Misc

The Best of the Blog in 2020: making learning fun

It goes without saying that 2020 has been the most tumultuous year in the short life of this blog, which I started in 2017 with a focus on sharing my experiences and play ideas following a career in teaching and early years education. But then, it has probably been the most tumultuous year in living… Continue reading The Best of the Blog in 2020: making learning fun

Communication & Language

The joy of cooking together with your grandchild

Whenever my granddaughter Daisy comes to stay with me, her visit creates a series of highlights in my day from early morning cuddles to evening bath times.  These special moments now regularly happen in the kitchen. As she’s grown older and more independent, Daisy has discovered that, if she drags her little red chair over… Continue reading The joy of cooking together with your grandchild

Mathematics

Measuring up: teaching children about non-standard units

Measures – we adults use them every day and all day, responding to our alarm clock in the morning and checking our pedometer step count at the end of the day.  On a daily basis, we use measures for time, distance, weight, temperature, volume and capacity, and that’s before you consider the more ‘abstract’ measurements… Continue reading Measuring up: teaching children about non-standard units

Understanding the World

When screen time meets playtime

During the precious summer months with our granddaughter Daisy, we experienced many fun days of play followed by relaxing time ‘down time’ together; during those special, cosy periods we might watch Sarah and Duck on TV or find something downloaded on the family iPad to watch. It was during these moments that I realised just… Continue reading When screen time meets playtime

Expressive Arts & Design

Mixing it up: paint, pumpkins and primary colours

Eighteen months ago, when I first set up a new painting easel for my granddaughter Daisy I made one big mistake. The art paper roll was correctly fitted, the brushes were ready, each paint pot was full and the easel stood out on the lawn, ready for Daisy to begin her artistic endeavours.  So what… Continue reading Mixing it up: paint, pumpkins and primary colours

Mathematics

Weighing up Autumn produce – a seasonal activity for preschoolers

As the English seasons roll around, the pumpkins and squashes are piling up in the supermarkets, and the conkers and acorns are falling from the trees. Although I’ll dearly miss the longer days of summer sun, autumn is a season that always brings special experiences to our family.  From the Harvest Festival to Halloween, Autumn… Continue reading Weighing up Autumn produce – a seasonal activity for preschoolers

Expressive Arts & Design

Back to the magnetic drawing board

There are few things more exciting for a grandparent than buying and presenting a toy to a beloved grandchild, and watching it being incorporated into their imaginative play. As an educator, I find it especially interesting to observe which toys ‘catch on’ with a child, and crucially when they catch on. Sometimes a toy doesn’t… Continue reading Back to the magnetic drawing board

Communication & Language

Double the fun – playing with pairs to develop and encourage children’s speaking skills

When was the last time you learned a new word? Maybe you had to look up some newly coined piece of internet slang, or found yourself stumped by an obscure answer to a crossword clue – either way, opportunities for adults to expand their vocabulary are limited unless we seek them out.  But for a… Continue reading Double the fun – playing with pairs to develop and encourage children’s speaking skills

Understanding the World

Take your child on a smartphone safari

As my four-year-old granddaughter Daisy learns the fundamental skills needed for her early years – from numeracy to phonics to healthy eating – she’s becoming increasingly curious about how adults go about their business. Her curiosity extends to all of the specialised tools and equipment that we grown-ups use for our hobbies: the giant bamboo… Continue reading Take your child on a smartphone safari

Mathematics

A Numberblocks Numberblog: reaching One Hundred

Mathematics can be a tricky subject… for grownups. Unfortunately, many adults grow up to think of maths as tedious at best and intimidating at worst. It’s not helpful to be confronted by this feeling when we’re faced with unavoidable tasks, such as measuring up a room or working out our share of a restaurant bill.… Continue reading A Numberblocks Numberblog: reaching One Hundred