Educational games for kids: Clothespin Drop!

| Guest post by Education.com

Sometimes it can be difficult to find educational activities for children that are both fun and engaging. Sometimes your child will just want to play, not learn and play at the same time.

However an online website called Education.com offers a wide range of learning resources for children from preschool to primary school age. They offer fun and educational games, worksheets, stories, songs and activities like the one they’ve given me below.

I am more than happy to present to you “Clothespin Drop” – an educational game that will help preschool-aged children to learn about colours, sorting, pattern matching and counting. I have also added a couple of alternative suggestions, just look for the pink text below to see what they are. I haven’t changed much because it’s pretty good the way it is; a why-fix-it-if-it’s-not-broken kind of thing.

I’ve been wanting to give this game a try as it looks so cool but I haven’t gotten round to doing so with LO as work’s been busy (will be more so in the lead-up to summer!). I hope you like the activity below – if you decide to give it a try, let me know! Education.com may be providing me with more games and activities to offer you guys so keep an eye out for them as they’ll be exclusive to this blog. 🙂

If you fancy checking out there other games, visit their site:
www.education.com/resources/geometry/


The Greenwich Mummy | Educational Preschooler Activity: Clothespin Drop

Activity: Clothespin Drop!

Age: Preschool children

Encourage your preschooler to practice color recognition, counting and pattern matching with this fun and colorful clothespin drop game. This is a great way to get your child excited about learning the basics of math.

What You Need:

  • 5 Coffee cans (or Bisto gravy cans or anything else similar)
  • 5 Sheets of construction paper (red, orange, yellow, green and blue)
  • Clear tape
  • Scissors
  • 25 Wooden clothespins
  • Tempera paint* (red, orange, yellow, green, blue)
    *you can also DIY with some egg yolk and food colouring – cheap & cheerful
  • Markers
  • Paintbrushes
  • Stopwatch, or digital clock

What You Do:

  1. Help your child cut down each piece of construction paper to the size.
  2. Roll one color of paper around each can and tape it in place.
  3. Have your child tell you which color is on each can, while you write the name of the corresponding color onto the paper.
  4. Ask her to separate the clothespins into groups of 5.
  5. Have her paint each group of clothespins a different color. Let dry.
  6. Line up the cans on the floor in a row, in the center of a room.
  7. Scatter the clothespins, mixing the colors around in the cans.
  8. Encourage her to see how quickly she can separate the colors and put them in the corresponding can. Time her to see how quick she is!
  9. Dump them out again and mix them up. Tell her what her last time was and shave off a few seconds. Yell, “Go!” and have her re-sort them. Yell, “Stop!” at the end of the time allotted. Did her speed increase? The more she practices, the faster she’ll get!
  10. Practice creating patterns by timing her as she places clothespins in the colored tins in a specific order. As she continues, try to introduce more complex patterns.

Enjoy!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog by Manny Ngo

Gender Labelling: “Purple is for girls”… why hearing this really rattles my cages

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Gender Labelling: Purple Is For Girls

purplehorse

I don’t usually write posts like this and usually leave the serious stuff to the better writes but I just wanted to share some of my thoughts and opinions on gender labelling.

Last week LO and his cousin Lils were playing with the Paw Patrol puzzle my friend Coco got LO for Chirstmas.

The next thing I heard come out of Lils’ mouth was:

“purple is for girls” 

I stopped my instagram surfing to look up and say in defense, “Purple is not just for girls. Purple is for everyone“.
Yes. I made sure I placed heavy emphasis on everyone. This is because it’s not the first time it’s happened.

There’s been other times when they’re playing together – happy as Larry – before my little nephew decides to tell LO that something he likes is “for girls” which really pisses me off. It’s something that I’m a little hypocritical about because I don’t have a problem with buying Baby Girl pink clothes and LO blue clothes when he was a baby BUT (and that’s a big but) I would not avoid ‘boyish’ colours for her and I certainly didn’t avoid ‘girly’ colours for LO. In fact, LO had a few pink, pastel and purple baby grows and shirts. Maybe not a whole pink outfit but he had touches of pinks etc in his little wardrobe. Continue reading “Gender Labelling: “Purple is for girls”… why hearing this really rattles my cages”

Parenting: Potty Training

Potty Training

LO is now 2 years old and competent at using the potty when his nappy is off and we’re at home but it’s a completely different story if he’s clothed or if we’re outside. Poor thing, I don’t expect him to know how to use the thing properly until next year or so but I know that many parents from our previous nursery have started getting their little ones to use it.

