Product Review: Alphablocks Reading Programme

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I have written before about how we feel it is very important that we read to both Oliver and Leo. It would also stand to reason then that we would also feel that it is important for Oliver to read himself, which we do, so you can imagine our delight when the people behind the Alphablocks Reading Programme wanted me to review the programme.

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For those that aren’t in the know as it what Alphablocks are here’s a summary. Alphablocks started life as a five minute TV show on CBeebies and has been running now for a few years teaching kids in a fun way the alphabet and also how to spell various words from Tree to Beekeeper. The Alphablock characters are the letters of the alphabet each with their own personality and obviously the sound of that letter. Alphablocks also feature on the CBeebies Playtime app.

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When the programme arrived the size of the box surprised me it was a lot bigger then I expected and when we opened it up we were greeted by 15 magazines and a whole host of accessories and helpful bits and pieces to make the most use of the magazines and to help Oliver learn to read.

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When we showed Oliver he squealed with excitement as he loves the Alphablocks characters from the CBeebies app and TV series and recognised them immediately and as once he realised that there were parts of the programme to play with as well he wanted them all opened up.

The Programme

The programme is split into three sections which are beginners, follow on and finally reading themselves and due to Olivers age I will be focusing on the first section and the parts included.

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We started on the evening the parcel turned up going through the first few pages of the first magazine and the first letter in the whole programme is S which I feel is perfect, it’s probably one of the easiest sounds a child can say, if you are familiar with the ling6 sounds you will know it is also one of the most common sounds we make when we speak as well, it is also one of the easiest shapes to recognise and eventually write for a young child.

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In the first magazine each page is a letter and as I previously said this began with S. Each page is split in too a few different areas most starting with getting the parent to pronounce the sound and then encouraging the child to repeat it back to them and then encouraging the child to try again and again until they grasp the letter. Also on the page is somewhere where the child can practice writing the letter similar to how they do in school, or did in my day. This is fantastic as Oliver can now write a rough S shape on a piece of paper and recognise it enough to say the it back to us. We’ve also noticed that he has also picked up the letter O from his name and is now signing pieces of art work with O.

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The programme is priced at £30 (at time of writing this blog) which in my mind is a fantastic price for what you get and also for the fact that we’ve proved it works with Olivers development with his reading in the last two weeks since we’ve had the programme.

The only gripe we have with the programme is that there is nothing to store the magazines in once you dispose of the packaging it is delivered in so a binder or other similar would be a nice addition to what is a fantastic thing.

For more info on the Alphablocks Reading Programme or to purchase it click here

Little Fellas Fun Days Out # 3: Kidsfest at Marsh Farm.

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On Sunday 9th August we went to Marsh Farm for Kidsfest 2015.

When we arrived we had to queue to get in the car park a sign of how popular this event is. On entry to the Farm we were immediately greeted by happy staff who were only to willing to help you out if you had a problem.

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Oliver and Mummy looking at a book range.

Due to the size of the event we decided to have a look round and then go back to the things that appealed. We did stop however at the fire engines and police vehicles and Oliver got to pretend to drive a fire engine and Daddy a police van.

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Oliver behind the wheel of a Fire Engine

The emergency vehicles were right next to the kids soft play and café which was our next stop so Leo could have a bottle. Whilst in there Keighley was queuing up for drinks for us, Oliver went to play in the soft play whilst I fed Leo and kept an eye on Oliver.

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Leo after lunch

However the fire alarm went off and Oliver went into panic mode meaning he couldn’t find his way out. My sister in law went into get him out but couldn’t find him. By this point Keighley was getting panicked and so was I to be honest. My sister in law took Leo out the building and I went round to get Oliver, however a member of staff ran past me straight up into the soft play and brought him out in seconds. I can not praise him enough for his speed.

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Oliver on one of the many rocking horses available

Following our eventful bottle break we went out onto a huge field with loads of different activities and a couple of stages one with dancers on and another with a local radio on which also hosted Mr Bloom of Cbeebies fame.

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Our view of Mr Bloom

Whilst we watched Mr Bloom we ate lunch and decided what we would do next. Once we had finished we headed for the bouncy castles, now a firm Oliver favourite.

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Oliver on the bouncy castle

There were around ten different bouncy castles so many Oliver was on and off so quickly and on to the next one, although he does love the ones with slides on.  

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A Pig at Marsh Farm

Being a farm we obviously expected to see animals and lots of them and this was our main disappointment of the day, yes they had the odd sheep,  cow and pig but not anywhere near as many as you’d expect. They also had a couple of Lama and rabbits but not much more.  I don’t think it helps that I remember Marsh Farm when it was a proper working farm and it seems to now have become a bit to focused on the other parts beyond the animals which is all well and good but also disappointing. 

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Oliver stroking a Ferret

That being said we had a wonderful day and we would go again but this time we would be aware of the lack of animals.

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Daddy and Leo selfie

Would we recommend Marsh Farm and Kidsfest to other people yeah we would for both. Kidsfest was so big that Oliver found it overwhelming as there was probably a little to much to do for younger kids but as for Marsh Farm as a day out then yeah we enjoyed the animal aspect and the bits they had but just be aware of a distinct lack of animals considering the name.