I am very lucky that my blog has now gotten to that stage where we sometimes get to test out educational activities and books. It is without a doubt a big bonus when you are home-educating as let’s be honest it is really helpful to have some high quality educational tools in the house so that the kids can access them whenever they want. So I thought some of you might find it interesting to hear what out top 5 items from 2017 are (in no order).
We received the K’nex gears and K’nex levers and pulley set earlier this year. It was the first ever K’nex that my kids had played with and they just fell in love with it – so much so that I have since bought them 4 more boxes so that they can build complex items together.
My daughter has never been that big on construction toys but K’nex changed that. She started following the instructions, starting with the easy builds, moving onto very complex builds and then designing her own creations. And my son, well he is just in K’nex heaven. I honestly belive that the K’nex is going to be something that they will both play with for years to come. And learning well – they learnt about how gears, pulley’s and levers work. They learnt how to design doors with hinges so they could swing open, angles, shapes and that honestly that is just the start. I can not say enough good things about our K’nex. It is amazing.
Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set.
Our kids don’t tend to spend lots of time on screens, we have found with their sensory challenges that screens are not good, my daughter gets overwhelmed very quickly and my son just gets grumpy. We also found that learning apps on screens are not a big success with our two, they do better if they are learning using their hands to pick up items and move items around so the result of that is we have not done any coding activities. Because of this the Code & Go Mouse Activity Set really appealed to me and from the moment we unwrapped it both kids loved it.
They loved programming the mouse to find the cheese. The activity cards included in the set were a great starting point and now my two just have fun with Colby (the mouse has a name), they build their own mazes for him and get him to move backwards, swing around and do a bunch of interesting stuff. I think it has been a great introduction to coding for them.
Schofield & Sims Written Calculation Multiplication and Division workbooks.
Okay we were not actually sent these, I bought both books, but we have been sent other Schofield & Sims workbooks this year (fraction set, telling time) and the Maths workbooks are without a doubt my daughter’s favourite. The format really suits her. She likes the brief explanation and the fact that they build up the exercises very slowly with lots of practice. She was not feeling confident with multiplication and division earlier this year and working through the Written Calculation: Multiplication Book 1 – KS2, Ages 7-11 and Written Calculation: Division Book 1 – KS2, Ages 7-11 has helped change that for her. I am going to be buying her the Written Calculation: Multiplication Book 2 – KS2, Ages 7-11 and Written Calculation: Division Book 2 – KS2, Ages 7-11 next year.
Oxford Children’s Classic Stories.
Earlier this year my daughter discovered an audio set of classic children’s stories Ladybird Classics: The Complete Audio Collection and she fell in love with a few of the classic children stories. She begged me for ages to find her versions of the stories that were more detailed than the audio stories and I actually struggled a bit until I found the Oxford Children’s Classic books and we got to test three of them.
We are reading the books slowly but the whole family LOVES them (they have become a favourite for reading together ). I think having classics like these in the house is amazing and I am definitely going to be adding to our collection.
Dive Into Shapes
My son is slightly obsessed with this set. And I must admit that even though I asked to review this set it actually exceeded all of my expectations. Shapes, angles, how shapes can fit together to form more complex shapes, how you can divide shapes into halves and quarters, drawing shapes (yes we found that using the rods and connectors to create shapes helped the kids understand how to draw the 3 dimensional shapes).
Both my kids have also used this set to create them own objects – crowns, shields and swords (okay slight medieval theme), a bed and sleigh for some toys, a barn for the animals and I am sure I am forgetting a whole bunch of others. This is shape magic.
Okay that is 5 already but can I add one more ? My Activity Village membership. I am loving all the new pages they have been adding this year – I think the maths, famous people, alphabet pages and the colouring quotes are possibly our favourites.
I would like to mention that if we ever receive an item which is not up to standard I point-blank refuse to write a post or share photos. I have a rule when it comes to items sent to us – If I would not pay the asking price for that item then I will not include it in the blog.
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