Parents with preschoolers who have HP Print App-ready printers at home can now enjoy new print apps to keep their children engaged and entertained, without having to buy a whole bunch of activity books.
A problem with activity books is that if the child likes an activity, be it colouring or tracing a maze, once he draws on the page, it cannot be reused. With a Print App, the child gets to play that activity as many times as he likes. This is particularly useful in skills that require reinforcement, such as writing Chinese characters.
There are 2 excellent Print Apps targetted at introducing Chinese to preschoolers: Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf (better known as 喜羊羊) and XiaoJingLing (小精灵).
Please note that to install these apps, you need to be linked to HP’s ePrintCenter (http://eprintcenter.com), and set your region to be Singapore at the bottom of the page.
喜羊羊 offers a broad range of activities based on the popular cartoon series. These include practicing writing Chinese characters, spotting the difference, joining the dots and colouring pictures of nine different characters in the cartoon series. The following are some examples.
The quality of the graphics are excellent, and with good details. The spot the difference pictures can be quite challenging. Some of the pictures differ only by a shade of color, making them difficult to spot. There are no hints or answers, so parents will likely have to help their kids verify their answers.
Kids will also have lots of fun colouring the pictures either with colour pencils and crayons. Water colours may be used if you print the pictures on thicker paper. When your kids are done with the painting, you can scan their masterpieces using the scanner and print them on iron-on transfers to make your very own personalised T-shirts!
In the same vein, 小精灵 offers a treasure trove of interesting activities for preschoolers. Its activities are classified into those for nursery school (3-4 years old) and those for kindergarten children (5-6 years old).
It has a rigorous activity for teaching the writing of Chinese characters, focusing on commonly used words in a variety of scenarios. It also offers picture cards which are in both English and Chinese. Parents can cut these full-colour images into flash cards to interact with their kids.
Aside from the usual colouring and maze tracing activities, what makes 小精灵 interesting are the activities in mathematics and science. For mathematics, aside from number-bonds, addition and subtraction activities, it also provides learning tasks for multiplication and division.
There is a number of fun and easy to run experiments offered, specifically tailored to age of the child. These includes experiments using eggs and balloons to explain the density of water, and atmospheric pressure.
There are also instructions for art and craft. Here is an example of how to use plasticine to make a panda.
In summary, these applications do provide a comprehensive suite of clever resources that parents can call on if they run out of ideas on how to keep their toddlers entertained aside from putting them in front of TVs or iPads.