Toddle About Blog

The Curious Dragons: The first interactive learning system of games to help kids master maths

The Curious Dragons complements a mastery approach to teaching mathematics.

The Curious Dragons complements a mastery approach to teaching mathematics.

By Lisa Minshull, teacher and founder of The Curious Dragons.

The Curious Dragons provides a fun set of learning games for children aged 3-5 to nurture and develop their numerical and reasoning abilities. For the first time, parents have an interactive learning system at their fingertips. The Curious Dragons not only helps children learn maths but also instill a love of maths which will last a lifetime.

Developed by a highly experienced advanced maths teacher, The Curious Dragons concept uses the ‘touch, visual and symbol’ approach employed with great success in Singapore, known as Singapore Maths. Singapore is routinely ranked at or near the top in global comparisons of mathematical ability and boasts one of the most admired education systems in the world! Continue reading

360 Play offers festive fun for everyone at annual Christmas Party

360 Play Christmas PartyFun-packed event will add even more sparkle to seasonal activities.

Milton Keynes’ favourite family entertainment centre, 360 Play in Knowlhill, will once again have some extra festive fun on offer to visitors this year with its annual Christmas Party event on Saturday, December 16th.

360 Play is something of an expert in throwing a great party and its special Christmas event is no exception. With all the usual creative and imaginative play opportunities available too, this year’s party will include a 360 Play disco, where youngsters can dance the night away with mascots Twizzle and Twirl, games, a hot food buffet and a small sweet treat for every child, with everything included in an all-inclusive ticket.

Play pass holders will benefit from discounted rates for the event too and children under one year old will have free entry. Continue reading

‘What if they need help?” Supporting your child with the transition to a new setting

Using a range of simple strategies will help starting a new nursery or pre-school as stress free a time as possible.

Using a range of simple strategies will help starting a new nursery or pre-school as stress free a time as possible.

Written by Mandy Grist, a Speech and Language Advisor at I CAN, Children’s communication charity.

When our little ones start at nursery or pre-school it’s a time of mixed emotions. We often feel excitement at this new phase of their journey, but this is often also accompanied by anxiety that they’re out there on their own, reliant on their own communication skills to get them through the day.

Many of us will find ourselves asking questions … ‘will they make friends?’, ‘will people be able to understand what they’re saying?’, ‘will they be able to ask for things like a snack or going to the toilet?’ and ‘how will they be able to tell me what they’ve done all day?’. This is even more the case for parents of children who struggle with their communication skills.

There is however a range of strategies that can be helpful in preparing both parents and children with transitions and can help ensure that any child, including those who struggle with their communication, can make the transition successfully. You might like to: Continue reading

Brits’ dental health in jeopardy as 1 in 20 admit they NEVER visit the dentist

Children's Dental HealthAnnual Oral Health Survey shows up to three million could be putting their dental health in danger as fear of the dentist and money worries lead to dental avoidance.

  • Almost one in 20 (4%) parents of children aged 18 or under say their child never brushes their teeth and 7% admit they never take their child to the dentist. [1]
  • Shockingly, 43% of parents of children with a filling said their child had their first one aged seven younger.
  • This corresponds with a report by the Royal College of Surgeons which showed record numbers of under-fives having rotten teeth removed
  • Extractions among pre-school children have soared by 24 per cent in just ten years[2]
  • Shockingly, even babies are affected — last year alone, 47 children under the age of one had newly grown milk teeth taken out.

Britain could be reclaiming its reputation as the nation of bad teeth as a new survey from dental payment plan specialists Denplan by Simplyhealth Professionals reveals over one in 20 admit to never visiting the dentist[3]. Even more shockingly, 1% even admit they NEVER brush their teeth, which could represent over 500,000* of us!

For those who avoided the dental chair and visit the dentist less often than once every 2 years, 39% said they were too scared of the dentist or pain, and the same number claimed they couldn’t afford check-ups.

In a worrying socio-economic trend, over half of UK adults (52%) said they’d cancel a routine dental appointment if they had financial worries, despite check-ups costing as little as £20. Young people aged 18-24 were the age group most likely to cancel. Continue reading

New CQC research reveals lack of awareness over right to choose where to give birth

CQC #YourBirthPlanNew research commissioned by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found that more women must be made aware of their right to choose their birth hospital.
The research, which surveyed over 1,000 women who had given birth in England in the last three years, found that 40% either weren’t aware or didn’t feel they had a choice about their birth hospital.
Of those who choose their hospital 53% stated  this was a ‘very important’ decision, however 57% spent less than an hour choosing theirs, suggesting a lack of awareness about the amount of information that is available to help make an informed choice.
The CQC is encouraging all expectant parents to understand their right to choose where to give birth and to use CQC inspection reports in order to help make an informed, considered decision.