The thing is, LO has been using the potty on-and-off since he was about 18 months. The nursery staff had advised us to stop as LO was getting the hang of it some days but then other days wasn’t – I guess they thought it was too stressful for him and told me that “many children in toddler room (we were in baby room at the time) weren’t even potty-trained so we shouldn’t have to worry about it”. I took that advice and only encouraged LO to use it when he wanted to which seemed to have worked out well for us. LO is now more dry during his naps and at night which makes me think he may soon be getting used to using the potty properly. However he’s just moved to another nursery nearby so we’re holding off any major changes at the moment to make the transition to a new nursery less stressful but I am telling you, I CANNOT WAIT until he can be nappy-free! 🙂

LO’s current potty chair

We currently have a cute little potty that looks more like a chair (see above – from Ebay approx. £7) which seems to have suit LO very well. Recently, when we were over at my sisters he took a real interest in my nephew’s potty, just the standard one, so I’m thinking to “upgrade” him to a new one as this one’s becoming a bit of a snug-fit for him. Although, the other idea I had was to get LO a little step and small toilet-seat fitting to go over the main toilet and get him to use that but it might be a challenge so I will probably see how he goes with a new potty then later get him to use the big-boy’s one.

We are still on our potty journey but here are some things I found along the way that were pretty useful (and still are!) to me:

Children’s Books
There’s a whole range of children’s books available at the local library on using the potty, I found one just the other day! If there is no library near you head down to any shop that sells children’s books such as The Works, WHSmiths or go online. I found this cute book for LO at The Works on potty training for about £3. It even has a little ‘cheer’ button you can press to celebrate potty-success.  🙂

Books to encourage using the potty

Songs & Rhymes
I (well, LO actually stumbled across them) found this potty-training songs on Youtube which I think are fantastic. They teach the children about using the potty and praising them, but also it teaches them not to be scared if they make mistakes which is a great lesson. There’s quite a few you can watch but this one with the cute panda is my favourite!



BabyCentre
The BabyCentre website is a great little site for me. They have a page dedicated to potty training and there’s an extensive list on everything about potty training including tips.

What I personally love the most about BabyCentre is the fantastic online community. You’ll need to register before you can post on the forums however there’s literally a forum for every birth month as well as other hot topics such as potty training so you can easily find what you’re looking for advice-wise from other mums using tried-and-tested methods. If you have a burning question, simply post it up and someone will be sure to comment to help you out or refer you to a current post if there’s something similar with loads of advice on.

Manny | The Greenwich Mummy Signature

My Thoughts On Being A Beanstalk Reading Helper…

Beanstalk | Read. Grow. Succeed.

My Beanstalk children are now officially on their summer holidays (they broke up last Friday) and I just can’t believe how quick it has gone! The children have all done so well, I can’t be more proud of them. I think even though we’ve only been reading for about 2 months, I feel that some of them have really developed their confidence. You can read my first post on volunteering with Beanstalk here. One of the children told me a couple of weeks ago that they enjoyed reading so much that they actually read a book by themselves in class and even occasionally wanting to read with the teacher. I was so happy to hear this.

Beanstalk
Photo Credit: Beanstalk

We always divide up our time with reading and playing games to make things fun but these last few sessions we focused mainly on games and read a smaller book which the kids found quite fun. We played everything from Scrabble and Uno to “Houses” and Naughts & Crosses. One of the children quite liked my improv word-search games which was pretty cool. I remember there was a day that the children had to cancel their sessions as they were having their room transitions so I’d left the word-search on the hand-held whiteboard for the next day. Upon my return I could see that someone has been playing it which I think was really sweet. 🙂

Charities like Beanstalk are always in need of volunteers to help out, you can find out more about the role and how to become a volunteer Beanstalk reading helper

I love my volunteering days and am so glad that I decided to take it up. I’ve always felt drawn to teaching, training, and mentoring so I felt like this role was not only beneficial for the children but also for me which is extremely rewarding. If you’ve ever wanted to volunteer why not go and do it?!I can’t wait until I see the children again in September and see how they have been getting up to. I hope they are continuing to read at home during the holidays too. I’ve got a few more games I’ve thought up to try with them when they come back to the school term. In our last week of reading, we all read a role-play book that had let us act out the characters. The children really loved this so I want to find some activities like this or maybe even try to get the children to create their own stories for us to act out in September. Woop woop – exciting times ahead! 🙂

If you want to find out more about Beanstalk or want to volunteer, you can click the link at the end of this post. Ciao!

