Avoiding Summer Slide with Bluebee Pals

Now that your kids have had a few weeks to enjoy the onset of summer, it’s time to tap into learning activities to prevent the dreaded “Summer Slide”. The phenomenon known as “Summer Slide” where kids lose skills over prolonged breaks is not an urban myth, but something that has been validated in research. Summer Slide is not limited to kids of school age, but can also be seen in preschoolers. Summer learning activities don’t necessarily need to be heavy handed. Activities of high interest can be tailored to maintain skills too.






With a little help from Bluebee Pals, kids can remain curious about discovering new interest areas and put to use those skills they’ve acquired throughout the year. Pairing learning activities with actual experiences is one way to gather and retain information. Who doesn’t like a field trip? In this first in a series, we will provide you with ideas of how to keep learning fresh with Bluebee Pals. https://www.bluebeepals.com/apps-bluebee-pals/


Summer Slide: Going to a beach whether it’s the ocean or a lake is always a family favorite. Here are a few apps to play if you are headed to the beach: 




Grandma’s Beach Fun by Fairlady Media is loaded with educational games and videos. There are 7 different activities and 3 interactive extras to explore. Identifying what items are needed to take to the beach, beach art, and math and literacy games with a beach theme will help sharpen thinking skills, as well as help kids, plan out what to do on vacation. I love this app for an introduction to what goes on at the beach and what to expect.


Marco Polo Ocean is an excellent choice when exploring the ocean. This app combines a sandbox full of activities that serve as your child’s personal oceanic encyclopedia. Fun begins with a puzzle that examines sea life, boats and submersibles. What sets these puzzles apart are the fact that they are accompanied with a narrative describing the function and parts to each item. Once done, completed puzzles are thrown out in the water where kids can design their own oceanic landscape from the shore to the deep-sea floor. Moving the items around in their environments gives you a peek into how the sea animals interact and behave.


Just Grandma and Me the classic book by Mercer Meyer is one of the most endearing stories about summer fun. The story shares Little Critter’s adventures with Grandma at the beach. It facilitates language development through highlighted narration, words and pictures that can be tapped to reveal pronunciation, and the opportunity to record parents (or grandma) reading the book to their kids.





The Magic of Reading with Bluebee Pals

One of the best features of the Bluebee Pal is its ability to suspend reality and bring the written word alive in a book. We all know that reading is one of the best ways to engage our children in interactive play and it also gives them an edge up on learning. Current research shows that babies benefit tremendously from listening to stories, and the earlier this routine is established, the better. By reading to Baby, he or she begins to pick up the nuances of language, its sequence, and structure. Most important of all, however, are the bonds that deepen because of shared experiences through stories. Stories inspire, they make us laugh, and they also tell us what to do. Reading stories with diverse characters informs kids of not only the experience of others but also to appreciate the idea of how family traditions across cultures may, on the one hand, be different but are so very much the same. All parents love their children and want them to succeed.


Joint attention is the cornerstone of communication. Joint attention is the ability to share experiences and to acknowledge another person as a witness. It can be as simple as pointing to a plane with a quick glance to see if the other person notices or sharing a laugh at funny faces. And it is through joint attention that the ability to imitate emerges and is strengthened. Books for early learners that can be used with Bluebee include hardback books, audio books, a combination of the two, or a digital version via a phone or tablet.



One of the most overlooked features to using Bluebee is using a phone or a voice recording app. Parents with jobs that keep them away from home may love phoning in, to read a story or may like the convenience of a voice recording app to record a book. Often when recording a familiar tale, try leaving off a keyword and see if your child throws it in at the correct time. This will help synchronize memory, comprehension, and communicative intent. 

Another lesson from reading books is the ability to wait and listen. Once the sequence of a story is established, welcoming kids to interrupt, stop and ask questions, and ponder what if…allows for the imagination to take flight. I love when kids both anticipate and then try to come up with alternative twists within a familiar book. https://www.bluebeepals.com/apps-bluebee-pals/



Here are a few resources for great story finds. Remember to use the Bluebee app for any further questions on the use of its features. We would also love to hear from you, what stories do you like? What are your kids responding to?… and until then sweet play in the land of make-believe and crossing that bridge of the possibilities of imagination.

