I absolutely love spending time with my children doing something as a team or learning together .
Turning off the t.v and computer is like a magical moment that needs to happen more often as we sometimes find interest in things that we would not normally enjoy.
Over the past couple of years , we have found a great interest in puzzles both large and small and because they're suitable for all ages and have so many different themes or collections , we can always find something new .
This month we were sent 'Puppy Dog Pals , 24 piece Giant Floor Puzzle' which to my youngest son was a great excitement .
My youngest son Joshua is currently 2 years old (nearly 3) and we are going through the fine motor skills learning of building and putting things together as well as taking things apart and so puzzles are a fantastic lesson for him not only visually but also physically.
Ravensburger's Giant Floor Puzzles are great fun, me and my boy sit on the floor and can spend a good hour or so putting them together or merely just looking at each individual piece and allowing him to become creative in his own little way , he even builds little houses with them as the pieces are rather large and chunky and sturdy to hold.
The older children often whizz through these puzzles pretty fast so we try to hide away to allow him some time to learn for himself without them being there taking over as they normally would and once he has the idea and knows the puzzle he then brings in his older siblings to show them how clever he is putting it all together .
The floor puzzle is only a 24 piece in this case so I feel this is aimed more towards the younger children ages 3 to 7 , but the older children such as my 12 year old loves Puppy Dog Pals so really enjoyed this and actually requested we put it in a frame for her bedroom when we were finished with it .
This puzzle is so cheerful and bright that it fits well in our large family home and actually looks fun with a little resemblance of my own mischievous pups .
With Bingo and Rolly riding out with their Auto Doggie robotic friend , they look like they could be up to all sorts of adventures , but what are they going to get up to and where are they going?
It brings a great script of imagination to a child's mind once they complete the picture and see the final reveal and if you know anything about the two characters or even if you don't , you can see they are going to seek plenty of fun and thrills wherever they go .
The Ravensburger ' Puppy Dog Pals Giant Floor Puzzle' is a wonderful family puzzle that can be played with time over time and because its made with quality it will last those smaller hands longer .
What puzzle will we try next?
Come back and find out soon.
*We were not paid for this review , all opinions are honest and based on our own experiences and thoughts.
Our 2 year old loves vehicles , his favorite are motorbikes but he is currently expanding his favorites especially now that his dad is a bus driver and we are getting out more and he is seeing more and more different variations.
Last year we visited a banger show , it is basically old and reused , scrap cars that have been put to a working order that they pretty much race in then at the end they crash into each other seeing who's last til the last one standing and he was overjoyed watching them .
I myself have never really had a thing for fast cars but my husband is obviously where he copies his love from on this occasion and we' tend to have to buy different vehicles on our every trip to the shops . Last week his dad bought him a huge dumper truck and yesterday it was paw patrol sea jet pack boards , anything that moves and travels gets him moving too .
Brio sent us the Push and go Racer aimed at ages 12 months and when my son seen it he was straight away very pleased with his post.
At only £15.99 it is a lovely toy that gets those little legs moving .
I love that this toy does not need any batteries and comes in just one whole piece meaning nothing is going to be lost or misplaced .
Usually I would find toys that are solely wooden especially when it comes to Brio vehicles as this is what I am used to seeing but this is rather different and has a variation of different materials making it look fantastic .
While the driver is made from wood, the body is made form plastic and the wheels of rubber as well as the racers backrest of metal , all of which high quality and hard wearing meaning even those tough little hands will be hard to break it easily .
The whole concept is just as it says , you simply push down the driver (the wooden figure inside the car) and release and watch it go .
The racer goes quite fast compared to others I have previously owned especially on carpet , I find they tend to slow down or become stuck but this little racer worked fantastically .
Being that the Push and go racer goes quite fast along the floor means that as soon as you release the car , your little one loves to race after it .
We are loving all Brio toys and have not found one yet that we feel lacks in quality or stimulation to our children's senses .
My youngest son is now 34 months and the world around him is becoming an adventure .
He is literally into everything and anything that moves and makes a sound and he seems to be engaging in toys for longer periods of time if he finds a true interest .
At the moment our little boy has found his brothers interest of watching YouTube and loves to watch musical and educational videos and if I were to let him he would stay watching them for hours on end but sometimes I feel all senses need to be used and so I try not to have him watching most of the day and encourage play more .
We are lucky to be able to have a home educating room which also doubles as a toy room and so we spend most of our day (if not out) in the room building his imagination and learning through play which I thoroughly enjoy seeing and I have to admit that with help from some fantastic toys that are available , I believe he becoming a very smart little boy and when we received this in the post it really did make me feel so proud.
