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Language and Literacy

Friday, 24 April 2015 18:23:00 Europe/London

Early Learning, Language and Literacy

My first words

 What can be more important to your child’s development than language and literacy? 

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Comments | Posted in Articles By Susanna Daniel

Pocket Money Toys

Wednesday, 24 September 2014 18:14:57 Europe/London

Pocket Money Toys / Toys for a tight budget

Pocket Money Toys

In today’s current financial climate it is wise to be careful with our cash and the same is true for our children. Children need to learn the value of money and budgeting just as adults do and need to learn that their pocket money can go a lot further than they think. Do they really need that £10 toy when there is something similar for half the price? Can children learn that name brands do not equate quality or value for money? Can we teach our children that plastic is bad and wood is good?.......

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Comments | Posted in Articles By Susanna Daniel

Junior Bucket List: 50 things to do before you are 12.

Thursday, 1 May 2014 15:15:57 Europe/London

Children playing stream

Junior Bucket List: 50 things to do before you are 12.

  1. Climb a tree
  2. Make a daisy chain
  3. Build an outdoor shelter
  4. Go skinny dipping
  5. Make trails with sticks
  6. Create art from nature
  7. Paddle barefoot in a stream
  8. Make a home for wild animals or birds
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16 Comments | Posted in Articles By Susanna Daniel

Making the right choices for your baby's development

Thursday, 20 March 2014 14:45:11 Europe/London

Mr Croak

Choosing the best toys for your baby’s development  

Every parents primary concern after health and safety is probably the happy development of their child. Children need stimulation to be both happy and to develop well. Babies quickly develop a keen interest in the things around them and will use all of their five senses in varying degrees, to figure out their world.  Babies are innately curious and from birth will use their 5 senses of smell, taste, looks, touch and sound.  This gives us as parents a huge responsibility and a fantastic opportunity to ..........

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Comments | Posted in Articles By Susanna Daniel

12 Ideas to keep the Kids Happy When It Rains

Monday, 10 February 2014 18:52:20 Europe/London

girl at window

12 ideas to keep the kids happy when it rains

1. Movie Day

If you don’t have a movie camera then a smart phone will do. Dedicate the day to movie making. It doesn’t need to be staged. Once everyone has become used to the idea of a camera watching their every move, children can film some wonderful candid footage and will often pick up on things that adults would never think of filming. So dedicate the day to film making, staged and unstaged and in the evening enjoy a ‘show’ – plug it into the tv or computer and have a family screening evening.

2. PHOTOGRAPHY DAY

If you feel your child is old enough to loan them your digital camera or smart phone, they can have a lot of fun snapping away. Children often notice things that adults will often miss, like bright colours and close ups. A child’s  photographs, if left to their own imaginations, can often produce some very interesting results. The resulting photos can be printed and put in a scrapbook as a reminder of their day as a photographer.

 

3. DRESS UP AND DANCE!

Do your children like dressing up? Do your kids like dancing? If so get out the fancy dress box if you have one, if not share some of your old clothes, including hats, scarves, skirts and jackets and dress up as a super hero or a miss mash of attire. Turn the music up, create some space and dance until all the children are too tired to dance any more.


 

5. Sleepover Party

Rainy days are perfect for the family to get together and play some games. Why not add to the fun by having a pretend ‘sleepover’?  Everyone puts on their pyjamas then get out some popcorn, pizza and squash, maybe even take it a step further and set up sleeping bags in the living room and play some board games.  Children love it when their parents pretend to be big kids and muck in with the fun.

6. GO ON HOLIDAY!

a.. Tent Making

Allot some space in the house for the kids to make a tent. Give them quilts and blankets; encourage them to use their imaginations to build a tent where they can play... and it doesn't hurt to give the little campers some snacks when they're done!

tent      tent 2

b. Create a Picnic

So the tent is up, it’s raining outside but that needn’t stop a picnic!  Clear an area of floor, spread out a mat, even put up a beach umbrella. All the children can make sandwiches, cut up some carrot sticks, makes some dips and pack them into a basket. It could all be made even more realistic by dressing up in beach clothes and packing a soft ball and beach bucket or other toys. Enjoy the picnic sitting on the floor on the mat followed by a game of throwing the ball into the bucket. The kids will love it!

