Fueled by a life long passion to help children and empowered with education and business experience, Carrie Scheiner, developed her dream of combining math lessons with exercise fun into an award winning DVD, Gymathtics.
"My passion is to help children learn math through fun interactive techniques. Synergizing, my math background and corporate expertise, I launched a new
business that encompasses all my passions and experience to help children exercise their minds and bodies", she states on her blog found at http://www.exploramania.blogspot.com.
Her company, Exploramania, operates under the philosophy that children learn best through multi-sensory exploration; the more senses engaged in the learning process the greater the retention of knowledge gained. Exploramania products, available at the company's on-line store, www.exploramania.com, encourages kids to move their bodies while engaging their minds. Exploramania sent me a copy of Gymathtics to use
in my homeschool in exchange for writing this review.
Scheiner shares on her website she never expected to create an exercise video for kids, but didn't let her lack of experience squelch her dream. After discovering the need for her product she relied on her neighbor, Joanne Baizan, fitness expert, to guide her in the process. Her determination to bring her ideas to reality resulted in a new business venture for her and her family. Scheiner narrates and leads all the exercise portions of Gymathtics and her two children appear on the screen along side her.
Gymathtics has won three 2009 awards from Dr. Toy including "10 Best Active Product", "Best Children's Product", "100 Best Products", and "Best Vacation Product". In addition, Gymathtics was named a "DVD of the year" by Creative Child Magazine and has received many other awards. Samples of the DVD are available for viewing on the website along with an amazing array of video taped celebrity endorsements. Gymathtics retails for $24.99 and can be purchased at Exploramania.com, Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, Glamma toys and Can Doo Products.
I love the idea of combining math and exercise and couldn't wait to run the DVD with my kids to get their reaction. I know as a busy homeschool Mom deliberate exercise for me often is very low on my priority list. I loved the idea of everyone benefiting from an exercise DVD designed to appeal to younger kids, aged 12 and under.
Gymathtics has a short 30 min. running time, but covers a lot of ground. Divided into four parts the DVD helps kids with stretching, aerobic exercise, and relaxation techniques. The entire DVD, as suggested by the title, combines math concepts with exercise. When we first viewed Gymathtics the intro music reminded me of a fast-paced spy movie theme song. The spirit of the song definitely motivated me to move and exercise. My kids, Micah age 12, Sierra, age 8 and Aidan age 5 were eager to start too.
The first section titled, "Shape Stretches Warm-Up" began by connecting stretches to the concepts of lines, circles and polygons. A graphic appeared beside the video demonstrating the exercise which displayed the math concept being taught through a voice over commentary. The graphic enabled us to visually learn while listening to the definition of the math concept. For example, straight lines, parallel lines, intersecting lines and perpendicular lines were drawn beside the video while the exercise participants showed us how to use our parallel arms to stretch head to toes in a straight line.
Scheiner consistently uses math vocabulary when leading her exercise routines. When reviewing the geometric terms of rays, acute and obtuse angles, Scheiner says, "Each of our arms are rays and two rays make an angle. We can make a big obtuse angle or a small acute angle." Within minutes of our exercise routine we had experienced wavy lines, semi-circles, congruent circles, similar circles, center, radius, diameter, ovals, and polygons including triangles, pentagons, quadrilaterals, rectangles, squares, rhombus and trapezoids through body movement and visual and auditory description. Add in the fact that most exercise videos should be used multiple times within a week and you have a no fail solution for math review. Very cool!
Scheiner spends a great deal of time encouraging the kids in the DVD including those working along at home. Although some might view her virtual high five towards the camera a bit corny, I thought it sweet and encouraging for young viewers. The entire last section of Gymathtics, "Well-Being Wind Down", is dedicated to relaxation and stretching mixed with positive phrases like, "Good health and well being are important for a fantastic life" or "Try to get a good night's sleep every night".
I was impressed with the quality of Gymathtics , but the real critics are always the kids. My test marketing team was unanimous in their approval and brought interesting points to our discussion of the merits of Gymathtics.
"It was a very fun way of learning different math concepts. It seemed to go by really quick. I wish they had a similar DVD for older kids too or spent a little more time with each math concept", said Micah age 12.
"It tells you what kinds of parts of your body are being used and why it is important to be healthy. Some of the exercise parts were hard and a little stressful, but I liked it. In the video my favorite exercising thing was the jumping jacks. I would recommend this DVD to my friends", commented Sierra age 8.
Having been a parent for over 20 years, I have watched endless hours of children's television programming, videos and DVD's. I think Gymathtics could easily become a favorite for kids especially those that love to be active. Although it definitely is not a stand alone curriculum, Gymathtics makes an excellent supplement for any young math student.
I love the idea of blending exercise and math concepts, especially for kids who tend to be a bit math phobic or who just need a change of pace in their school day. I have learned that any time my young children can engage their body with their mind the result is lasting retention and lots of enjoyment. I am definitely a fan of Gymathtics and according to my test marketing team they are too.