We recently dropped our satellite service. We’ve subscribed to a couple of streaming services for a while, and that’s so much more affordable than cable or satellite. A few weeks ago, our family was given a year’s access to SmartKidz Media Library for Homeschoolers from SmartKidz Media. The cost of the service is $10 per month, or $99 per year, plus you receive a 14-day free trial. This cost is comparable to most other streaming services. You can access the content via computer, tablet, smart TVs with a browser, and Roku 3, although some features will only work on a computer or mobile phone capable of running Flash.
SmartKidz Media Library isn’t just any old streaming service…this one’s unique. You can stream lots of shows about science, wildlife, cooking, health & fitness, WWII history – but you can also stream several types of music, read animated e-books, play games, and they even have study guides available for language arts, math, science, and social studies. There are other categories as well, with plans to add even more content throughout the Summer.
Titles are presented in a carousel format, and you just click either side arrow to browse them all. It’s pretty simple to navigate. When you hover over each title, a description pops up that also tells you the run length.
There’s a pretty nice collection of e-books available on SmartKidz. They range from song books to classics, science, Bible, and books divided into age groups. The books are presented the same way as the shows, in a carousel format. When you click to “watch” them, they play as a video and are read aloud, and also have some nice sound effects to go along with the stories. Words are highlighted in red as they are said. Your young reader could potentially use this feature to help learn reading, although some of the stories do move a bit quickly. Since they play as video, they’re pretty easy to rewind a little if you wanted. There is also a reading readiness section that demonstrates writing letters and the ABCs.
I have several Mommy friends who use sign language with their babies, and so I must mention the Baby Signs Program section. This section has lots of videos for teaching babies sign language, as well as teaching parents how to sign to their babies. The videos aren’t just entertaining, but educational for parents and babies, too. I don’t have babies to use these with, but they are cute and were fun to watch.
My Animal Family is a collection of videos showing different animals in their family settings and teaches respect and family values, along with fun facts. There are 5 different animals covered in this section. There are also 5 story songs to go along with the videos!
The Quick Find Study Guides are a great tool to have. These are different in that they aren’t videos, but more like lists, definitions, and terms. They’re more of a short and quick reference.
The special needs section is pretty unique in that the books can both be watched on the website and downloaded and printed. The download also includes lesson plans, and there’s a huge selection to choose from in this section. It’s designed for those with disabilities and special needs, and the books were actually created by therapists and educators to help teach life skills.
The Living Skills section is currently empty, but will soon contain songs to help teach children skills for living such as behavior and responsibility.
Ready Set Sing is a collection of over 200 sing-along songs. Some are karaoke, and others are topic-related such as Mother Goose, wildlife, and classic favorites. These have some fun animations!
The Fun Zone is just that – fun! There are games, jokes, riddles, limericks, and jigsaw puzzles. The games are hidden item, memory cards, dress-up, hide and seek, and find the missing ball. With the jigsaw puzzles, you can choose the number of puzzle pieces that you use, so that’s nice for different age groups.
We’ve had a lot of fun with SmartKidz Media. The kids have gotten into watching animal documentaries again, so we’ve enjoyed watching the videos on my laptop. I like to stream the music while I’m working online sometimes, especially the classical music. I’ll probably stream it when we start back to school in a couple of months as well. Lucas has had a lot of fun with the games, which is nice since it can be hard to find games like these that he can actually play. I have a Roku 2, so I’m not able to stream on the TV unless I hook a laptop up to it. I really love how the e-books are presented, so if your little ones want a story, they can have them read to them online. The books progress on their own, so there’s no clicking to turn pages. It’s super-easy to use! SmartKidz Media offers a lot of fun and educational content for all families, and I highly recommend it!
Be sure to read the reviews from my fellow Crew Mates. Thanks for stopping by!