Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Review: bambinoLUK

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We’ve loved everything we’ve tried from Timberdoodle, and this bambinoLUK product is no different!

In short, the bambinoLUK is a workbook set for ages 3-5 that doesn’t require writing of any kind – it uses a controller with six tiles that, if placed correctly, match a specific dotted pattern on the backside.

The workbooks give practice with memorization, concentration, visual perception, logical thinking, linguistic skills, and basic arithmetic.  There are numerous sets to choose from, so you can pick a set based on your child’s skill level and/or interests.

We got the starter kit, as well as the Theme-Based Learning – Animals set and the Concentration set.

What We Liked:
There’s a list, so I’ll just turn that numbering thing on!
  1. No writing appliances necessary.  Don’t get me wrong – we use writing workbooks lot – but I like to mix things up, so this is a nice variation that builds fine-motor skills, too.
  2. Intuitive and self-driven.  There are no written instructions for the puzzles – just one example – which means Esmé was up and running on her own very quickly.  Once she knew how the controller worked (and tried her own variations like putting all the symbols upside down), she was good to go.  She can set up the puzzles and use them at her own pace whenever she wants.
  3. Progressive.  Esmé is pretty advanced for her age academically, so when she breezed through the first couple of puzzles, I was a little worried she’d get bored.  However, she did start finding some of them challenging – and it gave me an idea of what areas we could work on…
  4. Skill-building.  We’ve been covering the ABCs and 123s pretty well already – so this is a nice addition in areas I don’t always think about:  spatial perspective, transformation, correlation, concentration, and all that good stuff.
  5. Theme-based set.  The Animal themed books were her absolute favorites – regardless of which skills were being used.
  6. Reusable.  That’s a benefit of a non-writing workbook – it can be used over and over, by one or multiple children.  The pages are pretty durable.
  7. Appealing.  The workbooks are colorful and use objects that kids know and are attracted to.  As I mentioned, animals rate big at our house!
  8. No letter/number recognition or matching necessary.  This wasn’t a big deal for us, but I can see it being a big plus for kids who haven’t started or are struggling with their letter- and number-recognition.

What We Didn’t Like:

There was one thing that didn’t quite click perfectly with Esmé – the self-correcting pattern.  There are a lot of dots to check out against the answer key, and she got frustrated with checking out each one.  It’s easy to see if there are any unmatched colors, so that’s the guideline I ended up giving her for self-correction – but she still wanted to use the answer key.

This product is a great value for your money.  The bambinoLUK Starter Pack, which comes with a “sampler” workbook covering various concepts and levels, is currently available for $19.95 at Timberdoodle.  Other packs are available for $9.95 (two-book pack).  Each book has a total of 11 puzzles, or 66 exercises.

Timberdoodle has many other GREAT homeschooling resources available, including a whole section on Thinking Skills.

Thanks to Timberdoodle for providing this product for review.  Trust us – we’d be raving about it no matter how we acquired it… :)


Kirsten said...

I read your review on Timberdoodle's site and you mentioned not being able to download the DIY worksheets. Not sure if you accessed it or not yet, but I had the same problem, emailed them, and they responded with the PDF files!