29 April 2008

Triangular Pencils

Littlesheep Learning has just taken delivery of some new slim triangular pencils alongside our popular jumbo triangular pencils. We started stocking the jumbo triangular pencils as a replacement for the Berol Handhugger Pencils which unfortunately have been discontinued by the manufacturer and are pleased that they have been as popular among our customers.

Several customers with older children who still require a triangular pencil commented on the thickness of the jumbo triangular pencils which led us to look at other options and we are now pleased to stock the slim triangular pencils. These slim triangular pencils are preferred by the Handwriting Interest Group and are ideal for writing and drawing activities - they have a standard thickness break-resistant HB lead.

24 April 2008

Case Study Requests

I have some friends who are writing a book about how to look after your relationship when your child has special needs and they are in need of people to complete questionnaires and be case-studies. Here is the full request if you feel that you can help them:

Antonia Chitty and Victoria Hill are looking for parents to help with their research for a book is about how to look after your relationship when your child has special needs.

If you have had a baby (without special needs) in the last few years, we have a short questionnaire to help us find out about the impact of having a baby on parent's relationships. Please email mail@antoniachitty.co.uk with BABY in the title.

If you have a baby or child WITH special needs, we want the book to be packed full of case studies of parents talking about their experiences, good and bad, and how parenting a child with special needs has impacted on their lives. If you don't mind sharing what you have been through, to help other parents, please email mail@antoniachitty.co.uk with SEN in the title.

Thank you very much for your help: we hope this book will be a really useful resource in a neglected area.

I hope that you can help!

23 April 2008

2 - Two Little Dicky Birds

For the second of our number rhyme posts we are featuring the rhyme 'Two Little Dicky Birds'. This is a very short and simple rhyme - if you don't already know it, here are the words;

Two little dicky birds sat on a wall,
One named Peter, One named Paul,
Fly away Peter, Fly away Paul,
Come back Peter, Come back Paul.

Some activity and learning ideas based on this rhyme - looking at the number two, birds, walls, and the entire rhyme are featured here:

The Number 2
Now we've got past one we can start counting - 1,2! Again play with
number bean bags , foam / magnetic numbers and number flashcards / number fans to learn to recognise the number and practice drawing / painting or chalking the number two.

It is also a good place to start to look at teaching children quantities in relation to the number - so look for things that come in pairs; for example, socks, shoes and gloves or just collect groups of two objects - two teddies, two cups, two toy cups etc,

The Birds
There are many activities involving birds.

Firstly spend time looking in your garden or a local park - see how many birds you can see, older children might enjoy identifying magpies, pigeons, sparrows, blackbirds, starlings, bluetits etc. You could also look at what birds eat and start having a bird table in your garden so you can feed the birds.

Draw or colour pictures of the birds you see - there is a
FREE bird colouring page available at Littlesheep Learning (drawn as a robin but could easily coloured as a sparrow, bluetit, blackbird or whatever takes your fancy!).

The Wall
Build walls using different types of bricks - Lego, wooden blocks, cardboard boxes or anything else you can think of! Look at the overlapping pattern needed to stop your wall falling down.

Look at house bricks and make rubbings using paper and wax crayons.

Use a wooden block, a Lego brick or a sponge to paint a wall - dip your item into the paint and then print the bricks onto your paper - don't forget to make the bricks overlap!

The Rhyme
The rhyme is a very simple finger play - teach your children the following actions;

Two little dicky birds sat on a wall [use the index fingers on each hand to bend and flex like bobbing birds]
One named Peter [wiggle left hand finger], One named Paul [wiggle right hand finger],
Fly away Peter [put left hand behind back], Fly away Paul [put right hand behind back],
Come back Peter [bring back left hand / finger], Come back Paul [bring back left hand / finger].

Also, enact the rhyme by covering a small box with the brick rubbings / printing and stick two bird pictures on cardboard tubes and move them on and off the wall (you could use finger puppet birds if you have them).

Or just make a Two Little Dicky Birds collage by making a wall of your printed bricks / brick rubbings and sticking two bird pictures on the top.

22 April 2008

Customer Feedback

As always it's lovely to get feedback from Littlesheep Learning's customers - I arrived back from a weekend away to an e-mail from a recent customer with this feedback:

"I just wanted to say what a brilliant service you provide. Being emailed the status of the order is a fab idea. The goods were received within a few days which is great."

Feedback like this makes it all worthwhile!

Do let us know what you think about our services or add your reviews of our products to the site.

Carnival of Family Life

This week Littlesheep Learning has had a one of our blog posts accepted into this week's Carnival of Family Life - check out this Carnival for lots of exciting links.

If you didn't already know a
Blog Carnival is a blog community with Blog Carnivals typically consisting of a collection of links pointing to blog articles on a particular topic or theme. They are like a magazine; with a title (topic), editors (weekly hosts), contributors, and an audience. Each edition is itself a blog article that consists of the links to all the contributions submitted, often accompanied by commentary, remarks and/or opinion offered by the editor (host). As the title suggests, the Carnival of Family Life features family-related articles on a weekly basis.

Blog carnivals are great for discovering other blogs you might find interesting - if you have a family related blog, why don't you consider
submitting your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Family Life.

16 April 2008

Number 1 - Hickory Dickory Dock

Hickory Dickory Dock is a popular nursery rhyme that contains the number one so it seems a good place to start for this series of number posts.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the rhyme it goes like this:

Hickory Dickory Dock
The mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck one (DONG!)
The mouse ran down
Hickory Dickory Dock (tick tock tick tock)

There are lots of activities that you can do using this rhyme as a theme. You can focus on the number one, the mouse or the clock. Here are some ideas for you:

The Number 1
Obviously as this is the first number we don't need to practice counting up to 1 but it's a good place to mention that counting and number recognition starts here! Play with number bean bags , foam / magnetic numbers and number flashcards / number fans to learn to recognise the number. Draw / paint / chalk the number one - as a straight line down it's also one of the easiest numbers to learn to write.

