Mathematics

Rekenrek Revolution: a fresh approach to simple maths

How can a Dutch counting frame make it easier for a child to learn times tables and number bonds? In this blog I’m going to look at the rekenrek, a simple arithmetical tool that is growing in popularity.  Now, in the decades I’ve spent as a qualified teacher, I’ve seen plenty of changes in the… Continue reading Rekenrek Revolution: a fresh approach to simple maths

Mathematics

Slicing and sharing takes the cake

Children have the right instincts about cake. They’re usually very excited to have some for dessert, and so they should be.  Not only is cake comforting and tasty, but as I’ll explain in this blog, it’s useful too! Serving it is a great way to practise fine motor skills, to learn about sharing and even… Continue reading Slicing and sharing takes the cake

Expressive Arts & Design

When Paper Dolls meet Number Bonds

Paper dolls, or ‘cut-outs’ have been an inexpensive craft and play option for children for more nearly two centuries. They’ve inspired a lot of play since then and some great stories too. I recently discovered that, as with many toys, it doesn’t take much imagination to build a counting activity into paper-doll play – my… Continue reading When Paper Dolls meet Number Bonds

Understanding the World

STEM ideas for early years play

Many parents and grandparents will have heard of STEM in the context of education, but will not know what to make of it, or how to encourage more STEM learning.  This is especially true if you’re caring for a child who is still in their preschool years. In this blog I’ll unpack what STEM means… Continue reading STEM ideas for early years play

Expressive Arts & Design

Construction play: building a child’s creative skills

Construction play with bricks and blocks gives children an opportunity to handle, manipulate and examine 3D objects. Here are some ideas about how you can support those creative play sessions As an early years educator, I’ve always felt that construction play can offer huge benefits to young children, especially when there are no time constraints… Continue reading Construction play: building a child’s creative skills

Literacy

Fun Fridge Phonics: blending simple sounds and reading sentences

Building early reading skills can be simple and fun for children and carers alike. A set of magnetic letters and a fridge door leads to a lot of phonics blending fun... The kitchen is a great place for young children to learn. But those discoveries don’t have to be limited to fun food science, not… Continue reading Fun Fridge Phonics: blending simple sounds and reading sentences

Understanding the World

Chocolate soup! Food science discoveries to get children cooking

It’s never too soon to involve your child in the basics of food preparation. There are so many safe, messy and yummy activities you can share with to get kids cooking. But when do you start to introduce your child to the science of cooking – with what happens when ingredients are combined, heated and… Continue reading Chocolate soup! Food science discoveries to get children cooking

Misc

Best of the Blog 2021: raising a confident, curious grandchild

Here’s a roundup of my best educational content from 2021. It's filled with activities and observations to make learning fun for your child or grandchild... I’ve been reflecting on the many blogs that I’ve written during 2021.  A lot has changed in the past year. My granddaughter Daisy started the year in a Nursery class… Continue reading Best of the Blog 2021: raising a confident, curious grandchild

Communication & Language

Children’s books offer more than just a story

Storytime is a special moment for a grandparents and children alike. Sometimes an idea in a book can spark a child’s imagination and shape their play for hours to come... There is no doubt that my granddaughter Daisy loves books.  Having a book read to her at bedtime is part of her daily routine, with… Continue reading Children’s books offer more than just a story