Toddle About Blog

Play at Home

mum and daughter playing

Mum and daughter playing

 

Guest post by Katie Emms of @my_little_fidget

After 15 years of working in Early Years and gaining my qualifications to become an Early Years Professional, I left my full time role as a Pre-School Manager to have my son, who is now two years old. From my time in Early Years, I knew it was important to work with parents and I always felt strongly that parents are their child’s very first educators.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PLAY AT HOME

While I was on maternity I began to understand the importance of play within the home environment and how it sets the foundations for later learning. Amazingly, by giving your child the opportunity to play at home, you’re also giving them the best start in life. As parents, we are our child’s first educators and their learning starts from birth. From the moment you begin to smile at your baby, talk to them during the day, go on a walk, sing songs, have cuddles and meet their physical and emotional needs, you are teaching your child.

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Review: Dinosaur Maxi Hama Beads Set, worth £10.00

Dinosaur Maxi Hama Beads SetReview written by Lorraine at Toddle About HQ.

With having an almost 18 year old daughter who was a big lover of Hama Beads when she was younger, I was looking forward to the stage where my son was old enough to enjoy them, which is why I was very excited to hear about the new Maxi Hama Beads range that have been designed specifically for Toddlers. The lovely Nicola, who runs Hamabeads.com was kind enough to send us a sample of one of the Maxi Beads Sets for us to take a look at and so I took it home for my little boy to have a try and he absolutely loved it, especially as he could make his own Dinosuar.

The Maxi Beads worked out perfectly for him with them being larger than the standard Mini Hama Beads meaning that he was able to pick them up, hold and position them easily and on his own and another great thing about it, was because the set came with a template of the dinosaur to put underneath the peg board he was able to follow this knowing where to put which colour, however, as soon as his big sister walked into the room and saw what he was doing she wanted to get in on the action as well which was lovely to see them both enjoying something together, which brings me to say, you are never to old for Hama Beads :) Continue reading

Review: Hape Flexistix Eiffel Tower, worth £15.00

Hape Flexistix Eiffel TowerReview written by Toddle About VIP Club member, Michelle Rose.

My son aged five and I really enjoyed playing with and building the Hape Flexistix Eiffel Tower. It was nice to be able to have some one to one time together making it. I love the fact that it is made from bamboo and is sustainable so does not add more plastic to our house and the colours are lovely and bright.

The pieces are very sturdy, easy to use and hold. The instructions were a little difficult to use on some of the parts when fitting the pieces together with the right gaps but we loved the measuring guide and loved matching the sizes up to the images this was a really big help and clever idea. Continue reading

Splish Splosh! How Child’s Play Leads To Stronger Brains

Splish SploshWritten by Claire Stead, owner and creator of Oliiki.

Water and children, always a great combination! But is it just fun or is there more to a child having fun and splashing about?

From bath time to playing in the garden, paddling in a stream to swimming in it, children are fascinated by water and they love to play in it.

Water can be an amazing teacher – without your child even realising it, they could be carrying out a science experiment, working on numbers, developing an understanding of capacity, sorting, sharing out, developing language, gross and fine motor control skills, developing their senses all at an early age! So, what sort of games can you play with a bit of water and your little one?

A newborn: Using warm water and a sponge, trickle water on different parts of their body and look for their reaction. Talk about it, this is ‘serve and return’, a brilliant way to start getting them learning. Continue reading

Reach For The Sky….. And The Trees, The Soil And Vegetable Patches

Reach For The SkyWritten by Northampton High School.

The digital revolution is very much here. The impact of advancing technology is improving our day to day living and we can see it everywhere we go. But at what cost?

The term ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ – coined by American author, Richard Louv, in 2005 – has now been widely taken up to describe the detrimental effects, on physical and mental health, of children’s disengagement from nature.  The stats paint a stark and concerning picture – with a third of under-16s being overweight or obese and an ‘epidemic of mental illness’ afflicting the young (leading to around 35,000 children in England being prescribed anti-depressants).  In response, many organisations, such as the National Trust, have taken up the cause of re-engaging children with the Great Outdoors.

