Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Bigjigs Play Patrol | Posted on 18-06-2015
Tags: Learning Through Play, maths, numbers, play patrol, wooden toys
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.