29 October 2009

Featured in the TGF Christmas Gift Guide

We are pleased to announce that the Orchard Toys game Crash Bang Wallop has been featured in The Green Familia Christmas Guide as a suggested stocking filler for children
Do take a look at the rest of the list too - and keep checking back for the rest of the TGF Ethical Christmas List to get lots of Christmas gift ideas.

27 October 2009

Fine Motor Skills - Finger Rhymes

I was reading Melitsa’s blog post about finger rhymes and it reminded me how finger rhymes and action songs can help children develop their fine motor skills. Copying finger movements will strengthen muscles, increase dexterity and help children develop control of fine motor movements.

From as young as six months babies will love action rhymes like Round and Round the Garden, Pat-a-Cake, or This Little Piggy Went to Market. These songs and rhymes are great for encouraging interaction and whilst they are starting to hear these songs and see the actions they will start to join in.

One of the easiest motor actions in songs and rhymes is clapping and one of the most popular songs is "If Youre Happy and You Know it" which also incorporates the gross motor actions of stamping feet and nodding your head. Other songs which involve clapping are Clapping song, We All Clap Hands Together and Open, Shut them. Other favourites action songs and rhyme, Insey Winsey Spider and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,

Songs that can include a multitude of actions eg Copy me are great for introducing new motor movements as the repetitive nature of the song makes it easy for children to learn and then they can use imitation skills to practice new motor skills.

Other favourite ones with small children are Two Little Dicky Birds, One Finger One Thumb, Tommy Thumb, and Two Fat Gentlemen, and as Melitsa says bigger children might like the finger play Here is the Church.

What are your favourites?

26 October 2009

Personal Customer Service

One of the things I like about owning a small business is that when you get a request from a customer - for example "If there is any chance of any of the order being yellow, great. It is my little boy's favourite colour! Any incentive to write is good!" as the note accompanying an order for triangular pencil grips we can usually fulfil our customers wishes.

12 October 2009

'Suitable' home education review

My home educating friends have alerted me to yet another review challenging their way of life and I thought it was worth writing a post about it.

The government is to commission a review into what a "suitable" and "efficient" education means for home educated children in England. Contrary to popular belief there is no legal obligation for children to attend school - but there is a responsibility of parents to provide an education that is suitable for their age and aptitude. The government has now decided in response to a report into home education, that they need a clearer definition of what is required.

I think this seems crazy - how do you prove whether something is suitable - what are the outcome measures? Is there actually any proof that HE children receive a less suitable education than those same children would have received in school and does anyone actually assess whether a child in school is actually in the most "suitable" and "efficient" school for them (rather than the one their parents have picked for their convenience) - and actually as it is the parents responsibility to provide it why do the government really care?

07 October 2009

New Article - Sensory Play in Autumn

We are pleased to announce that an article we have written about Sensory Play in Autumn has been published at TreeHugger Mums - do take a look and tell us what you think.

05 October 2009

Children's Book Week

This week (5th-11th October) is Children's Book Week. Children’s Book Week is a celebration of the enjoyment of reading for children of primary school age. Schools, libraries and bookshops all over the UK hold events and activities aimed at encouraging children to view reading as a source of pleasure, explore libraries and bookshops and even start writing themselves.

The aim of Children’s Book Week is to celebrate reading for pleasure. Designating a special day or week for book-related activities can help children to see reading as pleasurable and fun, stimulating them to discover new books, extend their reading choices, discuss and share books, explore libraries and bookshops, and do their own creative writing.

02 October 2009

Road Safety

In our School Newsletter there was a plea for us to make time to enforce the "stranger danger" message to our children and make use of this link http://www.personalsafetyadvice.co.uk/what-stranger-danger.html so I thought I would share the request!

There is also a feature on the Keeping Healthy, Staying Safe DVD-Plus about Safer Strangers which is well worth a look and you can role play with our People who help us puppets.

01 October 2009

Spooky October Offer

October is the traditionally the month for all things spooky and whilst most of the things we sell at Littlesheep Learning do not fall into this category we are delighted to announce that our Magic Cauldron Game is our featured product for the month so you can celebrate Halloween with spooky sums and save a third off the usual price!

This Orchard Toys Game is a unique way to make learning addition and subtraction exciting! Fill bubbling cauldrons with weird and wacky ingredients as you solve the sums. Check the answers by rubbing the heat sensitive 'ghost' patches on the cards to see if you are right. For 2-4 players. Ages 5-8.