 

http://www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk/

Twitter: @BeanstalkReads
Facebook: @BeanstalkReads

Mummy Loves… Grafix ABC Flash Cards

The Greenwich Mummy Loves...

Flash cards. They’re a great learning tool, especially for children. Most flash cards will have a picture of the word on one side of the card and the word in text-form on the other. This is my third pack – first and second got stolen from me by my cheeky little nephew, Lils.

These Grafix ABC flash cards are from Tesco’s for a measley £1! Seriously, learning doesn’t get any cheaper than that. It’s aimed at children from 3+ but to be honest, I never really look at these age ranges. Your child shouldn’t be limited by the standardised age labels as every child is different and learn things at different ages. Some are faster than others and some take a little longer. From the first and second time I bought this pack, I knew what it contained and knew that LO can recognise around 40% of the photos. There’s 52 cards in total from A to Z (two cards for each letter).

ABC Flash Cards

ABC Flashcards | The Greenwich Mummy

The cards have the word and picture on one side, and the other side has the word only. Children that are slightly older would be able to use these cards as a game. Simply show the card to your child(ren) with the picture side up and cover the word (this encourages the children to guess what the picture is). With LO, all I do at the moment is show him the picture side and he tells me what they are. As he can’t read yet (although he can distinguish some letters) he just shouts out what the picture is. A game I was thinking of playing with him when he’s a bit older is to group the cards by their food groups i.e. group all the vegetables together, group all of the living room objects together, etc.

LO loves to learn so I am very glad that he responded well to these flash cards. I also think that by encouraging him to learn new words at home gives him the opportunity to develop his knowledge of objects and things as well as improve his memory as he may be able to remember the new things he’s learnt when he sees them in real life. I’m hoping to get him a few more educational games such as puzzles and memory games to give him the best start in academia.

Manny | The Greenwich Mummy Signature

Teach Your Child Another Language With Bi-Lingual Books

The Greenwich Mummy | Multi-lingual Family
Our multi-lingual, multi-cultural family

Okay, so I’m Vietnamese and Daddy’s Congolese (French-speaking) means that LO is a little multi-lingual machine. He’s mastered baby-English and fully understands Vietnamese but can’t speak it yet, and can grasp a few phrases in French and when I ask him “ça va, Kaleb?”, to which he replies “oui, maman” – so adorable! 🙂

That’s when I had my light-bulb moment – I need to get LO learning French now while it’s still easy for him. Mastering three languages can become difficult as he gets older so the saying “the sooner the better” really is actually true in the case of learning languages. I headed down to my local library and picked up two bi-lingual books (French/English) that I really liked the look of. I chose these two specific books as they’re not too bulky, have lots of pictures that accurately tell the story of the book, and (of course) were super-easy to read as I am a little rusty with my French.

bilingual books

The book on the left, “Lucie Chat a la ferme” is all about a cat named Lucy who went to visit her local farm one Sunday. She saw ducks, chickens, and lots of other animals. I really loved this book as the back of the book had a little picture dictionary of keywords in French and English, and it also showed me how to phonetically pronounce the words. This came in really handy as I don’t want LO’s French pronunciation to be terrible like mine haha 🙂

The book on the right titled “Miam-miam! Allons manger!” is all about different families and their country’s popular dish. I loved it as it’s great for teaching LO about diversity, different countries and their cuisines. For example, there’s a Spanish family eating paella, a Japanese family eating sushi, and a  Moroccan family eating cous cous and tagine. At the end of the book, the author recaps the different families and their country’s flag. This helps me to teach LO about countries as well as food and culture.

I highly recommend these books but there are loads of bi-lingual books available from local libraries that there’s simply no need to purchase your own… unless you feel like you need to own the books or really don’t fancy picking up the occasional tattered book then go ahead, buy your own. To be honest, most of the bi-lingual books are kept in really good condition and many popular children’s books including “The Giant Turnip” are available in a wide range of languages from Punjabi to Chinese to Polish. So even if you don’t speak another language but still remember a few Italian/Spanish/French words from school, get one of these books out and brush up on your story-telling in another language. 🙂

Have fun reading!Manny | The Greenwich Mummy Signature

Pretend Play: Boys, Tea Sets And Teddy Bear Picnics

The Greenwich Mummy Blog

LO loves playing and there is nothing that he loves more than pretend/imaginative play.

