Wondermind is an educational curriculum for young kids that originated in Japan. This unique concept strives to provide learning activities for toddlers and preschool aged kids through a combination of educational toys, books, DVD’s and a parenting guide that arrive in each kit through the mail. It is marketed as a summer activity kit, but it in my opinion is appropriate for any child within the designated age ranges. A 1-2 year old kit and 4-5 year old kit are currently available in the United States now.
What’s great about the Wondermind curriculum is that there really isn’t any right or wrong way to use the activities, it’s all driven by your child’s interest, and is not meant to be completed in a systematic fashion. The various activities are themed-based upon educational concepts developed specifically for that particular age group.
The 1-2 year old kit came with a Teegy the Tiger puppet, book with stickers, DVD episode, parenting guide with activities and colorshape blocks that can be connected and re-arranged using pictures to make various structures such as a guitar, vacuum cleaner, power shovel and baby stroller. This kit promotes skills like color matching, taking turns, sharing, playing peek-a-boo, problem solving skills for building with blocks, identifying animals and learning various animal sounds.
For days, Gavin played with the hand puppet on his own. We finally sat down the other day and explored the Time Together Play Book. The book includes several different activities that promote matching by color, shape and object using stickers. All of the pictures are nicely illustrated and many of the pictures, mainly of the animals, mostly integrate real photographs, which is perfect for such a young age group. Gavin wanted to complete the book from start to finish and wouldn’t put it down.
When using this with my almost 3 -year-old, there were some skills that he had already mastered, but was so proud of himself that he successfully knew the answers, while other concepts such as more intricate block design copying and reading the story about sharing were appropriately more of a challenge. He loved peeling the stickers off and placing them in the correct locations on the page, but since a few days have gone by, I wish the stickers were re-usable. Initially we could pull them off and reposition them on another page, but since a few days have gone by, it’s now pulling some of the picture off if we try to remove them.
Each page of the book, aside from the story and activities, also has hint areas for parents to help guide them on the skill that are being presented, while also providing ways to generalize the skills to other life experiences. Though the ideas are simple, it is important so parents can feel confident in the skills they are helping convey to their children. In in order to get your money’s worth, I’d suggest only completing a few pages of the book a time. Since we’ve completed the book and the stickers are not re-usable, it doesn’t provide the same unique fun any longer.
I enjoyed using the book with Gavin then supplementing it with the DVD after. I personally feel that I would rather him learn these specific concepts from a human being rather then seeing it first through the television. Though he was not interested in using the blocks to copy the designs, I wasn’t concerned because in my opinion, this is more of a 3 year old skill anyway. For the type of content and toys included in the 1-2 year old kit, I think it is fairly well priced given that there is currently free shipping included for a price of $29.99.
There is a 4-5 year old kit available that promotes more challenging skills such as telling time, recognizing and writing basic letters, identifying numbers and creating patterns.
Wondermind provided both the 1-2 year old and 4-5 year old kits free to facilitate this review. The opinions are my own.