Schools and Nurseries are, of course, crucial to the success this endeavour. Forest School is a brilliant starting point.  Much more than an outdoor education programme, it is a fully integrated and structured programme of activities, underpinned by a wealth of research and risk assessment and combining elements of bushcraft, skills-building, adventure, environmental awareness, character education and personal well-being.    Continue reading

Review: Hape Teepee Tent, worth £64.99

Hape Teepee TentReview written by Toddle About VIP Club member, Tracy Fagg.

From the moment I opened the package I was blown away by the amazing quality of the Hape Teepee Tent from the printed canvas fabric to the sturdy wooden poles.  I was a little nervous when I saw the instructions but it was super easy to put together and I was able to do it by myself so no need for an extra set of hands.

As soon as I had put the tent up in the garden my son who is 18 months old couldn’t wait to play in it. He was in and out, opening the tent up then closing it and playing peek a boo out of the window.  It’s great to use out in the garden when the sun is out and children need a little shade, it also makes a great addition to a playroom or child’s bedroom and it will encourage their imagination and inspire them to role play.

My son is going to get so much use out of this for many years to come.

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Nature and Nurture: Why Kids Need to Play Outside

kids-playing-outside-2Playing outside isn’t just about getting fresh air and benefiting from physical activity. When kids play outside, they improve the growth and development of the brain, body and intellect. Importantly, playing outdoors has a positive impact on a child’s mental well-being, learning and development.

Playing outside is fun, exciting and important to children in lots of ways. Here’s why kids should be encouraged to play outdoors.

Learning to assess and take risks

Kids who have access to nature are better learners and more in-tune with growth mindset. An increasing number of schools across the UK are embracing the work of Carol Dweck to develop thinking skills and self-awareness. Growth mindset is based on the belief that intelligence can be learned.

The outdoors encourages growth mindset and offers children an opportunity to try something that is just out of reach. Climbing that tree, reaching the next stepping stone to cross a stream, going higher on the swing and so on, can all help children to engage with and assess risks. Continue reading

Review: Mini Tractor Ted Wooden Toy, worth £4.99

Mini Tractor Ted Wooden ToyReview written by Toddle About VIP Club member, Sarah Whitby.

We were very happy to hear that we had been chosen to do a review on the Mini Tractor Ted Wooden Toy and my little girl Chloe loves her new toy, as soon as we received the package and opened it she knew what it was.

The colour of the tractor is lovely and bright and it is very well made. Even though it is a small item she found it easy to handle. It has already had a lot of use in the short time that we have had it and it has taken a few knocks along the way but it is still in very good condition.

She has loved incorporating it in with her other toys and making games up with it and she loves to put her small paw patrol figures in it and they all get to have a ride in the tractor. One of the things that I like about it is the fact that it is a solid wooden toy, it doesn’t feel as cheap like some of the plastic versions do.  Continue reading

Review: Tractor Ted Wooden Farm Toys in a Bag, worth £12.99

Tractor Ted Wooden Farm Toys in BagReview written by Toddle About VIP Club member, Christine and Thomas Justice (aged 3 years and 6 months) .

Who doesn’t love a beautiful wooden toy! When Toddle About gave us the opportunity to review the Tractor Ted Wooden Farm Toys I knew my son would give me his honest opinion.

 

In this set there are 8 wooden figures contained in a sturdy clear carry bag with a zip, 2 Tractors, 1 Digger, a Pig, a Sheep, a Duck, a Cow and a Horse.

 

The figures are a good size and smooth shape for smaller hands. No sharp edges or catchy bits, which is something I always look out for when I know that the tiny toddlers could easily get hold of them. Continue reading

Review: Tractor Ted Wooden Toy, worth £12.99

Tractor Ted Wooden ToyReview written by Toddle About VIP Club member, Kimberley Warner.

I was so excited to receive this new addition to our ever growing selection of wooden toys and it was perfectly timed as the field opposite our house has just been inundated with Sheep!

Our little one has absolutely loved playing with Tractor Ted and loves getting all her little farm animals out to role play with it, what I love about open ended toys like this is how they can be added to many set ups and really open the imagination and increase things like vocabulary, she’s always bringing it over saying ‘Tractor’ and can now name her animals that would be on the farm. Continue reading