 

picnic

 

7. COOK UP A STORM.

Get baking and cooking.  Cakes, cookies, a whole meal; whatever you fancy. Clear the kitchen table, put on some aprons and don't be afraid to let the children make a mess (within reason!). The children can help clear up afterwards and their reward is some lovely cake or brownies or home- made biscuits. Recipe ideas here: www.cookingwithmykid.com


 

8. GAMES AND PUZZLES

When did you last bring out a board game or a puzzle? Both make the time fly and provide the whole family with a lot of fun. Even without games or puzzles you can create own DIY games. Try 'Who am I?' where everyone writes the name of a famous person on a card, sticks it on the forehead of the person on their right who must then ask questions to guess who they are. Charades also makes a great family game.


9. MAKE MUSIC

Get out a variety of kitchen utensils, pots, pans and accessories and let them create their own little steel band. Pepper mills make great maracas or you could try putting dried beans and pasta inside empty plastic bottles to see what different sounds can be made. The good thing about this activity is it requires little input on your part - simply lay everything out and let them go for it!

 

10.  Puppet show

Challenge your children to make sock puppets and put on a show. Remember to video tape it!

11. ORIGAMI

The original Japanese art of paper folding is a great way for kids to get creative and beautiful pieces can be made from very simple folding techniques. Once the basic idea of origami has been mastered more complicated models can be made. . If you already own an origami book, dig it out and teach your children how to start making basic figures and shapes. You can also try searching the web for ‘how to’ instructions on origami modelling. Try Origami for kids.  

 

12. CARD HOUSES

Grab a pack of cards and teach your child how to build a stackable card house. You can make it fun by setting a timer or competing against each other to see who can get the tallest house before all the cards fall to the ground. Alternatively make it into a game; take it in turns to add a card. The person who makes the stack fall loses.

 

Do you have a great idea not listed here? Something original? If so send your idea to enquiries@smartstart-toys.co.uk titled 'Blog - Rainy Days'. If we like it and print it, we will give you a £10.00 voucher to spend with us online.

Comments | Posted in Articles By Susanna Daniel

What is Phonics?

Monday, 27 January 2014 19:50:03 Europe/London

Children reading

What is phonics?

Phonics is a method of teaching children how to read and write.

It's all about sounds. There are 44 sounds in the English language, which we put together to form words. However, although phonics will help with basic first reading skills, as with other areas of the English language, there are exceptions. Therefore once the basic phonic sounds are remembered and recognised, progression in reading involves repetition and familiarity of words.

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Comments | Posted in Articles By Susanna Daniel

Kids Car Games

Below are various ideas for games to play with children on long car journeys; no toys or props required! So put away the electronic toys and portable DVD players and get the whole family having interactive fun in the car.

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Comments | Posted in Articles By Susanna Daniel

Whatever theme you select for your child's birthday party, with a little creativity you can adapt any of the games listed below.

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1 Comments | Posted in Articles By Susanna Daniel

What is a Baby Shower?

Tuesday, 3 January 2006 00:00:00 Europe/London

If you are thinking of having or organising a Baby Shower you'll probably know that Baby Showers are an American phenomenon and have only recently arrived in the UK.

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Comments | Posted in Articles By Susanna Daniel

Baby Sign language is Fun for Everyone

Monday, 2 January 2006 00:00:00 Europe/London

British Sign Language (BSL) is one of the commonly used languages within the deaf community in the U.K. Baby sign language is based on BSL and is taught to parents and carers to communicate with hearing and deaf children and to babies as young as 8 months old. 

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Comments | Posted in Articles By Susanna Daniel

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