13 Jun 2018

5 Tips to Help Your Kids Fall in Love with Maths

It’s not uncommon for children to dislike maths. However, as a parent, you can help change this. If your child finds the subject boring or difficult, there are things you can do to make learning fun and easy.  Here are some tips that will help you spark a love of maths in your child, making it a fun subject that they look forward to learning.

1. Commend Them for Effort
It’s important to always acknowledge your child for their effort, even if their calculations aren’t correct. Offering recognition will encourage your child to continue trying, whereas if you ignore their attempts to work out the correct answer, they’ll find it disheartening.

Teach your child that a wrong answer is better than no answer at all and you’ll motivate them to learn. By commending them for effort you’ll boost their confidence in maths and inspire them to keep trying.

2. Gamify Maths
Of course your child isn’t going to want to learn maths if they have no interest in it. Inject fun into learning and make a world of difference to how your child perceives the subject.

So, how can you gamify maths? Swap a textbook for an interactive maths game and your child won’t even realise they’re learning; they’ll be having too much fun!

Game-based learning provides an educational experience that’s also engaging and exciting, so your child will look forward to sitting down and practising maths – instead of completely dreading it.

3. Simplify it
If your child is struggling with a task, simplify it. Break it down for them as much as you can or, alternatively, set them an easier task. Spend time ensuring they understand the fundamentals, moving on to the next stage only after they are comfortable and confident with a given task.

By simplifying tasks for your child, you will not only help your child to understand maths but enjoy learning the subject too.

4. Make Maths Relatable to Their Hobbies
When using scenarios to teach your child maths, make sure you incorporate their hobbies to pique their interest. By including activities such as football or dance into mathematical situations, you’ll instantly engage them and, in turn, make maths more exciting and enjoyable.

You’ll also demonstrate the everyday value of maths, so your child will understand the importance of developing their mathematical skills and, as a result, be more inspired to learn.

5. Use Interactive Tools
It’s almost second nature for your child to use a smartphone or tablet, so it is a good idea to introduce interactive tools to enhance their learning experience.
Use tools that include interactive maths games for kids to help make maths fun for kids.

Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with Maths-Whizz, an online maths tuition service for 5-13 year olds, which promises to help children reach their full potential in maths. Start your free trial today or get in touch on +44 (0) 203 328 6564 to book a consultation.

12 Jun 2018

Stikbot Pirate Movie Set Review

StikBots are plastic figures with flexible body parts and suction cups for hands and feet that can be positioned in different ways. Download the free mobile app, Zing StikBot Studio, and you can create your own stop-motion StikBot movie.

We first came across  StikBots at the Digital Kids Show last year, when J had a go making an animation film. We have now been given the opportunity to review the new StikBot Pirate Movie Set.

The StikBot Pirate Movie Set came in a flat-pack box. We opened it to find 6 neatly folded foam boards. One of these opened up to form a double-sided backdrop – a beach scene on one side and a cliff picture on the other. The other 4 foam boards included numbered parts to build the pirate ship and accessories. Also included was an instruction sheet with step-by-step diagrams. It was easy enough to pop out the foam board parts and piece them together to create a pirate ship, two row boats with oars, a pair of cannons and some sharks and palm trees. The highlight was the treasure chest with a lid that flips open and can be filled with coins and jewels.

9 Jun 2018

Bunchems Unicorns Theme Pack Review

In case you haven’t heard of them before, Bunchems are sticky orbs of plastic with tiny hook-like projections that you can squish together into fun shapes. We have reviewed Bunchems Bunchbot in the past, and were happy to expand our Bunchems repertoire with the new Unicorn theme pack.

Bunchems Unicorns Theme Pack Review

This Unicorns pack comes with 5 variously coloured Bunchems, some of which glow in the dark. The pack includes 200 Bunchems, a selection of accessories (2 pairs of eyes, a pair of wings, a pink base, a wand, a crown and a horn) and an instruction sheet with ideas to create some fairies and unicorns.

31 May 2018

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Jigsaw Puzzle Review

Ravensburger have come out with a brand new dinosaur jigsaw to mark the release of the new Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom movie. It features a ferocious t-rex, triceratops and velociraptor and other fearsome dinosaurs as the puzzle picture.

Ravensburger are known for their quality products (we have reviewed the 100 piece Despicable Me 3 puzzle previously), and this jigsaw is no exception. The pieces are a great size, sturdy and made from what looks like fairly durable cardboard. The printed picture has a linen finish that minimises glare on the image and offers enhanced picture clarity. This jigsaw is made up of 100 pieces that link seamlessly, and measures 49 x 36 cms when complete.

I attempted making this jigsaw solo. Putting it together wasn’t as easy as I had anticipated. 

The border was easy enough to put together because the image is essentially a framed picture of dinosaurs. So it was a matter of piecing together the frame to finish off the border. The stud feature along the edge was an added help. The top two lines fell into place with ease, thanks to streaks of orange and red flames that guided me. It was the greens and browns in the middle that were tricky to decipher. I had to step away for a bit and come back to it. A break, a relaxed mindset and a refreshed outlook was all that was needed to piece together the remainder of this Jurassic jigsaw.

The completed picture is striking. The colours are vibrant and the attention to detail is amazing. Given my experience, I am not entirely convinced by the 6+ guidance on this puzzle. 6 year olds will need assistance from a grown-up to finish solving this jigsaw. Unless I am mistaken and am grossly underestimating the capabilities of six year olds! 

Anyway, if you like jigsaws and dinosaurs and are looking for a challenge, this Fallen Kingdom puzzle is just the thing. 

Disclosure: I was sent this puzzle for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Moving Forward with Rambling Through Parenthood

I have been away from the blog and all social media for nearly a month now and I have to say, it has done me a world of good.

The pressure of page views, followers and numbers had reached a point where it was oppressive, almost suffocating. The added burden of GDPR compliance fed into my growing resolve to do away with my blog completely. I deleted several drafts and binned my small collection of poems in what was an attempt to give it all up. But I could not bring myself to delete Rambling Through Parenthood.

Call it providence, call it good fortune, I am glad I didn’t do it. Nearly 5 years of sweat and toil would have disappeared in an instant, causing more heartache than the loss of a few verses.

Moving Forward with Rambling Through Parenthood

I have, however, come to an important decision about moving forward with Rambling Through Parenthood. The name stays, for as a mother to my son, that is what I do. There are old parenting battles and new parenthood dilemmas to tackle every day.

What is set to change is the time I spend on the blog and social media. Numbers are no longer a priority. For what is the point of a mega-successful parenting blog if I fail to be an accomplished parent! I can no longer justify time spent in front of a screen when there are other, more pressing matters demanding my attention. Like going out on a challenging bicycle ride or spending a delightful day with my son. I will be doing all the things that I love to do without the pressure of documenting every single detail on the blog.

I am, in my heart, a very private person. I cannot bring myself to share intimate moments of my life with the universe. Never have, never will. Which sort of defeats the purpose of a blog.

So why continue? Because I love to write.  Just write.

I have never been one to bow to convention and I am not about to start now. I will write. As I have always wanted to. Not confirming to social media algorithms, SEO tactics or analytics. But for the joy of it. What will the future bring? I shall wait and see.

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