26 February 2009

Special Needs mentioned at the BAFTAs

I've just viewed this YouTube clip about Justin Fletcher (AKA Mr Tumble) winning a BAFTA for his work presenting on CBeebies and I thought it was great to see him once again promoting integration for children with Special Needs and signing. Keep up the good work on Something Special Justin!

25 February 2009

Press Release: Beanbag Fun to Learn Colours and Shapes

Issued Date: 24th February 2009 For Immediate Release

Beanbag Fun to Learn Colours and Shapes

Learning Colours and Shapes is an essential part of a preschoolers learning as part of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

These sets of Colour and Shape Beanie Bags are a toy that makes learning fun. Children love the bright colourful bean bags which at about ten centimetres in size are ideal for small hands to manipulate and parents love the fact that they come in a drawstring cloth bag for easy storage. Previous customers have commented on the play value, longevity and quality of these items and their ability to withstand mucky fingers!

Some ideas to help children learn shapes and colours using the beanie bags:

  1. Put the bean bags in their storage bags and take turns to take one out and identify it
  2. Spread the bean bags out and see who can find a specified one first
  3. Match the bean bags to the same shape or colour flashcards or objects
  4. Identify colours or shapes by practicing throwing and catching - throw me the red one or catch the square one
Toys and resources to help teach colours, shapes, letters and numbers are available at Littlesheep Learning http://www.littlesheep-learning.co.uk/.

## Ends ## 24th February 2009

Editor's notes
1. For more details, contact Elaine Lambe:

2. Elaine’s website is:

3. Media information is available at:

4. Photographs can be provided on request

24 February 2009

Shrove Tuesday - Pancake Day

Today is Shrove Tuesday and this means it's Pancake Day - so a blog post about pancakes!

Shrove Tuesday is the feast day before the first day of Lent, the period of fasting that traditionally precedes Easter. Pancakes would have been used as a way to use up all of the eggs and fat in the house before observing a period of fasting. These days very few people actually fast during Lent (although the tradition of giving something up for Lent still survives) but that doesn't stop us from enjoying pancakes

Here's a basic recipe for the pancakes, and some ideas for fillings:

Pancake Batter
225g plain flour

pinch of salt
2 eggs
400-500ml milk

Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs. Next take a whisk or fork and start whisking the eggs, gradually incorporating the flour as you go. Then start adding the milk gradually, beating well and making sure that all of the flour is mixed in. Stop when the batter has the consistency of single cream and leave the batter to stand, covered and in a cool place, for 30 minutes-2 hours.

To cook the pancakes, you'll need a non-stick frying pan. Get the pan hot and then turn the heat down to medium. Add a little oil, melted butter or lard, making sure that the whole base of the pan is greased. Give the batter a stir and then spoon some into the hot pan (use a ladle or small cup to make it easier) and immediately turn the pan from side to side, swirling the batter around to cover the base of the pan evenly. You can tip any excess back into the bowl of batter.

Cook on the first side for about 30 seconds - you can check if the underside is cooked by lifting an edge with a fish slice or palette knife - and then flip over to cook the second side. If you're feeling brave, why not have a go at tossing the pancake?

The second side will only take a few seconds to brown, and then you can slide the pancake out to a plate. Either serve each pancake as it cooks or stack them on a plate with greaseproof paper in between each pancake if you prefer. Keep them warm in a low oven or over a pan of simmering water, with a tent of foil over them.

Please make sure children are well supervised when near the cooker / hot oil and frying pans.

The Toppings

A sprinkling of caster sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice
Chocolate spread
Sliced Banana with ice cream
Golden Syrup
Chopped ham and grated cheese
Or use 'ice cream sauces'

So - learning and pancakes...

Making pancakes - this involves many fine motor skills; pouring /scooping the flour and milk, cracking the eggs, stirring the batter, ladling the batter into a pan, flipping the pancake and then squeezing lemons, sprinkling sugar or spreading on syrup or chocolate spread. Not forgetting the numeracy skills of measuring / wieghing / counting the pancakes (or cutting them up to practicing fractions).

Alternatively, have fun making pretend pancakes using rolling out play dough (or colour and cut out the ones on our Resources page) and flip pancakes in a frying pan to your hearts content!

Shrove Tuesday is also well known for Marfdi Gras carnivals so get creative, make opulent hats and masks sticking on coloured feathers, shiny paper shapes and sprinkling with glitter. When finished bang drums, shake shakers and jingle bells and do a carnival dance!

16 February 2009

New Product: 5 Little Monkeys

This Five Little Monkeys lovely song mitt is the latest puppet to join our collection of teaching mitts at Littlesheep Learning.

Designed to fit an adult’s hand, teaching mitts are perfect for using with young children and will provide hours of fun. This one features the popular counting song '5 little monkeys' and will help children join in the rhyme and learn counting skills.

The puppet comes with a card showing the words of the rhyme Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed but it could also be used for Five Cheeky Monkeys sitting in a tree - you can find the words to that rhyme here.

14 February 2009

New Products: Animal Finger Puppet Sets

We are pleased to announce the arrival of three new sets of animal finger puppets at Littlesheep Learning - Farm Animals, Zoo (African) Animals and Zoo Animals finger puppets.

These lovely boxed sets of four animal finger puppets are a great to be given as a gift but are also a great learning tool. The puppets are a great resource for children learning animals names and sounds or beginning to develop role play skills and are ideal for including in story sacks.

