31 October 2008

28 October 2008

Wikki Stix Activity Ideas

What are Wikki Stix?
Wikki Stix are waxy sticks which look a bit like pipe-cleaners. They are made from a combination of a strand of acrylic, hand-knitting yarn and a microcrystalline, food-grade, non-toxic wax. Wikki Stix stick to smooth surfaces (like the Wikki Stick boards included in the Activity pack or onto white boards) and to each other. They are a colourful, tactile, sensory and engaging product that can be used in many different ways.

Who can use Wikki Stix?
Wikki Stix can be used by children and adults alike. Their non-toxic nature means that they are safe even for children who may try to eat them however their use should be supervised. Wikki Stix are also great for children with various disabilities – they are fun for children to manipulate and can be used to help children develop their fine motor skills, their clean mouldable nature makes them an ideal ‘fidget’ toy and their ability to make 3D pictures makes them a great resource for children with sight difficulties.

How to use Wikki Stix
There are endless uses for Wikki Stix so use your imagination to see what you can create however we have included some ideas here:

During pre-writing activities, Wikki Stix can be used to create patterns and mazes to draw between. They can also be used make raised edges to colouring pictures to make colouring inside the lines easier. In handwriting exercises, Wikki Stix can be used to make a raised border margin to show where to start and stop on the edges of the paper, or to make raised lines to prompt letter placement and size. Wikki Stix can also be used to create boxes to write letters / numbers within. Different colour Wikki Stix can be also used to add prompts of where to start and where to stop. Wrapping a Wikki Stix around the base of a pencil can also be used as a grip and a reminder of how to hold the pencil. Placing a Wikki Stix under the top of the paper will help prevent slippage during writing and drawing activities.

Wikki Stix are also good for kinaesthetic learning activities. Once patterns / letter and numbers have been created they can be traced with the finger to practice the formation. A fun game is to try to identify letters, numbers or shapes by touch alone.

Playing with Wikki Stix can help develop a range of creative skills. They can be moulded to form shapes, letters, numbers and pictures. As they are easy to peel up and reposition modelling with Wikki Stix is virtually ‘mistake-free’ which helps build self-esteem. Wikki Stix are a quiet and creative fidget tool, providing a calming effect which may help children better focus on classroom activities. Wikki Stix may help generate verbal interaction, as children create while using them. This may also be helpful in the development of social skills, through tactilely engaging play.

In literacy activities, Wikki Stix can be used to highlight parts of words or a sentence. A Wikki Stix cut into shorter lengths can be used to show the division of words into syllables. Different colours of Wikki Stix can be used to code types of words in a sentence for example red = adjectives, blue = nouns and green = verbs or divisions of compound words. Wikki Stix can be used to loop or underline responses for example; words that rhyme, have a certain ending or include certain sounds.

In numeracy activities, Wikki Stix can be used to teach concepts of long and short, as well as maths symbols. They can be used as counters, to demonstrate place value and also for patterning and sequencing.
Wikki Stix can also be used to improve independence and self-help skills. Wikki Stix can outline the area where an item should be placed, for example a cup on the table or toothbrush on the shelf. A Wikki Stix threaded through the hole on a zip and twisted makes it easier to pull up and down with the Wikki to hold onto improving independent dressing skills.

Buy Wikki Stix!
Wikki Stix are part of a range of Fine Motor Activities available from Littlesheep Learning.

27 October 2008

SENDIST Tribunals

I've just had this email - so thought I'd spread the word...

Dear all,

Please sign the petition at http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/SENDISTtribunals/. It is imperative that we protect special needs children and their families' right to appeal for choice in special needs education.

Should the proposed new labour government regulations go through it will create even more distress and potential financial hardship for families who are in desperate need of help not hindrance.

Please encourage all your friends, family and colleagues to sign up too!

23 October 2008

New Product: Wikki Stix

We've recently added the Wikki Stix Activity Set to our range of Fine Motor Activities.

The Wikki Stix Activity Set contains 48 brightly coloured Wikki Stix, a dry wipe board to use with the Wikki Stix, a reusable bag and a storybook. Wikki Stix are coated with a unique patented wax formula, they stick to almost any surface and each other with just fingertip pressure. A great resource for fine motor activities - mould them, bend them, shape them, use them to 'edge' handwriting lines / colouring sheets or for creating tactile raised pictures.

Look out for an article soon about some of the many uses of Wikki Stix.

18 October 2008

Special Educational Needs – A Parent’s Guide

I've just received information about this great book written by two fellow Work at Home Mums (WAHMs) to help parents who have children with special educational needs so I thought I would share it with you.

As many as one in five children may at some time need extra help with their education, but does this mean they have special educational needs?

Antonia Chitty and Victoria Dawson’s new book, Special Educational Needs - A Parent’s Guide, brings together the facts on special educational needs, looking in detail at the different types of additional needs and how parents and carers can cope with them in daily life.

