies.

Columbus Day Snack

Serve miniature Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria boats for a Columbus Day Muffin Tin Meal out of shrimp and cheese.

Muffin Tin Meal: Columbus Day Boats

Create a Columbus Day Bento Lunch with an educational twist that is sure to please your little ones!

Columbus Day Bento Lunch

Columbus Printables for Kids

Give your printer a workout and then laminate to your hearts content with these printable activities for Christopher Columbus.

3 Dinosaurs shares a Christopher Columbus Pack that has been updated to include 49 pages of fun! (Ages 2-8)

Christopher Columbus Printable Pack

Royal Baloo has another great Free Christopher Columbus Printable Pack that includes different activities and super cute graphics! (school-age)

Free Christopher Columbus Printable Pack from Royal Baloo

123Homeschool4Me has some super cute Columbus Day Coloring Sheets & Writing Prompts

Columbus Day Coloring Sheets & Writing Prompts

In All You Do has a set of Free Columbus Day Coloring Activities with over 32 coloring pages.

Free Columbus Day Coloring Activities

Columbus Books for Kids

*affiliate links
Don’t forget to pair these fun Christopher Columbus activities with a good book! Some of our favorites include:

Christopher Columbus (Step into Reading, Step 3, Grades 1-3)

You Wouldn’t Want to Sail With Christopher Columbus!: Uncharted Waters You’d Rather Not Cross

Who Was Christopher Columbus?

Follow the Dream: The Story of Christopher Columbus

First Voyage to America: From the Log of the “Santa Maria” (Dover Children’s Classics)

My First Biography: Christopher Columbus


Encounter (Voyager Books)

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Kid Blogger Network Fall Round-ups

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Mega Cash Giveaway!

Mega Cash Giveaway! 4 Cash Prizes of $500 given away. Enter from September 19, 2014 through October 15, 2014. What would you do with $500?

I’ve partnered up with some of the bloggers in the Kid Blogger Network to bring you another MEGA CASH Giveaway and a GIANT round-up of posts. Since this is a HUGE giveaway with lots of entries, the giveaway will run from September 19, 2014 to October 15th (4 weeks) to give you time to go through and enter.

Win one of FOUR $500 cash prizes directly in your paypal account! This giveaway is open internationally. You must be 18+ years old to enter. Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. Winners will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen. Please see detailed terms and conditions below the giveaway for more info.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Easy Viking Lunch for Kids

We’ve been studying vikings and early explorers at our house lately. One day I decided to get a little creative with the kids’ lunches and prepare a fun and easy viking helmet snack. The kids loved it and have asked for this creative lunch twist every day since!

Need an easy lunch/snack idea for kids? This Easy Viking Lunch is a quick way to add a little fun to lunchtime with simple ingredients you already have at home. Such a cute idea for a viking unit!

How To Make A Viking Lunch

Make a sandwich. Using a knife, I cut off a small portion of the top in an a rounded arch.

viking snack sandwich shape

Next, I peeled a banana, divided it in half, and placed both pieces on the sides of the sandwich, pointing up.

Then, using a broken pretzel stick and some raisins, I embellished the viking hat.

Viking Snack

Eat and enjoy!

My kids really enjoyed this quick and easy treat! Asher gave it two thumbs up.

Two thumbs up for a viking snack

Viking Fun Fact: Horned Viking Hats are actually a myth! Traditional Viking Hats were rounded with a piece that hung down in front of their nose.

 Our Favorite Viking Books to Read after Lunch

Read and Make Viking Lunch

*Affiliate links are present

 Voyage with the Vikings (Imagination Station Series)Voyage with the Vikings (Imagination Station Series)

vikingViking (DK Eyewitness Books)

Leif the LuckLeif the Lucky

Read This Make That (Viking Snack Edition)

Tell me: How do you make reading fun?