29 Aug 2018

EasyRead Time Teacher 24-Hour Wall Clock

Time is a concept alien to most children! At 7 years old, my son is no different. He does not understand the importance of being on time or what it means to be wasting time. For him, as with most children his age, time is endless. It has no beginning and no end.

It sadly falls to me as his parent to teach him that time is not limitless. There are 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes to the hour and 60 seconds in every minute. A visual reminder is always good to reinforce a new concept. Something like the EasyRead Time Teacher 24-Hour Wall Clock, with its striking bright red and blue colours, is likely to get J interested in telling the time and keeping track of it.

8 Aug 2018

What The Ladybird Heard Live at The Lowry

We’ve loved reading Julia Donaldson since J was a little baby. And we have enjoyed watching stage adaptations of her fabulous books.

What The Ladybird Heard Live is no exception. Based on the best-selling picture book by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks, we enjoyed watching the stage production by Kenny Wax Family Entertainment in association with Matthew Gregory.

25 Jul 2018

Refract at The Waterside Arts Centre

Refract is back at the Waterside Arts Centre for a second year after a sensational debut last year. How can I forget the mesmerising, gravity-defining antics of one man on a trampoline that was Anyday!

Refract is all about looking at things differently. We chose to watch Small Worlds - a compilation of 5 interwoven stories played out as miniature theatre under a canvas dome. We were an audience of not more than 20 children and adults, seated just a couple of feet away from the miniature stage,  in what was a very intimate setting.

The two puppeteers/animators moved props, adjusted stage lighting, created sound effects and made sure the animated film synced seamlessly with the wooden puppets in the foreground. A butterfly and a red balloon were the thread that linked the stories of a bug, a goose, a fox, a cat and a little girl.

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.

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