Continue reading

How to exercise through each of your trimesters

Always listen to your body first and foremost when exercising

Always listen to your body first and foremost when exercising

By Andrea Rennie at Powerhouse Fitness, a specialist retailer in gym and fitness supplies. In this article, she shares their top tips for exercising through each of your trimesters during pregnancy. Read on to find out more.*

If you’re an expecting mother, you may be under the impression that your pregnancy is a time when you should be taking things easy. However, while that’s true to a certain extent, you can still achieve a healthy level of exercise that can be very beneficial, and make life easier down the line.

The NHS recommends that you keep fit during pregnancy, as it helps you adapt to your changing body shape and weight gain, can make labour easier, and give you a healthy head start to getting back into shape. With these benefits in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of my top tips for exercising through each of your trimesters. Continue reading

How to Look After Young Children’s Skin in Winter

Wrap up well, moisturise a lot, avoid any winter sunburn and seek help if you are worried.

Wrap up well, moisturise a lot, avoid any winter sunburn and seek help if you are worried.

If you have kids, it can sometimes be tempting to keep them indoors during the cold, dark winter months. It feels like such an effort to get them out and about considering the multiple layers of clothing your little ones need to be coaxed into and the real motivating push you have to give older kids who might not want to brave the cold. It’s important to get some fresh air regularly even in winter, however, and the trick to doing so is to make sure you are fully prepared to fend off the natural elements.

One important part of this is protecting your children’s skin. The harsh, cold and blustery winds can be a real exacerbating factor when it comes to dry or chapped skin. Never fear, however! There’s always something you can do to protect their skin and make sure they can still enjoy the outside world, whatever the weather. Here are our top tips for looking after young children’s skin in winter.

  1. Wrap Up Well

Firstly, it’s important to make sure not too much of a baby or toddler’s skin is exposed to the cold. Not only will this keep them nice and toasty while outside, but it will also protect their skin. Wrap them up in lots of layers so you can take off one thing at a time, matching their clothing to whatever the temperature happens to be. Make sure you buy breathable fabrics so that skin doesn’t get clammy and when washing newborn baby clothes or those for older children, always use a skin sensitive detergent to prevent any reactions. For more useful information on washing newborn baby clothes, have a look at these tips. Continue reading

Review: Disney on Ice 2017 – Passport to Adventure

At disney on ice 2017

A family day out at Disney on Ice 2017 in Birmingham

Our trip to Disney on Ice last weekend was our 3rd annual visit and it was our favourite yet.

On the face of it, I always thought that the concept of ‘Disney on Ice’ was, well, a bit strange. I couldn’t really see why watching Disney characters skate around an ice rink would be particularly entertaining…

And if I told you that the ‘actors’ don’t actually speak – they mime (perfectly) along to a pre-recorded soundtrack – you might be tempted to give it a miss.

But I’m here to tell you that you’d be missing out on a real treat. Continue reading

Music & Lyrics

Salt Box MusicHow music and singing is intrinsically linked to language development

By Michelle Keating, founder of Salt Box Music Company.

We don’t really need an expert to tell us that babies respond to music. Whether it’s the soothing effect of a lullaby sung to our soon to be sleeping child or the fun of a rhythmic rocking nursery rhyme as we enjoy to row, row, row, our boats together. Our babies clearly love to hear our voices for both comfort and security, and the shared natural experience of creating eye contact when singing creates a reciprocal communication.

Building on such communication is essential for learning and many child development experts believe that music is a key vehicle to early language development. Sally Goddard Blythe, a consultant in neuro-developmental education and director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology believes Continue reading

Hide and Seek as Therapy

Hiding BoyBy Jeff Thomas – Registrar, Play Therapy UK

Children of all ages love to play hide-and-seek and it can play a very powerful role in their emotional development.

When parents play Peekaboo, this facilitates attunement and attachment – showing her baby, with a loving gaze, that she understands and meets their needs. When the mother disappears in the game, the infant may experience both anxiety and the pleasurable anticipation of reunion with her. This, in turn, increases the infant’s capacity to tolerate separation.

Interestingly, when children are referred for therapy, they often initiate hide-and-seek games over and over again.

As Hide-and-seek games consist of separating and reuniting, it is likely that the child’s attachment schema is triggered. The repetition of this game allows the opportunity for the connection and comfort of face-to-face relationships that they may have missed out on. For children who have experienced attachment difficulties, trauma, anxiety and loss, hide-and-seek games are extremely important. The children initiate this game so they will be found and thereby begin to heal wounds of feeling ‘left’, ‘abandoned’, ‘bad’ or ‘unimportant’. Continue reading