Multiplication and Division Folding cards

I first printed off these folded multiplication cards for my daughter a few months ago and she really liked using them.  She liked the fact that she could test herself and then check her answers (she is wanting more and more learning activities where she can do it all by herself without having to ask for anyone’s help).


She has been wanting to work on her times tables so these cards are very popular with her.  She has become very determined to learn ALL the times tables so we are just letting her get on with it.

And since she is so determined to learn her times table I wanted to try and get some division in.  For whatever reason she really enjoys multiplication but is not a fan of division.  We have done a few activities with her around division and I have a few more already planned but I thought it might be good if we extended her times table cards and included some division cards as well.

I really wanted to stress the inverse relationship between multiplication and division so I purposely did not create the cards myself but got her to write out the sums herself.  For every division sum she would start with the times table card and then switch the numbers around.  So 2 times 2 = 4 becomes 4 divided by 2 = 2 on her division version.  We kept the division cards very simple and she just wrote out the sums in coloured pencil.


She actually liked the idea of creating her own set of division cards and we are now slowly adding a division version for all her multiplication sets. She is currently working on the 8 times table so we have created our own 2, 4 and 8 division cards (we also used the different cards to illustrate the relationship between the 2, 4 and 8 times table)


Once we have finished with the 8 times table I know she wants to go onto the 6 and 9 times table so I am hoping when she moves onto those she will continue making her division cards aswell.

The cards are from the Twinkl website they have them for the full range of times tables – the ones photographed in the post are the 2 times table folding cards, 4 times table folding cards and the 8 times table folding cards  (all are part of their paid for platinum package).









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One of the storybooks that my kids have been reading the past few weeks is –  Bat Loves the Night (Nature Storybooks). When we initially received our new nature storybooks I was not 100% sure about this one as my kids have never really been interested in bats before. I knew the Tigress and Tracks of a Panda were going to be winners as both kids love those two animals but bats well I was unsure.

bat-loves-the-night-a-nature-storybook-which-teaches-kids-about-batsHowever the book is very informative and has prompted my youngest to start asking lots of questions about them, after all they are manuals, not birds, they hang upside down, eat a wide range of foods and use echolocation, my youngest has now realized they are “pretty cool little creatures” (his words).  And although the book contains lots of information it is not too hard for my daughter to read by herself.

So when I suggested doing a painting it was understandable that my youngest asked if we could do a bat picture. I had already cut out some  bat templates, I was planning on using them to make a bat mobile. (The templates are free to download from Activity Village.)  so instead of a hanging bat picture we stuck ours down on some paper using blu tack and the kids painted over them (well dabbed over them using their paint dabbers).


The idea was to paint our bats black for another picture.  But once we remove the painted bats we got a really cool bonus picture.


My daughter liked the picture in the book where the sun is setting and the sky has a red glow so she was keen to create her own sunset background.


She wanted to try to blend the colours together to get the sunset glow so she started off using some water-colour paints.

Once her background had dried we had some fun testing out different options of where her painted bats (from the first picture) could go.  She settled on this version.


But she wanted to see if she could create a different effect so she also had a go at using her oil pastels to create a blended background.


Her backgrounds are very simple but as  often happens with my kids once they get a bit of confidence doing something they often want to try a harder version.  And my daughter has informed me that we need to try a basic house at sunset for next weeks picture.  And I have a feeling my son’s new interest in bats is here to stay so there is a good chance we might still get around to creating that bat mobile that I was originally planning.


This post does include 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.











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Match and Spell Game

In August I spent quite a bit of time reading up and researching which books and games I would like to use with the kids.  I found the Orchard Toys game called Match and Spell and after reading some good reviews I thought it might be a good addition to my son’s home-education activities.  He already knows his letters and is starting to read but he needs practice blending his sounds and he is really desperate to spell words like his big sister.  The game seemed like a relaxed way for him to practice his blending and spelling, without him having to write out the words.

The game has 20 double-sided word boards (some are 3 letter words and some are 4 letter words) and individual letter cards.  One side of the word board has the word written on it and the kids need to match the letter cards to the letters on the word board.


This would be a great activity for kids learning their letters.  For my youngest it was a bit too easy.  He tried two of the words but quickly informed me it was too easy and turned the word boards over.  The second side of the word board is blank.  On this side the kids need to spell out the words themselves.


One advantage of having the double-sided word boards is when the kids are first trying to spell the words by the themselves, they can get a bit muddled, if that happens they can always flip the board over  and the word that they are trying to spell is there. (This is a bonus for me as I like to spend one-on-one time with my daughter each day helping her with whatever she is currently learning, so my son needs activities where he can check himself.)

As often happens in our house when a new game/ activity arrives the kids often use it a lot in the first few weeks.  And that is exactly what happened with this game, my son has completed all the words a number of different times and he is now confidently spelling most of the words.


It has been a great activity for him to do both by himself and with his older sister.

