Dive Into Shapes

I have been eyeing out the Learning Resources Dive into Shapes set for some time.  I wanted to find a hands on, fun way for the kids to explore shapes both 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional and I kept coming back to this set.  So when Learning Resources approached me and asked if I wanted to test it out I immediately jumped at the opportunity (I possibly may have even squealed yes out loud when I read the email).

The set arrived at the absolute perfect time, my oldest was not feeling well and we were staying at home and getting slightly bored.  Both kids immediately started building shapes and objects without even looking at the cards.

Dive Into Shapes by Learning Resources. A fun set which allows the children to build many different 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional shapes and objects

The set comes with a combination of sticks (16 long straight sticks, 24 Medium long sticks, 20 small straight sticks and 20 curves) as well as round connectors (16 orange and 18 red).  And 15 double-sided cards – the cards are split into different activities – 2 dimensional shapes, 3 dimensional shapes, combining shapes and equal parts (ie basic fractions).

After spending the whole first day just doing their own “creations” the kids decided to try out the shape-building cards.

Dive into Shapes a fun maths set which allows the children to build 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional shapes

My daughter seemed to really enjoy the combining shape cards.

Dive into Shapes. One of the Combining shapes building cards that comes with the set

And my son really enjoyed the diving shapes into equal parts challenges.  He has been doing quite a few activities on halves and quarters lately so being able to use the pieces to divide shapes into halves and quarters was perfect for him.  And I loved that when he took a card showing dividing a circle into half he naturally tried to take it further and divide it into quarters (there is actually a card for splitting the circle into quarters but he had not seen that yet).

Dive into shapes set from Learning Resources come with some equal parts cards which reinforce basic fractions

We really have loved playing with this set and I can see both kids using it a LOT more.  I love all the creations that they have coming up with – crowns, goals for football, railway tracks, planets and so much more.

Dive into Shapes building their own creations like a crown

Dive into Shapes creating railway lines

I love that they are exploring shapes in such a fun, relaxed manner.  They are having fun while learning about shapes – how many sides different shapes have, angles in a shape, how 3 dimensional shapes can be built up from 2 dimensional shapes, basic fractions and so much more.  They are learning without even realizing it.  Learning by playing and being creative.

We LOVE this set.

You can get this set directly from Learning Resources or you can add it to your amazon basket Learning Resources Dive into Shapes! A “Sea” and Build Geometry Set

Dive into Shapes by Learning Resources. A fun, hands on maths set for children which encourages them to explore shapes

I was sent this set by Learning Resources in exchange for me completing a questionnaire and sharing my thoughts on it.  All opinions expressed are mine





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Colouring with Tissue Paper Detail

When my daughter was younger she was not a fan of colouring in but she loved crafting so we tried to combine the two as much as we could.  And one of the activities that stuck with us is colouring in a picture and then adding tissue paper to it.  When she was younger the tissue paper tended to cover most of the picture but as she has gotten older and has started to enjoy colouring in the tissue paper has become more about adding details.  But either way it always seems to bring some fun to the pictures.

Activity Village Ballerina template with pink tissue paper added for details

The one is the Activity Village Ballerina Template – she coloured in the background black and then used pink tissue paper for the tutu and ballet shoes (apparently it is supposed to be her ballet teacher).  I love this one.

We have found two key points when doing these pictures – first keep the colouring page that the kids are using simple, too much small detail does not tend to go down well when the kids are trying to add tissue paper.  Also it helps if the kids do the colouring in first before they add the tissue paper.  It gets a bit tricky if they try to colour in around the tissue paper.  Oh and if your kids are anything like mine possibly print out a few copies of the page.  Both my kids often end up doing 2 or 3 versions of the same picture until they are happy with their end result.

Activity Village Seahorse colouring page done with water colour pencils

Normally they end up changing their minds about the colours that they have used in the first draft.  The Seahorse is this one – Seahorse colouring Page

Activity Village Seahorse colouring page completed with watercolour pencils and with tissue paper added to give texture

My son has also started doing a few of these pictures – although he tends to be the opposite of my daughter – he is not a fan of tissue paper so he naturally tends to keep the tissue paper extras to the minimum.