Lets Take a little look -
Brio sent us the Play and learn musical caterpillar aimed at children over the ages of 24 months .
This cute and adorable looking little insect requires 2 AAA batteries (which are not included ) and costs £34.99.
This product comes with 5 pieces -
You also receive instructions to replace batteries , a Brio leaflet showing you a small catalogue of their products and you also get a lovely little leaflet of musical instructions and different combinations that make the board come to life.
I remember being in school and working with circuit boards but it only came about when we were around 8-9 years old and that was mainly due to the small pieces of wires and batteries that were involved. We probably were only allowed to at this time as we were more likely trusted not to swallow anything that was harmful whereas at a younger age we were putting everything in our mouths and at one point I distinctively remember taking apart the battery compartment of my doll and swallowing the screws that kept the compartment closed and even more strangely and unfortunate I even swallowed a furry caterpillar when really little when I held it in my hand and being all excited by my discovery I took a deep breath while holding it up to my eyes to take a closer look and losing my New found friend forever, it devastated me and since then I've always encouraged my children to be inquisitive and enjoy insects. Lately it has all been about digging in our soil and preparing it for our new planting that we are going to be doing at the end of this season and we found some gorgeous caterpillars and worms in our garden , especially due to the fact we have a rather large allotment consisting of hundreds of cabbages and other various vegetables which attract lots of butterflies and caterpillars .
I love how this reminds me of my younger years in many ways for good reasons.
Combining technology and learning can be a hard balance for children at a toddler age and I find many products concentrate more on the technology than that of the learning side of things . My son loves his IPad but that use of over stimulating his eyes and mind in vision and basically making him stare into oblivion is something I do not like seeing so this toy is something I really love.
Not only is this toy bright, cheerful and colourful stimulating the eyes along with the added features of it lighting up with every movement and added block but it is also stimulating in sound with 10 different songs that it plays depending on the 10 different circuit patterns made by placing each wooden block into each of the spaces available on the board.
The head and tail of the caterpillar are attached to the board always and are the only light up features which flash along in tune with the song playing at the time. The wooden blocks have a magnet on the bottom of each of them which triggers the circuit hidden inside the board making it work and give out a tone for each placement but only when the head is connected in full circuit to the tail and joined up will it play a full tune.
It was so exciting to watch my only 2 year old son looking at the musical instruction leaflet and following the patterns and making it flash and play a tune , you could see his face light up with achievement .
I love to see a reward at the end of an achievement , especially when he was doing it all on his own and seeing that if he does something as instructed , he can achieve results .
We absolutely love the Play and learn musical caterpillar , I can see this being a hit with the younger children that visit us in our home and even the older children have had fun with it too.
What do you think of the Brio toys, will you be taking a peak at their range or do you already own some of their educational toys ?
Over the past couple of years my children have built a lovely selection of Schleich Toys varying from from Wild Life, Farm World and Horse club and now they're all excited about the new Eldrador Collection .
Schleich have just released some completely new products named the Eldrador creatures collection and I have to agree that we're all very excited to see how this is going to be expanded .
There are four worlds to the Eldrador world :-
Each world has their own sets of creatures :-
The lava creatures have the super weapon. So that they can hold on to its power, they plan to incinerate the other worlds with infernally hot lava.
The inhabitants of Eldrador’s ice world want to take power into their icy grip. Help the ice monster, snow wolf and ice dragon make their enemies freeze with terror.
Hard as stone: the stone skeleton, cave bear and stone monster are lining up against their foes. They want the super weapon – and you can help them!
In the water world, the monster kraken, monster fish and sea monster are getting ready for battle. Dive beneath the waves and fight by their side!
Whats more exciting is that there will be two more creatures released on the 18th September together as a set called the Battle for the Super weapon which will include Frost Monster and Fire Lion as well as the Legendary Super weapon itself.
We were very lucky to have been offered and sent our very first figurine to get us started with the new dimension which is the Stone Skeleton with Weapon.
Stone Skeleton comes with a weapon and costs just £13.99 .
Stone Skeleton has movable arms and removable weapon which makes play all the more fun with his high detailed paintwork and pose able stand.
Our Rather fierce looking fella here was brought back to life by the bright green crystals that he holds and it is his life support , without the green crystals he would not survive the after world as his Skeleton Self .
His powers are turning his victims into stone using the Crystal on his Flail (weapon) and then making those stones obey his every demand for a short while ,which enables him to create an army , he is very powerful for a Skeleton and if he loses his weapon for any unfortunate reason , the spikes on his body Armour can do just as much damage , that is if your able to get close enough .
Everyone has a weakness though and fortunately for his enemies , Stone skeletons weakness is the cold as it makes his bones rattle , he hates the cold so you can imagine when the Ice creatures are near , it causes quite a battle .
