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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Review: Ravensburger Flashcards

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

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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.

Review: BB Bear from BabogBaby

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Product Reviews | Posted on 14-03-2013

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As many of you know I went to Toy Fair in January. If you’ve read any of my articles on it, either on Yahoo or in Toy News you’ll know that I wasn’t overly impressed with what was on show. Apart from a few select highlights – BigJigs and Floppets – I wasn’t overwhelmed by much that I saw. I was relaxing/hiding in the Press Office when I got a tweet from one of the stands asking me if I wanted to test out one of his bears with my Little Man. Little Man is a huge bear fan and his favourite toy is his beloved “Teddy!!” so I was confident a bear would be a hit. I made my way to the stand to find that BB Bear was a little different from any bear I’d seen before.

BB (or “Ba Ba” as he is to Little Man) is the brainchild of Adrian Devane from BabogBaby. Teaching your little one to speak can be very difficult. Little Man has been doing baby sign language classes since he was seven months old and is now, at almost 2 and a half, a prolific signer. He is not however a big speaker. We get “More” (his first sign), and “Dadda” and “Mumma”. We get “Ba” a lot which refers to many things, you just have to get the right context – bird, breakfast, biscuit, Buzz, it’s pretty endless. He says “De” which to him is “Dip” when he’s having soup and dipping his bread in. We get a lot of sounds which are almost words, but we’re a bit short of actual words. Now I’m not worried about this, and I know he’s going to start speaking one day and he will never shut up when he does, but I’m happy to help him along without pressuring him. That’s where BB comes in.

BB is a talking bear. He has buttons on his ears, paws, feet and body which you press and they say a word. The buttons are very easy to press and Little Man can do it himself. Often buttons on soft toys are hard to push and he gets bored, but with this he loves pressing them each in turn. There are three modes on BB, changeable by three smaller buttons on his chest. which are ‘Numbers’, ‘Colours’ and ‘Shapes’. You choose a mode and then press one of the 10 main buttons and BB says a word. For example a number between 0 and 9, or the name of a shape, or of a colour. The voice is childlike and very clear so its easy for your little one to pick up what’s being said. Now we left the Toy Fair with the English speaking BB, but he is also available in Welsh, Irish and Scots Gaelic, to he’s ideal if you live in Wales, Ireland or Scotland or if you have relatives or friends that do. BB is suitable from 6 months old.

Now I wasn’t expecting a sudden flurry of words coming out of Little Man’s mouth once we gave him BB, but he does show an interest in him and he likes to press the buttons and more importantly give him big cuddles. I can see BB being very useful when Little Man learns to count and to teach him what shapes and colours are even without speaking them. Fingers crossed the talking will begin relentlessly soon. I’m sure BB is going to be very helpful whilst we await that elusive vocabulary to kick in, at which point I’m sure I’ll spend my time asking Little Man to be quiet!!

You can find out all about BB in his many versions at the BabogBaby website.