And the kids have even branched out a bit and had some fun trying to think of rhyming words which match the word on their boards.


The only issue I have with the game is I wish we had bought this game a year ago when my son was still learning his sounds and I would not mind if there was an extension pack (some extra word boards which you could buy and add to the game once the kids have learnt the existing words).  All in all I think it is a relaxed way for younger kids to practice spelling some basic words.

The Match and Spell game was given to us by Orchard Toys after I requested a spelling game for my youngest.  All opinions expressed are mine.




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Equivalent fractions

My daughter has been figuring out equivalent fractions lately.  I say figuring out because she really has been teaching this to herself with just a little guidance from me, the use of her fraction towers and a few hands-on activities.

We started when we were baking some cookies, it was a basic cookie dough recipe, you roll the cookie dough into a long sausage shape and then slice it and place the slices onto the baking tray.  She has done this a number of times before but because we had just been using our fraction towers to show her brother something, I suggested we place the pieces on our kitchen table and see if we could work some fractions in.  Totally winging it I suggested we try to cut the cookie dough in half and then divide each of those halves into half again (so we got quarters) and then divide those quarters into half again (we would get eighths) and finally divide the eighths in half again (sixteenths).

learning-resources-cutting-the-cookie-dough-into-fractions-that-match-the-fraction-piecesAfter doing this my daughter quickly chirped up “mom if we divide the four pieces into half we get eight pieces so that means 2 of the 1/8 pieces together equals 1/4”.

I agreed with her observation and she took it a step further.  She realised that 2 quarter pieces is the same as one half and then she put it together with her fraction towers so that 1/2 = 2/4 = 4/8.


I was really happy with how she managed to get to this and the next day when her dad asked her about the baking she confidently informed him about the fractions and fetched her fraction towers to show him how 1/2 = 2/4 = 4/8 and without any prompting she sat down and looked at the other factions and worked out which ones equaled 1/2.


She is a very visual learner and likes to be pick up and manipulate objects while she does her maths so the fraction towers really suits her and the fact that she could figure all this out herself means it is sticking.

A few days later we tried the same activity but this time with some play dough.  She started off by proudly showed me how 4/8 = 2/4 = 1/2.  Then she moved onto thirds and applied the same process as we did with the cookie dough and quickly worked out that 2/6 was the same as 1/3 and that 3/9 would also be the same.


And while all this was going on she also realised that the bigger the number on the bottom (the denominator – although she does keep forgetting that it is called the denominator) the smaller the actual fraction ends up being.


I have left her faction tower pieces on her bookshelf so she can access them and use them as she wants. The faction towers that we have also have also the percentages and decimals are each piece but at this stage we are just focusing on the fractions (although I have noticed that she is looking at the percentages and decimals so I am sure at some stage she is going to start asking about them).



Family Fever

I approached Learning Resources and asked if they would give us this fraction tower to use in our home learning in exchange for a blog post.  The opinions expressed above are mine (and in this case some of my daughter’s).










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Hands little hands

One of my main areas of focus with my youngest is finding fun activities for him to do which work on his hands (strengthening and control).  So I thought I would put together a post with HIS favourite hand activities (ie the ones the he has really enjoyed doing and will happily to do over and over again).

TAP ART – Tap Tap Art

I bought our first Tap Art set when my daughter was around 4 years old and it is one of those activities that both kids have done over and over again.  We actually now have 2 sets in the house as it got to the stage where both kids wanted to build pictures at the same time and they enjoyed being able to do it side by side.


DOTTY STICKER ART – Insect Dotty Sticker Art for Children to Make and Display (Pack of 8)

I bought this a few months ago and my youngest has loved doing the pictures.  I was actually initially surprised by how much he enjoyed this as he has never been a sticker mad kid but he enjoys using the dots to build up the pictures.


TRICKY FINGERS GAME. – Edushape Tricky Fingers Preschool Puzzle

I recently did a whole blog post about this game.  Both my kids and I think this game is brilliant.  It is great for so many reason (manual dexterity, fine motor precision, visual perception and organizational skills) but the main thing for me is it gets both kids really working those little fingers as they move the marbles into place.  And an extra bonus my two happily set on the couch side by side while they try to match the patterns on the cards.

THERAPY PUTTY   Mobilis Rolyan Therapy Putty Medium Resistance 454 g – Green

I was initially hesitant to buy therapy putty as I reasoned play dough was good enough but my daughter’s Occupational Therapist asked me very nicely to please buy some for her and to hide marbles and beads inside.  She told me that by using the therapy putty instead of the play dough my daughter would really have to work her fingers and it would be a far superior finger strengthening exercise for her.  So I applied the same logic with my son and he has since informed me that he prefers using the therapy putty to play dough (hmm yes yes I know the kid has expensive taste, gulp)

HAMA BEADS – Sealife Fuse Bead Kits for Children to Make Iron and Display as Summer Crafts (Pack of 6)

We love Hama beads in our house.  We started with the Midi beads and now both kids use the Mini beads.  If you have never tried Hama beads it is really great way to get the kids using their fingers and there are many great pictures / patterns which you can download for the kids to copy.  You can also buy these little fusion bead sets where the kids get pictures of 6 animals to copy.  My son has really enjoyed doing this sealife set.  We now have multiple Hama sealife creatures floating around our house.

fuse-bead-sealife-setSPRAY BOTTLES

This one has been very popular over the warmer months.  My little man can just not get enough of spraying water over almost everything in our garden.  The bottle that we have used is a very cheap, simple spray bottle that we picked up somewhere (sorry can not remember where) a few years ago for a dirt cheap price but it works.