Goodnight Moon – the classic book by Magaret Wise Brown is ripe for learning the labels of common household items. This classic book can be found on almost any digital format. I do love having the book in conjunction as many kids will “read” the book to themselves, and sharing that recitation is priceless. In my clinical practice, I use this book every week.

Podcasts are also invaluable to a reading experience. Nosy Crow’s Stories Aloud series have narrations to many of their published books. I love these podcasts in that they teach children to wait and listen for auditory cues to turn the page. Thus pairing the storyline with the written material.

Oceanhouse Media has a catalog of children’s favorites from Dr. Suess to nonfiction books by the Smithsonian Institute. They are one of my go-to developers when searching for books.

For Social-Emotional Lessons, you can’t fair better than Peppy Pals. These books for preschoolers are engaging and invite discussion. They are magically matched to a young child’s attention span.

Pairing a book with audio versions (audio versions of books can be purchased on Amazon, or a book can be read by yourself through the voice recorder on the Bluebee Pals App is sure to make cherished memories
















Bluebee Pals to Establish Bedtime Routines Part 2

Transitions are difficult for all of us. Kids especially become more tense and apprehensive when needing to shift gears. Why? Because transitions disrupt the status quo and are an unknown factor of what to expect and what to do. Many children become rigid with a need to have a say or control events surrounding every transition throughout the day. These behaviors can be exhausting for both a parent and child. Using Bluebee for teaching and establishing bedtime routines is a win-win situation as it takes you out of the mix and may help the child initiate the ability to shift along with Bluebee. There is no need for a screen because of Bluebee’s mixed capabilities and functions. In Part one we went over things to consider when designing a bedtime regime for your family. Now let’s take a look at Bluebee, and how he/she can be used with your child.



Here are six ideas for Bedtime routines:  

  1. Practice Bedtime routines with Bluebee. Tuck him in, read a story, and give him a kiss good-night. Through play, kids begin to learn and anticipate what is going to come next. Young children have a blurred line between reality and fantasy, so watching Bluebee’s reaction may help them begin to imitate what to do. Be sure and go over how to fall asleep as well as any exceptions to the rules, i.e., Let Bluebee know that he/she can have three books read before lights out, but if he/she feels unwell to please call Mommy.
  2. Using the phone feature may bring about realistic responses to tough situations – by having your partner call and talk to Bluebee, you can discuss any ongoing fear or anxieties a child may have. Having that common thread with Bluebee may help a child not feel so isolated or alone.
  3. Children need to feel safe, and who better than Bluebee can give that reassurance all night long? Deep pressure squeezes and hugs help to release important neurotransmitters that can reset or organize our systems. This, in turn, can help us return to sleep if awakened during the night.
  4. Try syncing a playlist of soothing songs or lullabies to Bluebee. There are many soundtracks for sleep sounds such as a babbling brook, rain or meditative sounds. Pairing Bluebee with an Amazon Echo Plus or Echo Dot is easy. Amazon has many apps for Alexa to aid in relaxing and preparing for sleep. Search Sleep Sounds under Amazon Skills for possible selections.
  5. Sleep Stories are stories (really guided imagery) to help kids or adults to fall asleep. The app “Calm” has sleep stories and music for both kids and adults. It uses highly suggestive words such as slow, relaxed and lowers the volume and pacing of the stories gradually to help fall asleep.
  6. Podcasts also are great to use with Bluebee. Some podcasts can read books where a child can follow along, and some tell stories. Both improve listening skills and increase vocabulary by expanding the context of how both familiar and unfamiliar words are used.



Storynory Podcast

Nosy Crow
Stories Aloud

Stories Podcast





















Bedtime Routine and Bluebee Pals to Establish Part 1

Are you having difficulty with getting your children to settle at bedtime? Are they restless or looking for “one more” reason to get out of bed after lights off? Using Bluebee as part of your child’s bedtime routine can set up invaluable habits for good sleep hygiene. What’s that? Sleep hygiene is a set of routines or habits that establish a smooth transition to sleep well. Kids that have consistent routines can recognize that it is bedtime. They then begin to anticipate what is coming next and relax. Kids that don’t have established routines often barter or attempt to control transitions in attempts to decrease the stress of what’s to come because they don’t know what to do.