The Mouse
Make a finger mouse puppet - make a cone from a piece of card and add ears, eyes, a tail and whiskers. Talk about mice generally - what noise do they make, where do they live, what do they like to eat etc.

The Clock
Make a pretend clock - use a paper plate or a circle of card to make the clock face, write on the numbers, make some hands to turn using some card (don’t forget the minute hand is longer than the hour hand) and attach them with a paper fastener. Look out for clocks - how many different ones can you spot?

Check out the range of telling the time items available at Littlesheep Learning if your child is older and interested in learning more about the the time.

The Rhyme
Attach your pretend clock to a box and make a grandfather clock and use your mouse finger puppet to act out the rhyme.

One, Two, Three, Four, Five - Stay and Play with Numbers

I thought I'd do another series of posts based on the Stay and Play sessions I have recently attended with my children. Last term the sessions were based around numbers so this series of posts will be looking at number songs and rhymes - I hope you find it useful and get some great ideas to share numbers, counting and other numeracy skills with your children.

11 April 2008


I've just been reading a report about some research into the role of dads in bedtime reading by the National Year of Reading.

According to their research less than half of dads (42%) say they regularly read bedtime stories to their children, while mums are twice as likely (76%) to do so, despite bedtime reading being one of the best ways of establishing the reading habit in children. The main barrier (58%) cited by dads was work pressures including stress and long hours, while a lack of confidence meant one in ten felt the role was better suited to mums.

The study of over 2,000 adults was conducted by the National Year of Reading and YouGov as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the pressures dads face and the impact this has on children’s reading habits.

39% of dads think a better work / life balance would help them read more to their children
33% of dads think employers should do more to help parents read to their kids

A recent report conducted by the National Literacy Trust also found that while three-quarters of children said their mum encouraged them to read, only half said the same of their dad. Sadly, nearly a quarter of pupils stated that no-one in their family encouraged them to read.

Honor Wilson-Fletcher, Director of the National Year of Reading, said:
“Reading has never been more important, but we know boys lag far behind girls when it comes to reading. Boys need to see their dads enjoying reading if they are to become readers themselves as they grow up. Football programmes, blogs, newspapers and sports magazines are just as valuable reading as fairy tales. Reading is the best private investment you can make in your child’s education, it’s free and makes you feel like the best parent on earth. Just spending ten minutes a day reading something you enjoy with your children can make a real difference.”

Secretary of State for Schools, Children and Families Ed Balls said:
“Reading opens doors to everything in life, from applying to jobs to enjoying your favourite hobbies. Getting your children - both boys and girls – to be passionate about reading is something all parents can do. Reading to your children for ten minutes at bedtime is the best way of improving our kids’ chances when they get to school.”

The National Year of Reading is calling on all large employers to make their workplaces more reader-friendly. There are a host of simple, practical challenges for businesses including:
  • Turn old smoking rooms into a staff reading area
  • Adopt-a-book for all staff to share
  • Create a book swap shelf for children’s books at work
  • Encourage staff to join a library
  • Encourage night shift workers to pre-record bedtime stories for their children

For more information about the Year of Reading, and to find out more about how your business can support reading both at work and at home, visit: http://www.yearofreading.org.uk

10 April 2008

New Articles!

I've written another article for Treehugger Mums, this article is about the use of puppets to support children’s learning and how to make some of your own.

There is also a new article at Littlesheep Learning. This article is the first in a series of new articles looking at Self-Help / Independent Living Skills. The Dressing Skills article is full of helpful information and tips to help you help your child learn to be indpendent in the task of dressing themselves.

Our top suggestions for encouraging your child to learn dressing skills are:

Start with simple clothes without fastenings, for example jogging bottoms and t-shirts.

And Keep it fun - using teaching aids such as the Fabric Skills Book.

I hope you find these articles useful.

05 April 2008

Spring Competition

Enter Littlesheep Learning's Spring Competition to win a set of 10 in the Bed Song Mitts.

Designed to fit an adult’s hand, song teaching mitts are perfect for using with young children and will provide hours of fun. This pair of glove puppets feature the popular counting song '10 in a bed' will help children join in the rhyme and learn counting skills.

To enter, simply email us the answer this question about one of the products sold in our shop:

What number is shown on the dice?

Competition closes at midnight on 18th May. See our Competitions page for full terms and conditions.

03 April 2008

April's Special Offers

To celebrate the winning entry in our 'Write a Review' Competition this month's special offer at

Littlesheep Learning means you can save a third off the RRP for all the Usborne First Experiences books. Unfortunately stocks of some titles are getting low so this offer is only available whilst stocks last - check out your order today!

The collection of First Experiences stories, are fantastic for introducing young children to situations they might find themselves in for the first time. They feature Stephen Cartwright's illustrations full of things for children to look at, learn from and talk about.

01 April 2008

Competition Winner - 'Write a Review' Competition

The winner of a copy our 'Write a Review' Competition is Stephanie, who wins a copy of The Usborne Book of Everyday Words for her review of review of the Going to the Hospital book from the First Experiences series.

Stephanie says:

"I have bought a few of these books because I do find they help my son before a new situation. He had to go into hospital for a little operation and this book helped him know what was going to happen and what to expect."

Rating: ***** [5 of 5 Stars!]