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Home Learning Heroes

8 favourite toys, for learning from home…

By Dr Amanda Gummer

With the UK back into another National Lockdown and schools closed once more for the next few weeks, parents everywhere will no doubt feel deflated by the prospect of homeschooling and Deja Vu from last Spring.

The weather may be colder and things may feel harder this time, but our mantra hasn’t changed. Learning through play is still one of the most valuable tools you have in your armoury. Although a cardboard box or a few sheets and cushions to make a den can provide hours of entertainment, there are plenty of brilliant products out there too, should you need a teaching assistant 😉

Magicube Maths Building

Price: £40

Supported by Geomag’s signature sturdy, magnetic cubes, Magicube Maths Building is a great way to encourage children to practise their counting and numeracy skills. In particular, it is ideal for engaging those reluctant learners as it offers a hands-on and practical way of understanding sums. Building the equations across the blocks helps children to understand their structure and the children enjoyed using them this way.

Our testers found it great for helping children with their Maths homework as it made it more engaging and helped them to visualise the numbers and their sequences.

Little Big Feelings Series

Price from £27.96

This series of books help young children to manage and talk about their emotions as they start to develop their emotional intelligence. Children can explore, share their emotions, and start discussions “thinking of things that make you happy”.

The books are great for reading together as they raise a lot of questions to ask and respond to and get the whole family talking about their feelings. This is especially important in times of heightened anxiety and uncertainty.

EasyRead Wall Clock

Price: £20

Teach your children the 3-step system and they will quickly master this essential life skill of telling the time, and gain confidence and pride in their achievement!

This is a bright and vibrant clock that reinforces an important life skill. Our tester’s parents liked the way in which the clock was set up and found it was easy to explain to the children (using the 3-step system) how to tell the time. It is simple to use and we really liked the way in which it broke telling the time down into manageable steps.

Paddington Bear Paw Pad

Price: £12.99

This simple to use, interactive paw-shaped tablet encourages children’s number, letter and colour recognition as they respond to Paddington’s questions. The familiar character of Paddington is engaging and responding to his questions teaches children valuable listening and attention skills. The shape was ideal for children to hold themselves and our testers liked the short and accessible learning activities for little ones.

HUE Animation Studio

Price: £64.95

Containing everything that a budding animator needs to create their own stop motion animation movies: a colourful HUE HD camera, a 60-page book full of tips, and stop motion software specifically designed for educational use.

Our testers loved making their own videos and experimenting with different methods such as using photos of themselves dancing, drawing pictures and modelling play dough. They can then narrate their films, helping children develop their speech and language skills.

Science Mad Chemistry Lab

Price: £29.99

Discover the wonders of chemistry with this well-equipped laboratory set with an excellent selection of chemicals. Includes a real methylated spirit burner to help when learning about the fascinating chemical reactions involving heat.

Our testers couldn’t believe this set actually held 80 experiments and contained a real flame! The children wanted to start experimenting straight away and were able to follow the instructions in the manual with minimal help.

Peppa’s Phonic Alphabet

Price: £19.99

Peppa’s Phonic Alphabet helps develop knowledge of letters, numbers and colours and introduces phonics and spelling. Peppa Pig provides a familiar and popular platform for learning and her songs and questions are a great way to engage children. Little ones enjoyed pressing the music button and singing along and the games were great for helping them develop their letter, number and colour recognition.

GeoSafari® Jr. Kidnoculars® Extreme™

Price: £22.50

Magnify your world with these awesome 3x no-focus binoculars and amplify the nature around you with a built-in microphone. The Kidnoculars Extreme are ideal for encouraging children to engage with and learn about nature. Looking and listening to their surroundings teaches them observation skills as well as promotes the learning of new vocabulary centred around science and nature.

Our testers enjoyed pointing the binoculars in all directions to see what they could see and hear. The microphone was definitely the most popular feature and the amplification of noise worked brilliantly.