OUR FAVOURITE TOYS: FEBRUARY/MARCH 2021 EDITION

by Jemma Harvey-Jones
favourite developmental toys

Our Favourite Learning Resources & Toys: February/March 2021 Edition

I’ll begin by apologising for being late with our February edition. So late in fact, that I decided to combine it with our March edition! The girls really haven’t given me any time to myself, here are some of our favourite toys and resources at the moment…

Where We Are In Our Learning And Play At The Moment

I was surprised by how much time we were spending indoors in January, but wow, February has been a whole other ballgame! It has been HARD! We haven’t always managed to get out for our daily exercise with the dogs since the rain doesn’t seem to have stopped! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The great outdoors is our happy place! Grubby finger nails, twigs in her hair and mud covering 75% of her body is part of Little M’s uniform. It’s not that we’re shy of a bit of wind and rain, but Baby F seems to have a cough that flairs up every now and again, and given the current climate, I want to stay as far away from the doctor’s surgery as possible. So when it’s been really horrible – and believe me it has – we’ve sent Daddy out for pees and poos, whilst we cosied up in front of the fire. On the plus side, Spring is on the horizon and March has been a little kinder; lockdown basking in the sun in the garden was much more manageable and whilst we don’t intend on putting ourselves in danger now that restrictions are being lifted, I must admit I’m excited to head on down to a quiet and secluded beach we know, walking at our local National Trust property and getting back to Dartmoor.


 
Motivation For Play

It has been really noticeable Little M has been exploring the trajectory schema* more – her ladybird ball has become her new best friend, not ideal when we are inside and with our low ceilings! However, I did dig out all of our sensory balls* from her early dates to play with inside, whilst Daddy has enjoyed teaching. her the offside rule outside, which also suited Baby F so it was a win win.

*Schema: Patterns of linked behaviours.learning

Does your baby like to repeatedly drop their food from the highchair, or throw things out of their pram? Or does your toddler enjoy watching things swing from side to side (like a pendulum on a clock), blowing bubbles, playing catch or making paper airplanes? For the adult serving dinner, a baby’s joy in hurling their food on the floor is sometimes hard to share, but comfort can be found in the knowledge that your child is involved in important scientific exploration. Will it smash, will it splat? How long will it take to reach the ground? These early attempts at understanding and manipulating trajectory develop into the more familiar skills of throwing, catching and kicking, and eventually to driving, tennis and sending rockets to the moon. Once a child has understood a schema’s physical manifestation, they are able to consider more abstract applications. For example, the concept of texting a message or a photo to Nannie becomes easier to understand once we have had the chance to practise moving objects from one place to another, whether that’s rolling a toy car across the floor or taking a doll out of her box and putting her into the doll’s house. Children also learn by using their own bodies in schema play. The simple act of walking from one point to another helps them understand the idea of trajectory, of moving from A to B.

https://www.onehundredtoys.com/blogs/news/understanding-schema-play-in-toddlers

Want to know more? Check out this page https://www.familycorner.co.uk/why-does-she-always-do I think it explains it quite well in ‘layman’s terms’ as it were.

*Sensory play. Did you know that sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain’s pathways, which lead to the child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks? It encourages learning through exploration and discovery, independent thinking, curiosity, problem solving and creativity. It inspires imagination and supports language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction.

Little M continues to demonstrate the transporting and enveloping schemas too. She has enjoyed playing with anyone and everyone’s bags, pushing her dolls in her pram on our daily dog walks and taking her trolley full of play food to the most inconvenient places. On the brighter days when we have managed to get into the garden she has welcomed the opportunity to get back to playing with her diggers, tractors and dumper trucks in the sand, soil and stones.

toys for schemas
So onto the resources… A handful of our favourites this month:
 We’ve been doing a lot of crafting lately… I’ve been using bits and bobs out of the kitchen cupboards, kits from Baker Ross, digging out the paints and raiding the loose parts trays! 

I also bought some Mothering Sunday books that we’ve been sharing… I was hoping that Mr WMD got the hint that it was coming up! I prepped Little M with some ideas in anticipation! Cunning.

Baby F is now old enough and developmentally ready for her Jumperoo, or as I like to call it ‘ The Ring Of Neglect’ (I do hope by now that you have worked out my sense of humour – as ever read with your tongue in your cheek). She loves it, handy since Little M hated it so it was a total waste of money until now.

baby toys

Come to think of it Baby F basically likes everything opposite to what Little M did at that age. What can you expect from two ‘Supreme Masters Of Mischief and Chaos’ though? She’s obsessed with her Sophie giraffe – Maisie never touched any of the hundreds that she was bought. On the plus side the sensory bottles have given me some awesome ideas for my return to the classroom. Some activities that I think you’ll enjoy and which I will post on here at a later date.

Little M has enjoyed learning some new games from @OrchardToys with her daddy. She’s been building on her counting skills, taking turns and playing a fair game!

I’m also going to include our TickiT 75544 Sensory Mood Light Cube again because we love it that much. When I left the classroom for maternity leave I made sure to bring home my mood light cube. I’ve tried to make a number of these over time, fashioning them out of fairy lights and a clear box with white tissue paper… they’ve sort of worked but not very well. When we were doing a space topic at school I decided to treat the class to a proper one with the excuse that I’d take it home for my own children after! I couldn’t afford the money or space to get a proper table, I already had a light pad for my crafting that was ok but not as effective as I was looking for so I decided to bite the bullet and go for this. I’m so pleased I did both in terms of work and home. Little M loves to play on top of this cube with all sorts of resources and Baby F is quite content to stare at it for a good 15/20 minutes whilst we do. Two birds, one stone – I can give M the time and attention she deserves and needs, playing with her, enjoying it and helping her to learn as we go, whilst F is happy, relaxed and safe nearby. M, more ‘bull in a china shop than delicate flower, sits on it, stands on it, uses it as a table… you name it… its robust and durable. At school it survived a term in my classroom with age 2-7 pupils all of whom loved it too. It went all over the place – on tables, under tables, in dens – it was a real treat for them. It worked well to support children with ASD and sensory issues too. It moves around the house with us too and stays charged for good long time. It’s a little on the pricey side but most sensory equipment that I covet is so I can’t complain. They do other shapes like sphere and pyramid too but the cube suited our needs better as I wanted something to ‘work’ on whilst the table and panels from TickiT were to be honest out of my budget.

But sometimes all you need is a couple of sticks to go fishing with...

 
Finally… a few from Mummy, M and F’s wishlist

Books, toys and resources we’re eyeing up in preparation for Easter…

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Until next time,

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