Jax at Live Otherwise is organising a monthly educational carnival (following on from the wonderful Not Back to School carnival) and this month’s theme is favourite resources. I knew straight away I wanted to write about BrainPOP.
I can’t remember how we first discovered BrainPOP, but we’ve all loved it for a good while now. There’s a free video each day (today’s is Square Roots, but they’re often topical) and at the end of the video, there’s the option to take a quiz (and three options for how you want to do it) plus ‘related activities’ (for today’s video, the related activity is ‘Vocabulary: can you explain the terms below in your own words?’ The terms include ‘square root’ ‘factor’ and ‘integer’) and further reading, which also comes with some test questions.
The videos are presented and explained simply without dumbing down (plus they’re often very funny) and the questions at the end are great for checking your child has understood and frequently lead to further discussion.
Along with the daily free video, there are plenty of other free videos to try, but we subscribe so the boys can look up whatever they’re interested in. It costs £4.99/month or less if you sign up for 6 or 12 months.
We also subscribe to BrainPOP Jr., which is great for Joe. It has a movie of the week, rather than day – this week’s is Maya Civilisation. It’s presented by a girl, which I like, but it’s American so she has an American accent – my husband finds it really irritating, but I love it. (I particularly love the authors section on this site.)
While Harry was still at school, he’d ask me a question and, if I didn’t know the answer, we’d look it up together on BrainPOP (I remember him asking why the leaves fall off the trees in Autumn. I didn’t know.). Since he’s been at home, he often looks stuff up himself and he’s also looked up things he’s worried about and then asked me about it afterwards (I suspect our most-watched video is the one about puberty). If Harry comes out with something I’m surprised he knows and I ask him how he knows, more often than not, the response is “BrainPOP.”
I’m frequently impressed by the topics covered by both BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr., and it’s as entertaining (and often as educational) for us as it is for the children. Definitely our favourite resource and the one I recommend to everyone. (Plus they’re very nice and helpful on Twitter.)