Featured Posts

Educational Play with Schleich I'm a big fan of learning through play. Unforced educational play. I'm not a teacher and I don't want to be. I want my children to naturally learn whilst they are having fun. When I was contacted recently...

Read more

Say Eh-Oh to the new Teletubbies toys! There back!! Teletubbies made a joyous return to CBeebies last year, and this year marks the launch of the new range of toys. As you know I was sent a box just before Christmas, and today I can finally...

Read more

Travel: Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, Scarborough Last weekend Nana and I took a rather lengthy journey north for a night away at the Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in Scarborough, with Little Dude in tow. The Ox Pasture Hall Hotel is a luxurious country hotel...

Read more

A Place To Enjoy My Garden I love my garden. I love the fact that I have a garden, especially with the recent gorgeous weather we've been having. Whilst I have a pretty compact garden, there's a lot going on out there. Plants, fruit...

Read more

Cuddles With Ben Cohen Some days I have a really difficult job. Days like this for example. *Ahem* That rather nice young man is former rugby player Ben Cohen. Ben is a bit of an expert when it comes to cuddles. He has...

Read more

#PlayPatrol : Number Fun

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Bigjigs Play Patrol | Posted on 18-06-2015

Tags: , , , ,

0

For our final Play Patrol mission with Bigjigs we were asked to choose something to test out and review. In light of Little Man starting school this coming September I decided to browse the more educational offerings as opposed to adding more toys to our playroom. He’s very good with letters and recognising them, and we have a wide array of books and posters and stickers throughout the house with them on, including the alphabet going down the stairs. What I wanted to do was improve his number recognition, look at his counting and basic math, and help his knowledge of time. He is really keen to learn to tell the time because so much of his day is structured by what time it is, for example he is only allowed to play Minecraft from 4pm – otherwise he’d be on it ALL day. With this in mind I selected a lovely bundle of number related items from the vast Bigjigs catalogue.

The most logical place to start was the popular Learn To Count set. The board comprises of the numbers zero through to nine, and they are represented by the corresponding number of dots. You also get ten tiles with the number written on, and colour coordinating rings of each appropriate number. Your child matches the tiles to the dots, and then pops the rings on the relevant stick. It teaches counting as well as matching up information, whether it be numbers or colours. I love this, and its one of those Bigjigs items I’ve had my eye on for a while now. Little Man is enjoying matching the tiles to the dots, and both he and Little Dude like to play with the rings, though to be fair Little Dude  mostly likes to try and eat them.

PlayPatrol-Counting-SussexMummy

To continue the counting and matching them we also got the Traditional Wooden Dominos. Dominos is one of those classic games and I’m surprised we don’t own a set already. There are many ways to play the game, but for now we are putting the double six domino down and leaving all the others faced down on the floor. We then take it in turns to pick a domino and see if we can place it. This is a great way to teach taking turns, and with each domino we pick up we are counting the dots and seeing they match. Each number of dots is the same colour – if there are six dots they are all red, five dots are all blue, etc – so again we can match up colours as well as numbers.

PlayPatrol-Dominos-SussexMummy

Looking ahead to him beginning school and starting on expanding on his math skills we also got the Add & Subtract box and the Times Table Box. Both boxes contain square wooden tiles which are, as you’d expect, brightly coloured. On one side is a sum, and on the reverse is the answer. This is a great tool for learning, though its a shame the boxes don’t contain sums with higher numbers than 9. I think the inclusion of up to the 12 times table would have been beneficial as that is typical what is taught in schools. One of my favourite things about these two math boxes, as well as the dominos set, is that they come in sturdy compact storage boxes so everything can be easily packed up and put away for another day.

PlayPatrol-AddSubstract-SussexMummy

PlayPatrol-TimesTables-SussexMummy

The concept of time and telling the time was aided by the Clock In A Box. Little Man spends most of his day asking me “What is the time…?” “Is it nearly four o’clock…?” which can get a little wearing. He recognises what four o’clock looks like on our large wall clock but what I loved about the Clock In A Box was that it taught children to read the time in both digital and traditional forms. You set the time with either the moving fingers or using the tiles in the tray, and your  child matches the other clock. What is seriously lacking however is the 24 hour clock times. The digital numbers only take you to 12:00. Surely all digital clocks then go to 13:00, 14:00 and so on? Not this one unfortunately. A disappointment for me.