He’s been learning about cooking at nursery and I had a light-bulb moment and thought “why not buy him a tea set?” – I knew he would love it and when we had our first teddy bear picnic at Toddler Sensory (read about it here) he loved it so much I wanted to give him that experience again but at home.

So when I was shopping, I came across this cute little tea set from Tesco (£3) in red and blue and thought it would be great for him. I know there shouldn’t be any gender discrimination when buying children’s toys however I just didn’t want him to be teased for having a ‘girly’ tea set.

The Greenwich Mummy | Role Play: Boys & Teddy Bear Picnics

As soon as I showed him the tea set his eyes lit up. I asked him if he wanted to have a teddy bear picnic with mummy and he happily said “yes” so I got out his bedroom bears (mr. monkey, bear, and moose) and we had a lovely teddy bear picnic and I showed LO how to make the tea and how to use the kettle properly. He even made all of the sound effects from the water pouring and the tea slurping. Super cute! 🙂

Pretend play is very important for any child’s social development and it has also been said to improve their cognitive development. This journal I found online takes a deeper look at high-quality pretend play and children’s cognitive development and shows that there is a positive link between the two. Problem-solving, negotiating, and social/linguistic skills can all be improved through pretend play.

So what does that mean for us mummies (or daddies)? It means it’s time we start purchasing tea sets, play food sets, dressing up costumes, and toy cash registers for our kids to play with whether they are a little boy or little girl because it’s good for them. Plus, grab a friend to bring their child along and the kids will be so immersed in playing with each other you’ll have a chance to relax and have a cup of tea (that’s actually hot for once!). 🙂

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My Top 5 Youtube Videos For Babies & Toddlers

Don’t get me wrong, I love books and reading. LO and I love going to the library and picking out new books to read however sometimes it’s a little inconvenient for us to leave the house especially if it’s horrible weather outside or LO’s been cranky and ‘in a mood’ as he hasn’t had his afternoon nap. Youtube is our saviour.

Youtube is a marvellous site and you can without a doubt find a-million-and-one children’s videos that encourage learning through pictures, song and rhyme. LO and I have sat through so many videos (not in one day of course!) and I have found that the ones he’s most drawn to are these educational ones.

So here are my top 5 Youtube learning videos I think that babies and toddlers will love to watch based on what LO loves to watch. You can expect all the popular nursery rhymes as well as some not-so-popular ones too. The colourful objects, catchy songs and repetition will leave your children certainly capture their undivided attention, leaving you with enough time to get all the other things done without any interference – bliss!

Who knows… you may even find yourself singing the songs or knowing all the words too by the end of it all… Enjoy! 🙂

Signature2

1. Busy Beavers

2. Little Baby Bum

3. Baby Big Mouth

4. Kids TV

5.Super Simple Songs

Learning Through Play Is A Wonderous Thing!

It’s simply fascinating how quickly children learn new things! LO is 19m and is already starting to know his colours, alphabet letters, numbers and shapes. He can’t put together a full sentence but if he knows what the thing is he’ll say it, he will point to the tiny plane in the sky among the clouds and will say “pane” or “air-pane” and occasionally make the sounds of the plane engine. (so cute!)

Daddy got him this toy from VTech called ‘Push & Ride Alphabet Train‘ a couple months back and LO was just riding on it, pressing all the colourful buttons and flipping the pages of the plastic built-in alphabet book. Only now he has been able to recognise what some of those pictures are and can tell me what they are. He still has trouble with putting the little alphabet blocks in their slots because they only go in a certain way and gets really frustrated when he can’t do it.

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LO trying to place the alphabet block into its rightful place

Sometimes it’s almost painful to watch as his tantrums can include throwing himself backwards onto the floor and banging his head on the laminate flooring which doesn’t look (or sound) good. I battle with myself all the time with thinking “should I run over to him and help him?” or should I just leave him to calm himself down from his tantrum? Most times, I just leave him to it… I hope that doesn’t sound like bad parenting! (It’s more like exhausted, drained-out parenting.)

I am very glad that we have this little train though, LO just does so much with it! He sits on it and rides it like a train. The train can be separated into two parts so LO can just push around the first part so it’s like a baby walker but we don’t do this because he’s over walkers now, he prefers trains and cars. 🙂 When his cousin is around they try to play with the blocks together, and there is a button that enables sound so you can switch it off when you want which is ideal when you have heap loads of work to do and need a bit of time to concentrate.

Loads of stores will stock this train including Tescos, probably Asda and Argos and of course all major toy stores. we got ours from our local Smyths store on sale for under £30.

NB. This post contains affiliate links

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