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Baby Einstein - See and Spy Counting
Baby Einstein is a company that specialise in educational and entertaining products for young children to enjoy, discover and learn. They specialise in books designed to help baby's development from a young age.
Baby Einstein See and Spy Counting is a board book designed for young children aged 9 months and upwards. It is retailed at £3.99 and can be purchased from many book shops. Our book was given as a gift for my eldest son's first birthday (three years ago). The aim of the book is to introduce children to numbers and counting - with a playful game on every spread. This book concentrates on the numbers 1-5.
The book is a nice little size for baby to hold comfortably and the hard-board pages allow little people to easily turn the pages (I do feel that some children's books are rather too large and heavy but this book is just the right size).
The back of the book contains the following information and idea's to help parents make the most of this book. I found this information rather useful, especially when I first introduced this book to my child:
'As you pose and answer each counting question, reinforce the connection between the numeral and the number of objects in the picture. For instance, point to the number 4, then count four objects. Touch your child's finger to each object that you count.'
'Once your child can identify and count the objects named in the questions, try counting other objects in each illustration'
'Use this book as a way to teach the parts of the body. Identify the body parts that seem common to all animals, such as eyes and others that only appear on some, such as horns. It's a great way to expand vocabulary!'
There are 7 pages in total. Each page is brightly coloured, with detailed illustrations of different sceneries. For example there is a jungle themed page, as well as a wintery theme which has images of penguins and snowmen. There are also different animals on each page. Each animal in the book is happy and smiling,
which adds some friendly fun to the book.
There are also 5 questions about each page, For example; the second page displays an image of a goat in a sunflower field, painting a picture of the scenery. This page contains the following questions.
How many paintbrushes are in the goat's mouth?
How many horns does the goat have?
How many legs does the easel have?
How many sunflowers are painted on the canvas?
How many paint colours can you count on the goat's palette?
Beside each question you will find the answer within a bright coloured circle. The answers to each question are also in order of 1-5 on each page. This encourages the child to answer correctly as they will learn the repetitiveness of the answers, which will also help them learn how to count from 1-5.
I do feel that some of these words, such as easel, palette, canvas, are too complex for young children, whilst it is helpful at expanding their vocabulary, your child would actually have to be 'Baby Einstein' to know these words aged 9 months. However, as the back of the book points out, the learning is set out in different stages, so at first, you would be concentrating on teaching your child the numbers, and how to count, rather than learning the actual words and images, this will come later.
My family's interaction with the book:
I first read this book with my eldest son, when he was 12 months old. I hadn't read the advice for parents on the back page, so at first I felt quite panicked. Was my child really expected to be able to answer all these questions, and know all these words? Baring in mind he was also 3 months older than the age recommendation on the book. Was he falling behind?
After reading the back of the book, I realised that of course my child wasn't expected to know these things; the book was merely a learning tool that I could use to introduce my child to numbers and counting different objects.
My eldest son is now four and can quite easily answer the questions in the book. I am very proud that he has learnt the more complex words, as this really has helped to extend his vocabulary. My two year old, still has trouble with the counting aspect, however he has learnt his basic numbers through this book. He has also learnt many basic words from this book, such as goat, duck and pond. He is quite taken with this book at the moment and will often wander off to a little corner and look through the book by himself, as well as looking through it with me.
My overall view of the book:
At first I felt that the age recommendation of 9 months was far too young, but I can now see that this is simply an age where you can start to introduce your child to numbers and counting.
I really like the fact that there are instructions on the back for the parents, as how to make the most of the book. This was a very helpful guideline for me to follow and helped me to teach my children.
We have regularly made use of this book over the past three years. The spine has become a little tatty, but other than that, the book is still in an excellent condition, which just goes to show what a great quality book this is.
This is a book that will last for years, as you can dip in and out of it. Once you have taught your child the basics, they can then go on to learn the more complex words.
Although I was dubious at first, this has turned out to be a great book that has helped both of my children. I expect I will keep this book for a few more years, until my youngest child is around 4, and has learnt everything he can from this book.