Please note: Some items have been gifted from Learning Resources UK, however there was no obligation for a review and I’d already bought many items from them before we gratefully received these items too 🙂 For clarity, I’ll highlight which are the gifted items.
I’m going to start by telling you not to put pressure on yourself to do what you think you “should” be doing – you know what’s best for your family, whether it is routine, free-play, homework, screen-time or activities, or a mixture of all of them – we all are in a crazy world right now and so need to get through this in whatever way works for you and your family.
I’m sharing this as we have now finished 12 weeks of homeschooling, before she returned to school full time again ahead of the summer. I know returning for school isn’t for everyone, so please be kind – it just works so much better for us as a family and Lily thrives on the peer interaction – mentally we have already noticed a huge difference in her.
12 weeks ago I definitely hadn’t realised the pressure of juggling home schooling and home working, and I wrongly assumed that I would have it nailed! Lily has always worked best with a routine, and so I had pre-plans of a full timetable to run aside my work, but I soon realised that my work doesn’t stick to any timetables, and nor did Lily.
By the end of the first week, I realised she was super focused on learning in the mornings but then was happy with plenty of free-play with role play and crafts in the afternoons, so my original timetable quickly went out the window!
Her school set her some fantastic work, but I supported this with some of our own activities to keep her focused and provide quick distractions when I had to take work calls – particularly as her motivation seemed to drop the further we went into lockdown! Finding ways of keeping her learning without her realising was the only way to go!
I hope sharing some of these fantastic resources from Learning Resources UK can help with keeping learning at home fun, whether you’re looking for ideas for homeschooling, supporting learning after school, or are looking for ideas before your children start primary school.
Please note, these are from Learning Resources UK as I bought many of them in one of their fantastic sales just before lockdown, and then were very kindly gifted others too, but these are genuine reviews based on what we own for her, not an ad!
These have been a great way to support her maths and I know they will be with us for many years as there are so many uses. From learning basic numbers and basic addition through to multiplication as they get older, they’ve been great to set her quick sums, and use alongside her number sticks to add where she didn’t know the answer using just the numbers.
They are also helping with her number formation thanks the the raised arrows, as she often gets the numbers back to front when writing them herself, and I know they’ll be great as she gets older to help with the more complicated sums too.
Where is Howie’s Owie?
Howie’s Owies were one of my best impulse buys in the Learning Resources sale just before lockdown! Lily is obsessed with plasters, so not only is this great for free-play, but also with her learning too.
The magnetic side lets you put on magnet plasters, so I’ve been setting her challenges to finding body parts with certain sounds, and then there’s a wipe-clean board on the other side to practise writing them too.
Snap n Learn Number Bugs
From counting the dots to recognising the numbers, these are a fun way to help with addition. We even integrate this into a physical activity through getting her to pick number bugs and skipping with her skipping rope to add the numbers. She loves ladybirds, so have been a great way to help her learn – and as a little scavenger hunt by hiding the bugs too!
LRUK also do these in other animals such as sheep, owls and dinosaurs too – really worth checking out for a fun way to learn adding and counting!
Pretend & Play Cash Register (gifted)
Who doesn’t love playing shops?! This till has been one of the best things she owns, whether this is playing shops with us, or playing independently. She particularly loves the calculator on it to help with her adding, the little notepad to make up shopping lists, and the pretend money to help her with recognising real notes and coins.
She loves it for all kind of roleplaying- even setting up her own mobile library with it too!
Soft Foam Phonics Dice
We have the Phase 3 soft foam dice as they are the trickiest sounds for her to be learning right now, however I do know these come in different stages for different sound and letter recognition too. They are a lovely size to make them fun, rather than smaller dice, and great for playing games to practice the sounds.
There are so many uses for these, but Lily’s favourite has to be the basketball, when we used them as a ball in her little net, and she had to tell me the sound it landed on 🙂
Lily has always loved tape measures and always asks to use ours when we are measuring up the garden or spaces in the house, so getting her this was a no-brainer!
Not only does she love measuring EVERYTHING she can find (from all her toys to random items around the house!), it is also a great way to get her to practice her numbers, sizing objects and keep her occupied for hours too!
Playfoam (some gifted, some bought!)
This stuff is amazing! There are so many uses for it, and it never dries out – ever! You can mould it, build it, just sit and play with it… or even use it as part of learning by helping to count or making planets with it too!
Lily can sit for hours to play with it as well as integrates it into role play by making “cakes” to sell in her shop with her till! She also loved the Colour By Playfoam unicorn set which can be reused again and again – and would make a great gift too!
What’s more, it doesn’t dry out so will definitely last!
These MathLink Cubes will be with her for many years – we love them! They’re a great way to support learning to count, number bonds, addition, subtraction and more.
They stack together and come in colour group blocks of 10, so are a great way to help with number formations visually. Lily was covering numbers 10-20 during school closures, so it was really useful to show her the structure with 10+.
I also used them in a whole range of number-counting games where she had to match numbers to the number of items, which she really enjoyed… as well as building her own creations with them too!
Happy Hoppy’s Happy Hunt game (gifted)
This was definitely a highlight of the lockdown – a fantastic little game where you spin the spinner and collect the carrots. It’s great for preschoolers as helps with number matching, counting and fine motor skills, but is still amazing fun for all the family, whatever their ages.
The game is in a lovely egg-shaped box, so it is great for storage, a lovely gift, and to take outside to play too! We love games that encourage learning without kids noticing, so definitely recommend this one!
Discovery Eggs (gifted)
From treasure hunts and memory games through to sensory activities, these Discovery Eggs are amazing!
For Easter I hid clues around the garden where she could find each one, which she made me do over and over!
The eggs are such high quality and there are so many ways you could use these to hide different objects inside them. Lily LOVES surprise eggs, so these will definitely be with us for many years to make our own surprises!
Discovery Acorns (gifted)
Another great multi-use resource are these Discovery Acorns. Whether you want to hide items inside, do memory games, matching games using the nature icons on the bottoms, or use them for sensory activities, these Discovery Acorns are all kinds of fun!
Lily loves hiding items inside them that she finds in the garden as well as using them for water and sensory games.
We are huge fans of everything from Learning Resources UK and definitely could not have got this far through lockdown without their support – both from what we’ve bought from them through to the kindly gifted items, as well as their free online resources to download.
They often have fantastic sales on (which is where we managed to pick up most of her items from!), and many of the items would make great presents for kids and friends if you’re looking for fun but educational Christmas or birthday gifts.
We’ll be donating anything to her school that we will not be using as much at home now she is back in school, as they would make great classroom resources too, however most of them will last her for years – and we’ll definitely be buying her some of the nature explorer items for her birthday too.
From creative toys, outdoor play and learning resources for all ages, through to coding and STEM toys, I cannot recommend Learning Resources UK enough to help your little ones learn – and this isn’t an ad, just genuine support for their amazing resource.
Find out more about Learning Resources UK here
Still homeschooling or looking for ideas for summer holiday activities? Some of these may help…
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