Each puppet has elastic at the bottom so that they stay on the finger and don’t fall off and they have corded legs so when you move your finger they can walk! They are approximately 12cm tall.

Home Education Review

I recently posted about the decision by DCSF to launch yet another investigation into home education.

There is a a petition the Prime Minister to to remind his government that parents must remain responsible in law for ensuring the welfare and education of their children and that the state should not seek to appropriate these responsibilities. If you haven't signed the petition please do, http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Homeedreview/

There is still time to add your response to the review (responses need to be completed by 20th February) http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/consultations/index.cfm?action=consultationDetails&consultationId=1605&external=no&menu=1. Many Home Educators feel that it is very important for children to make their own responses to this particular consultation/review, as all the guidances say that children should be consulted, and the NSPCC claims to have consulted children so we need to make sure that HE children voice their own opinions about how Home Education can fit with these 5 outcomes.

There is a very comprehensive response (plus lots more info) on this blog if you are looking for more information Dare to Know: Draft Response to the Review of Home Education.

12 February 2009

What a Performance!

We have lots of new games coming soon at Littlesheep Learning, the first one featured here is What a Performance!
This Orchard Toys game won a Right Start Best Toys Award in 2006 and is great fun for all the family.

The game asks you to perform for example; pretend to be a monkey, make a noise like a firework or wiggle your ears? and if you can't then you, use the magic decoder and reveal your hidden forfeit! Be a star and rise to the challenge in this all-action game.

The game is great for children learning to follow instructions and beginning imaginative / role play, whilst practicing the skills of turn taking.

11 February 2009

Puppets Back in Stock

Just a quick blog post to let everyone know the popular puppet story sets, song mitts and teaching mitts are all now back in stock at Littlesheep Learning - buy yours today!
These puppets are great to assist children's learning, helping them to develop communication, imagination and fine motor skills and by providing a visual aid which makes songs and stories more enjoyable. They are fantastic as a material for acting out stories / the demonstration of different situations and role play scenarios and for including in story sacks.
Check out my Squidoo Lense all about Learning and Playing with Puppets for even more tips and suggestions.

06 February 2009

New Competition - Win a copy of "ADHD The Essential Guide"

We were lucky enough to be given a copy of "ADHD – The Essential Guide" written by Diane Paul to review and give away as a prize.

To enter all you need to do is to answer the following question:

"How many beads are on the Floopy?" and the winner will be chosen at random on 28th February 2009.

See here for more information including terms and conditions.

05 February 2009

Special Offer: The Numberball

This Month at Littlesheep Learning you can save 20% on the Numberball.

The Numberball is a great aid for learning basic multiplication. The set includes two giant, tactile eight-sided dice as well as counters, number grids and timer.

Numberball is a fun and colourful way to help memorise the basic multiplication tables - the colour coded Numberballs and chart make finding the answer easy, and remembering it too! There are many different ways to use Numberball; playing 4-in-a-row, using the timer, filling in the blank chart, or placing counters on the squares all of which help children remember the times tables. Suitable for 1 to 4 players.

04 February 2009

ADHD - The Essential Guide

We were sent a copy of "ADHD – The Essential Guide" written by Diane Paul to review and offer as a competition prize.

This book guides you step-by-step through the action you need to take, giving you answers to all the essential question:

  • What is ADHD and how is it caused?
  • How do I recognise the symptoms?
  • What treatments are available so that I can make informed decisions?
  • How do I get an assessment?
  • How can I get support from my child's school?
  • How can I help my child or pupil?
And it is available for £8.99 from Need2Know Books.

Here is our review...

This book is a great introduction to ADHD and is in written in a very easy to read format meaning that parents and carers are not bamboozled by too much medical / technical jargon. It guides parents and carers through spotting the symptoms and getting a diagnosis before offering information on receiving treatment and finding support. It only gives a quick overview on different treatment options but it offers suggestions of where to go if you want to find out more. It explains the professionals that can help and how to gain support from the school and how to get your child’s needs met. It also looks at the transition to adulthood and has information about supporting adults with ADHD. The book contains a comprehensive list of useful organisations and sources of further information. In summary, this book is a quick read and is an excellent starting point for any parent, carer, teacher or childcare worker who needs to know about ADHD.
Look out for details of our competition coming soon.

02 February 2009

Littlesheep Learning on Squidoo

Do you want to know more about Littlesheep Learning? If so, you might want to read my first Squidoo lens!

For those that don't know, Squidoo is a place where people can write their own pages (lenses) on absolutely anything! It's totally free to use, and is a great place to publicise anything that you care, or know, a lot about.

My first lens is all about Littlesheep Learning. I thought that it was a good place to start whilst I learnt more about Squidoo and I will add some more lenses about specific areas of learning over the next couple of weeks!

01 February 2009

Operation Play Time - Heuristic Play

It's the final day of Operation Play Time -12 days of unplugged play. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading our contributions. If you’ve not had a chance to visit and see how easy it is to start an unplugged habit; what are you waiting for?

The last idea is Heuristic Play. Here is an article we wrote two years ago about
heuristic play and treasure baskets when we discovered them with our middle son. Our youngest is now nearly eight months and into sitting and exploring so today I dug out the box and let him start to explore.