We all know that a good night’s sleep prepares you both mentally and physically for the day. But how do you not only prepare your kids as well as yourself for a good night’s sleep? As stated above, establishing a consistent routine is essential. Consistent does not have to be the exact same thing, i.e. When my oldest was just a baby; I used to read him the book Ducky Quack Quack every night. I read it to the point where I just couldn’t read it anymore. I didn’t give a hoot if Ducky quacked or not! And so, on the night I rebelled, my son would not go to sleep. I asked my husband, “What’s wrong?” and his response? “No Ducky Quack Quack”. I realized then; I had painted myself into a corner by not just reading a book but by reading the same book every time interfered with teaching good sleep habits.


Here are some suggestions, including using Bluebee to help set everyone up for some quality shut-eye: https://www.bluebeepals.com/parents/

  1. Make sure everyone in the family participates in some form of movement every day. Whether it is playing on a playground, dancing to oldies, or walking the dog putting some exercise in the day will help everyone sleep better. Exercise not only does your body good but improves sleep too. Although the rationale is not fully understood, regular physical movement promotes quality sleep, length of rest, and may reduce the stresses that may make your sleep restless.
  2. Establish a consistent routine – about 2 hours before bedtime. Announce its time to start getting ready for bed.
  3. Exposure to natural light helps the body naturally sync to the time of day. Daylight and the onset of darkness set up one’s own circadian rhythm or sleep-wake cycle. Begin by reducing or limiting screen time at night to allow the body to adjust to the time of day naturally. Some devices can be set to help reduce exposure to blue lighting for specified hours.
  4. Avoid heavy foods or carbonated drinks. These just become unsettling in tummies before lying down. Eating late at night may also establish an unhealthy routine and weight gain that prolongs going to sleep.
  5. Taking a bath or reading a book, are peaceful, quiet time activities that promote relaxation. While a warm bath fosters sleepiness, listening to a story has many benefits for both better sleep and healthier brains.


We will discuss how to use Bluebee in part two for healthier sleep and to promote better synchronization between the body’s systems.



The Three Little Pigs by Nosy Crow’s Stories Aloud Series

Nosy Crow makes some of the best interactive storybooks and apps in the industry. Always innovative, smart, and fun to read stories for both parents and tots, they also offer audio recordings of their published books. Their Stories Aloud series can be obtained for iOS or Android as a podcast or by scanning a QR code found on the inside cover of the paperback edition of their books.
As I have a few hardback books from this publisher, it was a snap to search through the available podcasts to see if reading was in their catalog. On iOS, there are 90+ podcasts, dating back from 2014, and the list will grow from there. The books are professionally read using children’s voices and are accompanied by original music and sound effects.

Inside The Three Little Pigs

Let’s take a look at The Three Little Pigs and discover why the Stories Aloud series is so exceptional. As with all Nosy Crow books, the Artwork is infectious and bright, and kids respond well to the promise of adventure that illustrator, Ed Bryan brings to the story. Each page is rich in the tiniest of detail that will have the family roaring with laughter, and any repeat telling uncovers discoveries of visual puns and hijinks. The text stays true to the classic tale while still updating it for the 21st century. Both male and female piggies take the lead, and the ending has a twist that won’t leave anyone guessing what happened to the Big Bad Wolf


WATCH THE VIDEO: https://youtu.be/Ss5pNmB1dU4

Tools for Learning

Using Stories Aloud with Bluebee Pal presents developmental challenges and play for your child. Children love stories, and they love to hear their favorites read over and over. By downloading the podcast, kids will learn the synchronization of looking, listening and then following the directions to turn the page on cue. In addition to building vocabulary, attention, and memory, books also help kids with practical life skills of visually scanning for details in a left to right format, grading force by turning the pages gently, and learning about tasks having a definite beginning, middle and end. These are all essential skills for developing brains. Bluebee loves reading stories, and with practice, a child can listen to stories with distant supervision after setting it up. Visit Nosy Crow’s website for more information – https://nosycrow.com/stories-aloud/

