The past 3 years I have written a top 5 favourite items post and since everyone seems to enjoy reading them I am going to continue with the tradition this year. But this year and I am going to split it into 2 posts – a Top 5 favourite items and a Top 5 favourite Book post. So here goes our top 5 items (in no order) for 2020.
The Micro:bit. We love this little coding genius. We love it and we have used it (still are using it) a lot. Now as I have always said I am NOT a techie person but I do believe that the kids need to learn certain computer skills and one of those would be some programming. But really I have no idea how to get them started – well this did it for us. We really think it is a brilliant concept and it has helped the kids (and me) work through some computer ideas and get us going. So a massive find for us (and I think really well priced).
The Night Zookeeper Website. We actually signed up for the site a few years ago and then our subscription ended and I just got caught up with everything else. But in about August of this year my son started asking if he could use the site again and I actually felt like he needed an extra English activity so we signed up again. And boy have I been impressed. The site has changed quite a lot (I think it is better than ever). And most importantly my son loves it. He is constantly on the site writing and doing activities and I have been very impressed with the feedback. He makes quite a few errors but the feedback is always positive, encouraging and even when they point out errors they always say something positive. I am convinced using the site is going to help his English (spelling, grammar and creative writing), it also is great for some typing practice and it keeps him engaged and interested. So really a massive win in our house.
English Heritage membership. I know this year has been tough and in the first lockdown the English Heritage sites closed but once they started opening up again we went a bit crazy and booked a number of visits. They were all amazing trips. Every site we visited was clean, organised and well, educational. It is a wonderful mixture of having a change in scenery, being out in the open (everywhere we went always had amazing gardens) and getting to learn something about the History of the country that we live in. Our English Heritage membership has been one of the highlights of this rather unusual year and we still have a list of sites we are hoping to squeeze in over the Christmas break.
Our Pasta Maker. I have been meaning to buy one of these pasta makers for a few years but I always seemed to find something else to do and then lockdown happened and I knew I needed to find extra activities for the kids. And what a hit, especially with my nine-year old son. He has become the official family pasta maker. He loves using the roller and rolling out the strips of pasta. The pasta maker was bought for lockdown but we love it and I honestly wish we had just bought it earlier.
Jane Austen series. What a winner this has been with my twelve- year old. I had a set of Jane Austen DVD’s from way back when, that have just been sitting in a cupboard and then I think we watched part of Emma on TV and my daughter was hooked. So we dug out my old set of DVD’s and we have watched all of them (and a few more than once). My daughter loves them. She loves the way the story unfolds, the characters, the Georgian setting, ahh she just loves everything about them. (Side note there is an adult scene at the beginning of Sense and Sensibility which we just miss and it does not impact the story).
So those are our Top 5 new items (that are not books) from this crazy year that we have had but as this has been a crazy year and we have ended up spending a lot more time at home trying to keep busy so there are 2 more items I want to mention.
Monopoly. Yip a good old favourite. When the first lockdown started I bought us a Monopoly set and it was one of those things that kept the whole family entertained for hours on end. It became a bit of a weekend activity (because the kids like playing with their dad) and I have to admit I was really impressed with how much they learnt. Largely thanks to the way my husband plays it with them, he was always explaining about loans and overdrafts and asking them “do you think it would be wise to go into debt for this” or “does the income you are going to earn from that property look like a good investment”. So an old classic but one that I am really glad we now have in the house.
And finally something which we have owned for a few years but it has just been so brilliant at keeping my youngest entertained this year that I have to mention it, is – K’Nex. My son has spent hours recreating K’nex designs and coming up with his own weird and wonderful creations. I know K’nex is Not cheap but for us it has definitely been worth every penny that we have paid for the sets.
So that is our Top 5, well Top 7 new items for 2020.
Admin – this is NOT a sponsored post. This is just my own list of 5 items (well really 7) that we have really enjoyed this past year.