We love the summer holidays; endless hours of sunshine, playtime and new adventures to be had!
While it’s important to use this time to unwind from a term of hard work, it’s also vital that children still keep on top of basic skills such as numeracy and literacy, especially after the disruptive year we have all had.
Parents, we can already hear you saying, “I’ll never be able to get them to do homework during the school holidays!”, and we completely understand the struggle. However, we have a secret; our educational toys & activities are so engaging that your child won’t even realise they’re actively learning whilst playing!
Integrating mathematics into your playtime is a great way to stimulate curiosity, critical thinking and reasoning skills early on in childhood development. Inspiring a love for numbers can be a thoroughly enjoyable exercise when combined with a little imagination and creativity.
- Handcrafted Wooden Dot Cuboids by Hellion Toys
This natural wooden set is engraved with little dots, which are perfect when it comes to counting!
The fact that they’re engraved adds an extra layer of interest for little ones, as the change in surface texture makes these cuboids ideal for grabbing, squeezing and poking.
Why not purchase some felt balls (sold separately), which can be neatly placed in the engraved holes? These will add a splash of colour to the activity, and make the counting process easier to visualize.
- Handcrafted Wooden 100 Dots Board by Hellion Toys
Count all the way to 100 with this interactive wooden dots board!
This classic heirloom piece is not only fantastic for basic counting, it also provides a base for learning more complex number patterns and sequences.
If your little one collects small objects such as pebbles or acorns, these can easily sit within the engraved holes, creating an interactive counting exercise with objects they love.
- Chalkboard Building Blocks by Small Foot
Combine creativity and learning with these fun wooden blocks!
All your child needs is a piece of chalk and their imagination. From writing their first numbers and letters, to drawing whatever comes to mind, these blocks are fantastic for counting and stacking.
Whether it’s practicing handwriting and spelling, or reading together before bed, it’s important that your child is able to communicate with you.
Practicing this skill regularly will also be extremely beneficial if your child is struggling with speech. Sound like something you want to work on with your little one? We’ve come up with some engaging activities both you and your child will love, below:
- Handmade Wooden Vowels Cuboids by Hellion Toys
Expand your alphabet collection with this set of five vowels!
If your child is a little older, this set is perfect to teach them more complex vocabulary in a fun and simple way. Engraved for finger tracing, these cuboids are also ideal for younger children, allowing them to explore stacking and sorting.
- Elmer by David McKee
This classic story has been a childhood favourite since it was first published in 1989!
The colourful illustrations will be sure to catch curious eyes, and its subtle message that it’s ok to be different makes this book a favourite for bedtime reading.
Encourage your little one to read with you so that they can learn how different words and pronunciation sound out loud. You could add an extra layer of learning by letting them trace some of the letters, developing their spelling skills at the same time.
Fine Motor Skills:
These skills are all about the small, deft movements we make on a daily basis with our fingers and our wrists. Below is one particular supplier that we absolutely adore, and who stocks everything you need to develop these precious skills.
A fantastic family-run company based in Catalonia, Grapat produces wonderfully colourful wooden objects in a variety of intriguing shapes and sizes.
Child-led, open-ended play is at the heart of everything Grapat is passionate about, and their toys can be anything the imagination wants them to be. We have a few personal favourites…
- Mandala Snowflakes:
These beautiful pastel pieces take their name from the different colours of the sky when it’s snowing. Their shape is perfect to be squeezed and rolled around in little hands, and their flat bases mean that they can be stood up in various patterns and sequences.
- Mandala Brown Mushrooms:
All the fun of a mushroom shape without the texture! These intriguing wooden objects by Grapat are so fun to squeeze and create patterns with. An array of different and vibrant colours means that they can also be used to nurture other skills, such as counting and sorting. Bring some of Mother Nature’s bounty into your playroom!
- Mandala Stones:
These flat little discs can be stacked, sorted, counted and more! Their smoothness will mean that your little one will always have one in their hand, stroking its surface and enjoying the texture. Just make sure they don’t try to skim them in the sea!
People don’t necessarily think of this as a ‘core’ skill in a child’s development, but we believe it should be nourished just as much as numeracy and literacy.
Read on to discover how you can encourage your child’s creativity and imagination at home!
We love this supplier because their toys are so realistic! From vegetables to laundry detergent, these toys are guaranteed to spark your child’s imagination and encourage them to delve into the exciting world of small world play.
- Plan Toys Vet Set
Have a teddy bear in urgent need of some TLC? The Plan Toys Vet Set contains everything they’ll need for a clean bill of health.
Encourage your little one to be empathetic with this vet set and watch on as they set about to ‘cure’ all of their teddies in one afternoon!
- Small Foot Safe with Play Money
Combine counting and imagination with this fun and realistic safe set!
Watch your child act out bank heists, or simply count and ‘transfer’ money from one account to another. They can also store their own valuable items inside, keeping them in a safe place until they want to play with them again.
Learning can be fun and balancing education with play time is an immersive way to interact with your child whilst equipping them with some of life’s most important skills. We hope that as the summer holidays begin to unfold, you all enjoy the precious quality time that the timely break away from school provides, but don’t forget to keep that learning train chugging along!