Kid Garden Phonics Review {closed}

Kid Garden Phonics is a program designed to use fine and large muscle movement along with phonics to teach children to read in a fun way. It also teaches the American Sign Language alphabet. It teaches according to the Montessori principle that movement is essential for a child’s growth, development, and ability to learn. The program can be altered to meet the needs of a particular child by the quantity of material presented, pacing, and amount of fun and movement incorporated.

HHM Kid Garden Phonics

Kid Garden Phonics Kit 1 is divided into 3 main parts. I received mine on DVD. I received an instructional DVD, the teacher’s manual on CD, and the ABC Pictures and chart CD. The instructional DVD is an example video that includes several lesson models, games, demonstrations of how to review letters, how to play some of the games, and the reverse phonics and journaling process. The manual should be viewed first. It is not long, is easy to read, and gives clear directions for using the program.

When I first began watching the Instructional DVD, I was a little “put off” by it. I hadn’t read the manual yet, so I didn’t know what to expect from it. (I would have liked to have had a cover letter explaining where to start and what to do first.) It was a little surprising because there was no introduction or explanation of what I was seeing. Suddenly there was a person there demonstrating the American Sign Language alphabet and making motions to go with the letters, and I wasn’t sure exactly what was going on. Once I caught on, however, I loved the idea behind the demonstration! I agree with the author that knowing an action for each letter allows the child to better “cement” the letter sounds in his brain.

The video gives almost an hour of demonstrations of teaching letter sounds with motions, reviewing previously learned letters, and games. There are demonstrations of children who immediately caught on and understood what was being taught and demonstrations of children who didn’t immediately understand and who needed more help and encouragement to learn. I found the author’s manner to be gentle and encouraging and thought it was an excellent example for parents and teachers!

The journaling and writing process appeared to be an excellent learning tool for kids who love to draw and color. My child, a 5-year-old boy, does not enjoy drawing or coloring, so this part of the program was not a good fit for us. I found, though, that the program still worked very well for us in spite of leaving out this particular part. And I do believe that those activities would be great for children who enjoy those activities.

The ABC chart and pictures CD was helpful in that it provided examples which can simply be printed out so that the parent/teacher doesn’t have to find so many examples for each letter . The ASL chart, though, was poor in quality, and I was disappointed by that. It was still usable but just not as pleasant to look at as a clearer, higher-quality chart would have been.

Because I have a young child with Down Syndrome, I spent some time considering how this program might fit with a special needs child. I think children who have learning difficulties and who would thrive on immediate success would probably love this program and find it fun and encouraging!

I do think the program could be improved by including a cover letter explaining where to start, shortening the instructional video and making it a little more professional looking, and including a clearer ASL chart. My overall impression of the program, though, was very positive. I believe that beginning homeschool parents would find the simplicity of the program to be comforting and that it would be fun and easy for them to use. I did not feel overwhelmed by it like I have felt when looking at other programs to consider. I like the ability to incorporate handwriting, especially for children who enjoy writing and coloring. And I think many young students would be encouraged by having their own little book to show to grandparents and friends demonstrating their learning at the end (or even during the process) of the program. In short, I think this is a very good program that will be enjoyed by many parents/teachers and children!


Melissa Overland is a full-time wife and homeschooling mom. (She also happens to be the identical twin sister of Wendy Hilton who is co-owner of the Hip Homeschool Moms. 🙂 ) She loves all things nerdy and creative and is quite unable to keep a clean house. She finds solace, however, in training her children to put God first, to be not only educated but also happy and content, and in aiming to learn to be better at the housekeeping thing as a family! She lives in the South with one husband, four children, one cat, three pigs, and a bunch of chickens, all of whom must be tough enough to survive life with no grains or gluten, very little sugar, and lots and lots of sloppy kisses. Well, except for the pigs.


Photo Credit: By foto76, published on 06 March 2013 Stock Photo – image ID: 100144587


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