Ez has really made a leap recently in regards to his letter recognition and number work. Maybe it is from seeing his big brother (his new hero) completing work from home. Either way it is great. Ez is a September baby and if he starts school in September as planned he will be turning 5 in the first weeks there. Billy on the other hand was 4 and 2 months when he started. It seems so odd that as B was at school at the age Ez is now, he was expected to be a lot more academically advanced in comparison to what we expect of Ezra. I definitely do not worry about them being able to do certain things before they start school. Recognising their own name is a plus but letter formation, reading, adding is not necessary, it will come. Most countries don't expect this until much later. There are much more important things that children do need to know before starting school, mainly social aspects that can be learnt through play, through modelling and observing maybe through stories. But, as Ezzy is into his letters and numbers (we do focus on the other things too, we aren't monsters) I thought I would share some of our fave bits!
Scandiborn 'Little Dutch Abacus in Nature', £13.59 - I love this. I will 100% be buying this for Ezra's room once his new units are built - come on LB. It is such a beautiful piece to have on display when it isn't being played with. We love abacuses ( what is the plural for abacus? abaci? - I googled, both abacuses and abaci are correct. I prefer the latter) for helping with addition and subtraction. I like the different layers on this you could even use it as a visual aid when doing column addition and looking at place value.
Annual Store 'Home S'cool Essential Kit', £14 - Such a sweet idea. The kit includes 5 exercise books (lined and plain) as well as a gorgeous eco stationary kit. Bundled up in this little bag it is perfect for hanging by a desk or throwing in a bag when your off out exploring! I would be tempted to add some mini Stibb pencils (£2) to my shopping cart and pop these in the bag too.
Coach House 'Number Flashcards', £10 - Super simple, super cute, some clear flashcards in their own bag. children could use them to find a certain amount of something and line it next to the right number. used alongside a tray of rice (or sand/lentils/mud) to practice number formation. You could take one out with you and find as many examples of that number as possible (House numbers, postcodes on street signs, road signs, bus numbers, car regs etc)
Baba of Mine 'Kitpas for bath', £8 - Why do kids find it so much more exciting to draw on the bathroom tiles in oppose to a piece of paper! A sure fire way to make spelling/ letters/ numbers more fun. You could make a treasure hunt. Pop some letters on the side of the bath that represent the starting sound of their bath toys ( 'd' for 'duck') and they have to match.
Kidly 'Magnetic Learn and Play Alphabet', £18 - Cute little set up. Little word cards and some magnetic letters to spell the word. This set includes different languages too! Great for bilingual children but also for children who enjoy other languages (like Ez) or older kids too.
Kidly ' Oekaki House', £50 - A magnetic drawing boards is a must have for kids in my opinion. They always go down well and there is no risk of pen marks on your table/all over your car. I love these. This is deffinetly the higher end option. Kidly do sell an equally beautiful version which is much cheaper. I chose this one due to its little built in abacus. It would make little maths problems so fun.
Melissa and Doug ' See and Spell Learning toy' £19.99 - We have this and it is great. of course children can access it by just seeing which 'shape' fits and Ez did used to do just that. But gradually, we talked more about each letter and the sounds it made. He would look at the initial letter of the image to make its sound when choosing the letter. We still use this, in fact we were using this just today. Now we often get the letters out alone and use these to copy words on flash cards. I will write the alphabet and he will match the letters.
The Bebe Hive ' Wooden Alphabet Puzzle' £32 - How beautiful is this, I love the colours. This is a funny one. A lot (not all) of the wooden alphabet puzzles tend to be uppercase letters. Generally children learn lowercase first. Obviously they need to learn both. You could pair this with the lowercase letters from the Melissa and Doug set as a matching game. You could also use it for a little game like eye spy. Say your eye spy and let the child hold the letter whilst he/she/they find the object.
Little Writing Company 'Personalised Handwriting Notebook', £8.95 - These are such sweet handwriting books. I like that it is from an independent in oppose to a huge store and the personalisation is a really sweet touch letting children practice writing their own name! I say this is on my list, but everything is on my list!
Pippeta 'Number, Counting & Shapes Board', £8 - We have this and Ez loves it. A minor issue is there is no space for the equals sign but that isn't a biggie for us. I give Ez a list of additions and he uses this to complete it himself. He will use the numbers and symbols to make the number sentence then use the rings below the 2nd number. He puts the first number in his head and then counts on using the rings. He is pretty good at maths. To start you would just put each numbers rings out and count them all together. Nola loves this too, she loves sorting and counting the hoops.
Babi Pur 'Plan Toys 1-10', £24.95 - This is such a sweet set. Each card has a outlined number and a visual representation of the number, then you have a selection of numbers to match. Simple but effective. You could give the children a number and ask them to find 7 things (toys cars for eg). Or have some buttons and place the right amount on the card on top of the images as a guide.
Coach House 'Wooden Name Board' £25 - Writing and recognising their name will really help a child when they start school and this is a super stylish way to practice that. This would look sweet on display, I remember learning to spell my middle name whilst looking at a name print on my wall. You can get little 'tracing pens' to go over the shapes of the letters too. These boards come in print, pre-cursive and cursive fonts.
Your little one doesn't need all of these to learn at all. They are just super convenient and super gorgeous options. I always recommend an app called 'Hairy letters' to preschool/infant parents. It is great for practicing letter formation and helps with letters-sounds. There are a whole bunch of 'hairy apps' now and I have been impressed with all of the ones we have tried. There is a one time purchase for each app. Another App I like (best for older kids but great for CVC woads - CAT, DOG, HAT) is 'Squeebles'. You can create and assign spelling lists and record yourself saying the word which the child then types. I don't think there is anything stopping you creating letter recognition lists actually (instead of words, you could record yourself making a sound and the child chooses the correct letter).
This week I thought I would share a few instagram accounts too which, offer some inspiration for educational activities.
@alphababydesigns (This is a insa shop, based in AU so not to accessible to us in the UK. But it offers lots of inspo on how to use your flashcards).
Discount over at the wonderful Scandiborn is still active! use the code...