Activity Village apple tree colouring page done with water colour pencils and tissue paper as the apples

The Apple tree is this one – Activity Village Apple Tree

The Water colour pencils that my kids used are one of their old favourites – STABILO Woody 3-in-1 Multi-Talented Pencils with Sharpener, assorted colours wallet 10 (they are fat wooden pencils which we have had for years).

All of the Colouring pages that we used are from Activity Village and are member pages (currently their membership is £12 for 12 months)

Adding Tissue paper Detail to colouring pages. Perfect for kids enjoy crafting activities







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Stained glass window paintings for children

Paint Lab for kids a stunning children's book filled with painting projects for you to try with the kids

We have been using our Paint Lab for Kids: 52 Creative Adventures in Painting and Mixed Media for Budding Artists of All Ages (Lab Series) by Stephanie Corfee (2015-12-15) book for a few weeks now and all of us love the activities.  One of our favourites has to be the Dimensional Outline stained glass window watercolours.  So much fun.

For this we did need to buy some dimensional paint (I bought this one Tulip 3D Fabric Paint 4oz Slick (Black)). We have never used dimensional paint before and I must admit we are now slightly hooked on it.  Love the stuff and as a side note I realized when watching my youngest use it that it is a great hand strengthening activity for him.

The kids started off with drawing their picture in pencils (we traced around our breakfast bowls to get the outline of the circle).

Creating the dimensional outline for the stained glass window art project. Idea inspired by Paint lab for kids

Once they were happy with their picture they traced over the pencil with the dimensional paint.  I want to stress the tracing is not going to be perfect, especially for younger kids, the dimensional paint is going to be lumpy in places and thinner in other areas, but I honestly don’t think it ruins their pictures.  And I personally was very glad that my six-year-old was happily tracing over the whole picture. (The picture below is an outline that my six-year-old did with the dimensional paint)

Dimensional Paint outline for a stained glass window painting project for children.

As advised in the book we left our outlines to dry overnight and then the next day the kids used their water-colour paints to fill in the sections.

They ended up making some lovely stained glass window paintings (which tied in nicely with our current middle ages theme).

Stained glass window art activity for children. Fun painting project using watercolour paints and some dimensional paint

But you can use this idea for all kinds of pictures.

I daughter used a picture in the Paint Lab for kids book for inspiration and did this one.

Dimensional Outline Art Activity for children. OUtline any picture with dimensional paint and then paint with watercolours

It really could be adapted for any topic.

Both my kids love the effect that the dimensional paint gives their pictures and I can honestly see this becoming one of their new favourite art activities.

Stained glass window ainting activity for children.

I have included Affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product, I will be paid a very small commission, however your cost will remain the same. I only include affiliate links for products that we own, use and love.

Dimensional Outline Art project for children from Paint lab for kids.  Stained glass window project




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Schofield & Sims Telling the Time books

We were recently sent the three new Schofield & Sims Telling Time workbooks.  The first two books are aimed at Key Stage 1 (UK year 1 and year 2 of school) and the third book is aimed at Key stage 2 (UK year 3 /4).

So what is in each book ?

Telling the Time 1 – This book introduces children to o’clock, half past, quarter past and quarter to

It starts off with a brief look at day and night and how there is a basic routine to your day.  It them introduces a clock – all the way through the book the Minute hand is always blue and the hour hand is always red.  What I really like about this book is it links the time to basic fractions.  So when they introduce half past they talk about half a shape and with quarter past they show that quarter of a circle would be where the 3 on the clock is.

Telling the Time 1 by Schofield & Sims explains o'clock, half past, quarter past and quarter to

There is lots of practice throughout the book.  Lots of examples of clocks where the kids need to draw in the hands or where they need to write the time out. (And the pages are not cluttered – this has been an issue for us with some other workbooks, if there is too much crammed onto a page my kids get distracted).

Telling the Time 1 by Schofield & Sims contains lots of examples to practice telling the time for o'clock, half past, quarter past and quarter to

Telling Time 1 by Schofield & Sims contains lots of examples of o'clock, half past, quarter past, quarter to

The book also deals with the days of the week and the months of the year.

Telling the Time 2 – This book introduces the children to 5 minute intervals

It starts off by explaining each 5 minute past interval and for each time interval there is a practice page.  It goes all the way up until 55 minutes past the hour.  Only after it has shown the full-time sequence from 5 minutes past to 55 minute past does it go onto explain how the second half of the clock is when you start counting backwards and talk about minutes to.  Book 2 also introduces digital time.

