Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The benefits to puzzles

I have fond memories of doing puzzles when I was younger and always enjoyed doing them with all my family on a Sunday evening. I'm sure parents will not argue that children's jigsaw puzzles is truly an educational toy for toddlers and preschoolers. They have been around for a long time. Yet, it's often considered to be more superior compared to most recently-developed child educational toys. This is due to the fact that puzzles are low in cost and children rarely loose interest in them.

Puzzle enhances your child's development by:
  • It improves hand-eye coordination since children will have to fit the pieces together properly.
  • It develops logical thinking.
  • It develops pre-reading skills by enhancing the ability of children to recognize shapes.
  • It helps to develop children concentration.
  • It enhances social skills such as taking turns and working together
In this regard there are 3 things which have to be looked at when shopping for child jigsaw puzzles:
  • The easiness to match the piece with the hole in the board (for single-piece jigsaw puzzle) or to each other (for more-than-one-piece jigsaws).
  • Number of pieces.
  • Durability and ease of handle
If you are a home based childcarer like me you could also try and aim to purchase puzzles which link in with their interests, topics and multicultral images.

We have been sorting out our puzzles this week and plan to put some a side which were missing pieces to make some crafts like these below. I have a problem with throwing things away so I will be hunting through pinterest for some more ideas. 

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Friday, 22 August 2014

Meeting Xeno

Yesterday we took the children to London Zoo to see one of the new toys set to be a hit the shops this Christmas. Xeno, the cheeky little monster who normally lives under children's bed braved a trip around London before visiting the zoo for his own launch party. 

Xeno is an interactive toy with 10 different emotions, 50 eye expressions and 80 tailor made sounds which change depending on his mood and how you play with him. Xeno loves to be tiggled and will dance any music you play to him. With 8 different sensors in his little body Xeno is able to fully interact and even play a selection of games with you. A great addition to this toy is the app which is free to download and open's up a new way to interact with him. 

As a new member of the company Flair Xeno costs £79.99 and is available in Ultra Violet, Pacific Blue and Burnt Orange. When I first laid my eyes on Xeno I'll admit I was a little put off by his snotty nose but once I got to know more about him the kids and I were very impressed by his many talents!  

All three of my children were very taken by Xeno, P and Little man enjoyed playing the games on the app and using his sensors to play with Xeno and Tinnie enjoyed giving the baby monster a cuddle and watching him move and talk. 

To find out more you can watch the new Xeno ad below or visit the website 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Product Review: Playmags 3D Magnetic Building Blocks

I first noticed Playmags on Pinterest and fell in love with the idea of them. Playmags are coloured transparent tiles of different shapes and size with magnets around the edging allowing the tiles to be stuck together to build amazing structures. 

We have been enjoying Playmags in our setting over the last few months. When they first arrived we decided to use them a resource which would be kept at the children’s height to allow them continual access to use alongside other loose pieces. We had no idea how popular the Playmags would be but the children have been using them in a wide variety of ways every day since we first received them from Designs For Education.

Playmags can be ordered in 100 or 150 pieces and come with instructions on how to build some simple structures. We used these instructions as a way to get the children used to using them which to start with were a little frustrating for them.

After a while the children came up with their own way of playing with the tiles, building the tallest of towers and a train track around the room.

A few weeks on and the Playmags have started to be incorporated in play with other materials and used in a range of ways. Watching how the children use the tiles to make their own art has been the most interesting to me. They worked out that they could use the tiles to mix colours and create interesting shapes on the light table, through a window or reflecting onto the floor.

The Playmags have been a wonderful addition to the resources in our setting and as robust quality toys I’m sure their uses will continue to expand. They have proven to be great resources in helping children’s spatial awareness, problem solving abilities, logical thinking and mathematical reasoning.

Playmags are available from Designs For Education from £77.00
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