With Little Man about to go into his preschool year at nursery, I am thinking about ways in which I can support him and get him ready for school next year. I want him to be off to a good start there, simply because I think that if the basics come easily to him, he can concentrate more on the social side and getting used to being at school all day. I do want to keep all learning fun and not be pushing him, my son is definitely not one to be pushed!
So with this all in my mind, I was happy to receive a timely invitation from the team over at Learning Resources to take a look at their range for preschoolers. I had been really impressed with the Nancy B Moonscope for Boo, and when I then dived in to look at toys for Little Man, so many caught my eye I struggled to choose. From Snap Cubes through to Gears! Gears! Gears! I’d say there were over a dozen toys and tools that appealed, though in the end I settled on these two…
Mini Muffin Match Up Maths Activity Set and Tactile Letters
Mini Muffin Match Up Maths Activity Set
Encourage early maths skills at home with this engaging cake themed activity set!
Cake themed activity set provides a variety of games to help reinforce early years maths skills
Choose from a selection of sorting activity inserts that fit into the bottom of each pan
Pan inserts cover activities to help encourage:
Children develop fine motor skills as they use Squeezy Tweezers to pick up the muffin counters
There are so many different ways to play with this set, it is hugely versatile. We can focus on the colours or the numbers, and then we have number recognition with the dice and counters along with fine motor skills practice with the tweezers. The set comes with a little booklet with several suggested activities to keep us busy, and we’ve also invented our own games with it.
Little Man LOVES it! Look at him concentrating there! He loves using the squeezy tweezers and it is actually focusing him on his number recognition. He counts well and quickly, but has been reluctant to learn what the numbers look like, but this is motivating him and he’s come on very quickly since we started playing with this set. He’s been strong with his colours for some time, and these are all so bright and appealing, as well as looking rather cute.
Having 60 different coloured muffins also gives us so many options with creating our own maths puzzles going forward, as his understanding develops, so I can see this being a long-lasting activity for us to play. It’s very good quality and stores away easily in its box.
A tactile way to practise letter recognition and formation.
Practise letter recognition and formation.
Trace the shape with a finger by starting at the dot and following the arrows; go wrong and the rough texture provides sensory input for self-checking
Sturdy plastic letters can be used in all types of messy play
Includes 26 pieces and a multilingual activity guide
Letters measure 10cm x 7cm
Little Man is not very interested in these on their own, though we are getting creative with them. Whether it’s because they are clearly letters and learning (I’m telling you, he eschews all attempts to have to ‘learn’!) or perhaps because there is less of a game involved. We have used them with play doh which was more appealing to him, and I plan to use them in an ice excavation game soon and jelly play, which I think he’ll love. From my point of view, it’s very useful to have a set of letters as we learn and these are durable and allow for plenty of game play options as well as drawing round them, copying them, tracing them with our fingers, placing them to spell and so forth. I can see us getting plenty of use out of them, I just need to use them in fun ways to ensure that my son is engaged.
I can see us spending lots of time with both of these activities in this coming year and beyond. I hope they will aid number and letter recognition and my challenge will be to keep Little Man interested in learning. I know the sort of homework that he’s then likely to get in Reception, and I’m sure both of these items will come into play for us when that time comes, too. They are well-made, durable products so I have no doubt we’ll get lots from them.
Disclosure: We received the products FOC, though all words and opinions remain my own