Telling the Time 2 by Schofield & Sims Introduces children to telling time by 5 minute intervals

Again lots of practice.

Telling the Time 2 workbook by Schofield & Sims contains practice in matching analogue time to digital time

And some basic time sequence examples

Telling Time 2 by Schofield & Sims also contains some time sequencing questions

Telling the Time 3 – Introduces time to the exact minute.

The book does start off doing a quick revision of book 2 (minutes past, minutes too, digital time) but it is only brief.  Then it moves onto telling time to the exact minute.

Book 3 also includes lots of different time solving problems

Telling the Time 3 by Schofield & Sims. One of the time riddles included in the book

Telling the Time 3 by Schofield & Sims. Includes a number of different time problems for the kids to work on

It also talks about converting different units of time, like how many hours in 3 days, or how many minutes in 2 hours etc

As well as Roman Numerals, Time zones, time-zone problems and daylight saving.

Telling the Time 3 by Schofield & Sims contains a number of different time problems

All three books contain more colour than the usual Schofield & Sims workbooks that we have used in the past but I like the added colour, it is not over the top distracting colour like some of the revision books I have seen. In all three books there is always a brief explanation before the practice begins. But book 2 does assume that the kids understand the topics covered in book 1 and likewise book 3 assumes the kids understand everything covered in book 2.

Also each workbook has the answers at the back.

I am impressed with this time set and I will be using the first two workbooks with my son and doing some of the time problem solving exercises with my daughter.

You can buy these workbooks directly from the Schofield & Sims website or from Amazon

Telling the Time Book 1 (KS1 Maths, Ages 5-6)

Telling the Time Book 2 (KS1 Maths, Ages 6-7)

Telling the Time Book 3 (KS2 Maths, Ages 7-9)

Schofield & Sims did send me these workbooks







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Hello Nature Book for Children

We have a few birthdays coming up over the summer months and I often struggle to find really good presents for the birthday kids (turning 9/10 years).  I like to give them something that suits their interests and that has a learning angle.  My daughter has two friends who both love drawing / doodling and also enjoy learning about nature.  So when my daughter was sent this book – Hello Nature: Draw, Collect, Make and Grow, after I got over my initial desire to steal it for myself (I find drawing / doodling very relaxing) I realized it would make a stunning present for two “soon-to-be-birthday girls”.

The book includes drawing pages / colouring in and decorating pages / ideas on things to make and is filled of information but the information is scattered in amongst the drawing and doodling.

Hello Nature children's book includes the difference between frogs and toads

Some pages are as straight forward as the Guide to Daisies  (although I say straight forward but both my daughter and I were fascinated to discover that are so many different Daisies).

Hello Nature, children's book which has stunning colouring, drwing making activities and lots of information scattered amongst the pages like the Guide to Daisies

And other’s like the fungi pages have more detail and more information.

Hello Nature, Draw, Colour Make and Grow book for children. Includes lots of information and activities that are nature related like these pages about fungi

I really like the fact that all the illustrations and writing are only in black and green it encourages the reader to add their own colour and designs to the pages to make them unique.

And it is not just drawing and colouring ideas there are some lovely grow and make activities – Grow a Mini Fernarium, How to Make Rose Petal Perfume, Make a Grass Whistle, How to Grow an Avocado Tree.  This book is overflowing with ideas on getting children to appreciate nature.

Hello Nature, Includes growing, making activities like this Grow a Mini Fernarium

Hello Nature includes making and growing activities like How to make Rose Petal Perfume

I was also impressed with how much is included in this book.  The leaves, trees, flowers that you would expect but also details like the anatomy of a feather, details about fungi, bees, shells, and so much more.  The author has really impressed me with how much information and how many nature topics she has included.

Hello Nature, the anatomy of a feather

I think this book has managed to achieve a balance between learning and creating that will keep lots of children interested.

Hello Nature Wonderful Word of Bees

We were sent this book by the publisher.  But I have since ordered two copies as presents for two of my daughter’s friends which is just a testament to how impressed I have been with this stunning book

Hello Nature. A stunning children's book filled with drawing, colouring, making and growing activities. the book is filled with information about a wide variety of nature topics





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