PlayPatrol-TellingTime-SussexMummy

To ensure Little Dude wasn’t feeling left out of this #PlayPatrol mission we also got him something to begin his number journey. My First Matching Numbers puzzle is a cute simple matching jigsaw puzzle. The base board features bright animal pictures. One snail, two – oddly fat – butterflies, three ladybirds and four bees. You get four numbered tiles and your little one has to match them up. Each bold number features similar patterning to each animal to help you on your way. This is a super cute little puzzle that keeps Little Dude entertained and most importantly occupied whilst Little Man and I tackle the maths sets he received.

PlayPatrol-MatchingNumbers-SussexMummy

Numbers are a massive part of life and I want both my boys to be confident in their ability to recognise numbers, to count and to do maths throughout their lives. These six wooden sets from Bigjigs are certainly going to help introduce them and support them in their early years of learning.

It has been an absolute PLEASURE working with Bigjigs toys during this year of Play Patrol, and in the previous year too. They are without doubt my favourite wooden toy company and one I will continue to support for years to come. Rumour has is that new Play Patrol operatives will be being sought this summer so do make sure you are following them on all their social media channels to be in with a chance of working with this wonderful company. Thank you Bigjigs – you’re the best.

Review: Ravensburger Flashcards

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 11-09-2014

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

0

Readers of my blog will perhaps be aware that Little Man has some speech issues. I think it is technically described as “Speech Delay”. He has full understanding of what people are saying to him and he wants to respond or reply, but he doesn’t always know how. He uses a mix of speech and sign language and more often than not he gets his point across. This has improved vastly since he began preschool last September and everyone who knows him has commented on a great improvement again since the arrival of Little Dude. There are lots of people out there that are helping him and guiding us, but basically talking to him is going to get his vocabulary and speech improving. As a reviewer I like to keep my eyes open for product offers that I think will help us in our quest to get Little Man speaking, and so I was very keen to review the new flashcards from Ravensburger. I’m aware that there is mixed opinions about flashcards as a learning tool, especially with children this young. I think they’re great, and Little Man reacts well to them so I was sure they could only help. We were sent two sets to review: My First Flashcards and My First Number Flashcards.

My First Flashcards is a set of 34 double sided cards. On one side is a child friendly picture of an object with the word written below, and on the other side is just the word. This means you can show your child the pictured side and you’ll be able to tell what they are looking at. It also means you could put the cards picture side down and ask your child to pick out a certain card by reading the word, but at almost four we’re not quite at that point yet. We’ve been using the cards in groups, taking out eight at a time and going through them. I ask Little Man to identify the picture if he can, and if not I say the word for him. We try to talk about the picture as well, for example with the picture of the apple I might say “Oh you like apples don’t you? You had one for your snack this morning. I like apples as well.” With some of the shorter words, and especially with words that he can say we also sound out the words and highlight each letter. This works best we’ve found with the three or four letter words like “Cat” or “Fish”. We also make a bit of fuss over words that start with the first letter of his name as that’s one of the letters he instantly recognises.

My First Number Flashcards is a set of 35 double sided cards, set up in quite the same way as the other set, but contains smaller sets within it. First of all there are cards with numbers and pictures on one side counting up to 20 from 0. On the reverse is the word, again going from zero to twenty. Next up there are five symbol cards, with the symbol on one side and its name on the reverse. This set incorporates plus, minus, times, divides and equals. There are then the mathematical terms more and less. The remaining cards feature a number of dots ranging from 1 up to 20 set out in a variety of patterns for your little one to count. All numbers aren’t there but there is a decent range. We’ve only used the picture cards so far, encouraging Little Man to count past ten and up to twenty. He’s really good at counting from 1 to 10 and with these cards he now can go a little further with some help when saying each number.

We’ve had a lot of fun with these cards, and I think they’ve helped Little Man greatly. He’s learnt a selection of brand new words and numbers and has greater recognition of words and numbers he already knows. I am a big fan of these cards as they are a great handy size and are all so bright and colourful – perfect for appealing to young children. The style of the pictures is really fun and the words and numbers are all written clearly. A great tool for expanding vocabulary as well as encouraging reading, spelling and basic maths later on. Definitely something we’ll be coming back to again and again.