Here’s how to pair Bluebee Pals with Stories Aloud:

  • Have the podcast ready by downloading it to your phone or tablet – this way you’ll have access to the book without the need for WIFI. Kids can listen while driving in the car, waiting at the doctor’s office, or snuggling on a blanket during a picnic.
  • Turn on your Bluebee Pal and Synch it to your device using the Bluetooth setting
  • Tap Play on your Podcast and listen to Bluebee Pal tell the story while you follow along in the book!





The Fabulous All New Bluebee Pal 4.0

The new Bluebee Pal has had a make-over from top to bottom with impressive features that make you want to stand-up and cheer! These features not only improve how the Bluebee Pal functions, but also thought has been given to how a child relates and benefits from engagement with educational material when presented via Bluebee. In addition, a new member of the crew has been added, Parker the Monkey, so that every child will have a special friend to share adventures. Let’s take a closer look at the all-new Bluebee Pal 4

Bluebee Pal Body

The showstopper to the new design is that Bluebee’s head now moves in sync with his mouth as he/she talks, giving her/him a more realistic look and feel. There are no worries to a child “breaking” their pal, as the creator (Laura Jiencke) made sure this feature could stand up to the often “gentle” touch of a youngster just learning how to grade their force. She took into account the fact that many children like to feel inside Bluebee’s mouth just to test his mettle.


The body has been completely redesigned with extra weight tucked into his/her bottom. The Pals feel more lifelike when held. The extra weight translates to increased input for a child to calm and alert when handling their Bluebee and readies them for what is to come – whether it is singing a song, listening to a story, or playing a game. It also enables Bluebee to sit without propping and hold a device or object if necessary. I see many babies and young toddlers in my practice, and it amazes me to see that kids pay more attention to the Pal because they can make eye contact as Bluebee talks.

Bluebee’s gaze is on their level naturally and he doesn’t fall this way or that making it easier to remain focused. (Eye contact is something that should not be forced but is developed through play and practice. Bluebee provides that practice and helps to set the stage for future learning through watching and then imitating others.

Battery life has been improved and Bluebee can now go longer without needing a boost. Placement of the battery charger has been improved for easier access and is not felt when giving Bluebee hugs and kisses.

Bluebee Pal Function

All the features that we have come to love in Bluebee are intact. Bluebee can be paired with any device using Bluetooth® Technology or used as a special friend and stuffie. Here are just a few of the things you can do with Bluebee:

  • Use Bluebee to teach the use of AAC devices
  • Educational games with Bluebee on a tablet or phone are a snap – Bluebee works best with apps that have a narrative so that Bluebee can talk
  • Get up and dance to music from a playlist
  • Record the voice of a loved one reading or telling a story to build listening skills
  • Teach the sequence of activities of daily living with Bluebee, i.e. potty training
  • Snuggle with your Pal in a quiet center to calm and reorganize from a busy day
  • Invite others to tea parties or other celebrations
  • Play dress up with Bluebee to practice social skills

In Summary

The new Bluebee Pal is now out with many new upgrades that increase enjoyment with play. Each feature was meticulously evaluated and tested by the maker (Laura Jiencke). The life-like head movement and extra cushioning make the pals more huggable and realistic. Bluebee will grow with your child and will help teach them many new skills. Whether you have an older version or are thinking about the new version, just enjoy your friend. They are perfect Pals and friends that will be treasured over a lifetime. So set your course for adventure, and let the fun times begin!https://www.bluebeepals.com


Disclosure: My endorsement in Bluebee Pals goes beyond compensation for writing articles and reviews. I believe in the use of Bluebee Pals to enhance not only play skills, but also the development of skills across domains. I have personally witnessed the joy and companionship that a Bluebee Pal offers kids and how play can be adapted for kids of all abilities. This review reflects my own personal opinion and is not influenced by others.


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