I have included affiliate links in this post. 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.





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Archaeologists Dig for Clues – book

It is no secret that my kids love all things prehistoric (obsessed could be a more accurate term).  We have tried to build as much learning as we can into this area as they both just get so excited whenever we read anything remotely linked to this.  So around a year ago I bought them this fab little book – Archaeologists Dig for Clues (Let’s Read-And-Find-Out Science (Paperback)) by Kate Duke.

The book is based on some kids going with an archaeologist (named Sophie) on a dig.  As the kids participate in the dig Sophie explains how the dig works and what the discoveries may indicate.  They learn about how the dig site is mapped out into squares and how everything needs to be neat and organized on the site.  They also learn a lot about what life would have been like, what tools the people may have used, possible food they may have eaten and possible clothes.



In the book the archaeologists discover a row of dark marks in the ground which were marks left behind by the posts of an ancient house and together with a number of other things that they find, lead them to discover the site was actually an ancient village.  They create a map showing how the ancient village was set out according to the discoveries in each squared off area.


And based on the map and the other facts that the kids have learnt while on the dig they are able to imagine what the ancient village probably looked like.


The story ends with Sophie taking the kids back to her lab where they meet more scientists and learn how everything is catalogued.  And the surprising fact that archaeologists actually spend more time back in their labs then on the dig sites (my son was very disappointed when he learnt this as he liked the idea of being an archaeologist on a dig site but did not like the idea of all the filing and working in the lab).

All in all a great little book (we bought ours for under £5), very informative and great for young kids who are interested in what life was like a long long time ago (words from my youngest).








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Our Home Education Room (well areas)

Okay so maybe the title is a bit deceptive, we don’t really have one of those lovely home-ed rooms like I often see and absolutely love.  We don’t have a dedicated space but we have areas throughout our home that we use.  So I thought I would share some pictures.

The kids play area.  This is a small extension which was built onto our main living area, it has a small step up and big folding doors which the kids can close. (My daughter loves the fact that she can close the doors and still see me).



The kids love this area and they have claimed it as there own.  Inside we have two large bookcases, filled with book, games, puzzles, sensory tubs, and other learning activities. We also have two plastic tables and chairs from IKEA  (although my oldest is getting too big for this so we need to think of something new fairly soon).  The table and chairs are used for everything and anything.  The kids often sit there and do learning activities, they play games using the tables and sometimes just sit their creating their own little works of art. The kids art cart is also in the room so they have everything they need right there to create their own masterpieces.

And the kids move around the toys, tables and craft cart as they want (sometimes out into the garden).  A good day at home normally means this area ends up looking something like this.


The main living area has more toys and games scattered around it and our couch which always has a blanket on it (both kids will often use the couch and the blanket as a place to retreat when their senses are a bit overloaded).  The couch is also the main reading area.


My desk is in the corner.  Okay confession – I say my desk but actually it is the desk that my hubbie bought for himself but I have claimed it as mine.  This is where I sit and search the internet and come up with some of our activities, it is also another place where my daughter likes to sit and write, she loves sitting in my chair and writing notes at “mom’s desk”.


The other much used much loved home-ed area is our kitchen table which is really our art table / writing-table / baking surface and in between all that our eating area.  It is not a big table but we love it.  The kids often end up at the table while I am in the kitchen preparing dinner or baking.  It has become the one area where my kids will sit and colour or draw.  My kids do not naturally seek out colouring pages but they will often will sit and colour something in while I am busy in the kitchen.


We also have a few cork boards scattered around the house.  They tend to contain posters, little snippets of whatever the kids are currently learning and some of their art.


And our garden.  Yip I am including that as one of our home-ed areas.  The amount of play that happens in the garden which involves animals, dinosaurs is amazing and along with all the playing is a lot of learning.  Also the kids really enjoy gardening with their dad and have started growing some of their own vegetables (our potatoes did really well, our tomatoes totally failed and we had some limited success with onions and carrots)

So as much as I would love to post stunning pictures of a converted attic or basement which we use as a home-ed room we just do not have it.  We tend to use areas within our home for our home-ed, areas that all have multiple purposes but it works for us because our home-ed really is just part of our family life.

The cork boards that we have used are these ones 5 Star Office Noticeboard Cork with Pine Frame W900xH600mm (affiliate link)









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