My son absolutely loves the creatures of the new Eldrador world from Schleich and because it the figurines are aimed towards children aged 5 plus , it means he can enjoy them with his brothers both younger and older.
Personally I do feel the reason for the age limit is due to the weapons being small parts but also due to the figurines rather slender build compared to all of the other creatures in the collection.
We are really excited to start our world of imagination and fun with our Eldrador creature and can not wait for the new upcoming releases to help us build our world into an even bigger battle zone of ice, water, lava and stone .
If you need to find out more you can visit Schleich to see what else they have , there is so much more to explore and create.
*We were not paid for this review , all opinions are honest and based on our own experiences and thoughts.
At the beginning of the Month, I sat and wondered what our next subject was going to be and as always Twinkl had their Topic and events calendar filled with ideas.
This section on their main menu is always my first check list for upcoming subjects in which I find myself building projects for to keep the children refreshed and ready and when I came across an event called VE Day , I knew it would bring a whole new and wonderful area of questioning and learning for the children so I got set on preparing their work and by the time I had it all printed out and ready for them to start on 1ST May , I had a whole World War 2 project filled with many interesting facts and resources to last us the two weeks I initially wanted to use to cover the subject for .
After finding our subject I got straight onto our Work And Show wall which I added into our new Dining room (new classroom).
We have one wall for displaying our work and one wall for the white board which my father in law was so generous to give us last month so work is more organised and the children love being able to see their finished projects when complete or in progress.
We are still trying to get our room just right for them but now they have plenty room , I just need to work on the storage side of things for their work and resources.
You can always find great ready made Display banners and borders to add onto your wall to get started but Twinkl have a lovely feature where you can create your own which is sometimes a really fun task for the children if they like to get a little artistic , after all it is their wall , so why not allow them to design it ?
Picking one subject to work on throughout the week is always the easiest way for me to get the children to work in all other areas such as math , English, science , social studies, health and well being , expressive arts, technology, history and geography as well as many other areas.
To be fare I do not use the feature such as Home education and tend to use the search bar which is the quickest way to find my way to finding everything I need usually .
By typing the subject name in the search bar , (in our case World War 2 ), an array of wonderful work ideas come right in front of you ready to download or print for use now or later on .
A great feature in Twinkl is that they tend to have many lesson plans for people like myself who home educate or for teachers and so while it is sometimes hard to know everything (and I am sure most do not), I'm not very intelligent myself so I tend to learn with my children and we do everything together meaning when someone has a lesson plan there for you it makes things a lot easier to organize and understand as well as giving you , the teacher more time to sit and help the children with the work . Twinkl have some fantastic plans their and ready to print and download for all areas and abilities on their site and we found around three which varied in types or resources and activities for all ages of the children to enjoy so I worked from all of them on this occasions , bouncing from one sheet to another , keeping them all busy and full of learning , usually I would only use one though.
I find starting with a timeline always brings a great starting point and helps the children to understand the subject and what we are about to be talking about and these are always a great first activity that are usually ready for you depending on what subject your looking for , we printed ours out and put it straight onto the wall so they could see it at all times .
We needed to learn all about who was involved and where it all happened so we looked at Allies and Axis, the main people who fought in the world war 2 and looked at each countries differences in culture, their flags, their places on the map and even their National Anthems , the children chose a different country each and researched them on their own using books and online resources that were freely available to them .
During their first week they looked at the timeline, who the Allies and Axis were and where it all happened and also the Evacuation .
There were many available resources and activities but the children loved their math project which involved building a Respiratory box for the gas mask that their uncle had also hidden away to borrow us for this subject.
They learned about Anne Frank, watched her movie as well as Goodnight Mr Tom and Carries War and built shelters.
They wrote letters and diaries imagining that they were children in the war being evacuated or hiding in an Anderson bomb shelter and learned that life back then was very different to what it is now .
On our second week we looked at Rationing and what woman's roles were.
They learned that food was not as available as it is today and jobs were more hours with less pay and so the recipes were a little different to the ingredients they get so easily today .
Lord Woolton became a great area for us and they learned all about the 'Dig for victory campaign' and the 'make and mend schemes' that were brought in during the World War 2 era.
They made propaganda posters to show of their artistic sides for rationing and also getting people to help fight the wars and they learned some fantastic sentence building with modal verbs worksheets and Newspaper articles that they had to create.
They now know that woman and men were brought up very differently from the start of a young age , even in schooling to what they are now , they understand it used to be very stereotypical to our now very equal living these days.
We have had a fantastic fortnight on our subject thanks to Twinkl and their resources and can not wait to share with you our next display .