Find out which professionals can help, how to get through the ‘system’ and gain support, how to handle behavioural difficulties at home and school, and how to get the best education for your child’s needs. The different types of SEN are explained and accompanied by handy checklists to help you look at a child’s behaviour and start the diagnosis process. Practical issues such as family life, sleep, education, housing and finance are also an integral part of the books.

Whether you are worried about your child’s development or work with children and want to know more about the area, this book contains all the facts about the world of special educational needs including the contact details for sources of help.

Discovering your child has special educational needs can leave many parents feeling unsure of where to go for help. This practical guide will spell out clearly how to deal with the problems special educational needs present.

Published by Need2Know – the imprint of People’s Publisher Forward Press that focuses on overcoming real life problems – Special Educational Needs- A Parent’s Guide is available now from the Need2Know website (www.need2knowbooks.co.uk) or by calling 01733 898103 or emailing
sales@n2kbooks.com. Also available from Amazon and bookshops. Buy Special Educational Needs Now Price: £8.99.

14 October 2008

New Products: Maths Games

We are very excited about the arrival of several new numeracy games.

First we have three different lotto based games - Fraction Action Lotto, Times Table Lotto and Tell the Time Lotto. These lotto games contain 4 boards (4 by 4 grids) and 64 cards in each set.

Players pick a card and take turns to try and match them to their board, the first to complete their board is the winner.

The games are designed to suit different levels of ability; the first level being simple matching and the second level being matching equivalent cards. The card pieces can also be used as a equivalence memory matching pairs game or as flashcards.

Secondly we have three new Snap games; Fraction Action Snap, Money Snap and Tell the Time Snap. These great snap / matching pairs game to help children learn these mathematical concepts.

The cards feature different representations of the concepts - find two that are equal to find the snap pair. The card pieces can also be used as flashcards for children learning about fractions, money and to tell the time.

13 October 2008

'Write a Review' Competition

Do you want to win a Knickerbocker Glory Game? This is a great first dice game where you race to make a colourful, fruity knickerbocker glory by colour matching or counting.

To enter all you need to do is to write a review of one of the products sold at Littlesheep Learning. You will get one entry for the draw for each review that is accepted and the winner will be chosen at random on 11th November 2008.

To write a review of a product, log in (you may need to create an account if you don't already have one), choose the product to review, click on 'Write Review' and add your review!

Please note: We will accept reviews of products we stock even if you haven't bought them from Littlesheep Learning.

12 October 2008

New Products: Magnetic High Frequency Words

We are pleased to announce the arrival of these Mega Magnetic Words to enhance our range of reading resources. We are stocking the key word sets for both Reception children and those in Years 1 and 2.

This set of large Reception Magnetic Words contains the first 45 High Frequency words which every child is expected to recognise by the end of their Reception school year as part of the National Literacy Strategy.

Building onto the Reception Magnetic Words pack, the Years 1 and 2 sets list the remainder of the High Frequency words which every child is expected to recognise by the end of Key Stage 1 / Year 2.

10 October 2008

National Bookstart Day 2008

Today is National Bookstart Day and the theme is Pirates Ahoy!

Bookstart, run by the independent national charity Booktrust, encourages a love of reading for reading’s sake; helping children in the earliest stages of their development to associate books with pleasure.

Posters, bookmarks and stickers have all been illustrated by Debbie Harter and over 500,000 free copies of ‘Pirates A-Hoy’ by Debbie Harter and Oscar Seaworthy will be distributed across the country.

There will be a special launch party taking place at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, featuring pirates, stories and games, and an appearance by the Bookstart Bear Pirate and thousands of families from across the UK will be invited to take part in a range of activities in bookshops, libraries and a range of venues, to highlight the fun of book-sharing. These will include rhyme times, appearances from the Bookstart Bear, pirate-themed adventures as well as song and story-telling sessions. This year, National Bookstart Day supports the National Year of Reading, who shares their aims of encouraging a love of reading in all its forms, from a young age.

Rosemary Clarke, Head of Bookstart said “National Bookstart Day is about reminding every family to make book sharing a regular part of their daily routine. Enjoying stories, songs and rhymes is a wonderful way to encourage children to be confident communicators and eager learners and children who enjoy books every day do far better when they start school. All the family can join in, including dads, and share the fun that books can bring."

This is the seventh annual celebration of the book-gifting programme, which gives three packs of free books to every child in the UK. The website http://www.bookstart.org.uk/ enables parents to enter their postcode to look up National Bookstart Day events taking place in their area.

Bookstart works with libraries, health visitors and early years professionals to give the gift of free books to every child at around eight months, toddlers and pre-school at around three years of age, along with guidance materials for parents and carers. Bookstart seeks to promote the importance of books and the benefits sharing books with babies, such as parental bonding and promoting emotional intelligence, as well as building good communication and listening skills, and helping to lay the foundations of early literacy. Bookstart also aims to foster a love of books through a range of fun activities like Bookstart Rhymetimes and the Bookstart Book Crawl.