Head's Blog - Festive Shopping

Posted on: 10/11/2017

It is only the 10th of November and I can hardly believe that we are already being bombarded by the commercial aspect of Christmas. On the high street, on the television, on the radio and online, advertisements and commercials are vying for position for the top gifts for this year!  I am not against the giving and receiving of gifts at Christmas, but it can be rather extreme and intense, especially when we are only in early November!  So….I thought to myself, if you cannot beat them (which we won’t) then why not join them!

Do read on to find some of my top recommendations for your children – gifts to keep the learning active, interesting and fun! For those of you who celebrate Christmas, there are great stocking fillers and games which will improve the skills which your child can then apply to their learning in school.  And for those families who do not celebrate Christmas, well, who needs an excuse to play games with your children which will enhance their learning?

Mainly for younger children, Nursery to Year 4:

Orchard Toys – a British based company from which I have purchased many superb games over the years for schools and as gifts. The maths and literacy games are particularly good; it is hard to choose my favourites as I rate them all.
https://www.orchardtoys.com/dept/orchard-toys-games_d012.htm

The Early Learning Centre – still an all time favourite; although the high street stores have disappeared, thankfully their online store is still stocking some of my favourites. The weighing scales learning game and numerous jigsaw puzzles never go amiss.
https://www.elc.co.uk/puzzles-games-and-gifts/learning-games/

For older primary school children:

The Happy Puzzle Company – I only wish I had discovered this company earlier, but over the past six years I have rated this highly for pupils in the early stages of developing their spatial awareness and logical thinking skills. There are so many games which will develop the cognitive ability of young pupils in a concrete and interactive way. 
https://www.happypuzzle.co.uk/categories/improve-specific-skills/visual-perception.aspx

Bright Minds - On the Bright Minds site, you can search by style of game (Maths, English, Science, Tech…) and by age, making it easy to find games and investigation kits suitable for your child.
​https://www.brightminds.co.uk

Some books to consider for Year 4 upwards:

Descriptosaurus – pupils soon become hooked on this book and, with its useful CD to accompany the book, your child’s writing skills and use of vocabulary will certainly improve. My copy of the book is currently being enjoyed in Year 6 – but I highly recommend this for Year 5 too.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Descriptosaurus-Supporting-Creative-Writing-Ages/dp/0415640865    -

Mrs. Wordsmith - The name says it all! The six month subscription comes with a book every month for six months. They include a total of 10,000 excellent words and it looks brilliant. It comes with practice cards, a reference folder and daily activities too - perfect for Year 5!
https://www.mrswordsmith.com/

Buster Books - I spotted these books being carried around school by our Year 5 pupils and have tracked them down online. Our library has a copy, but these should be a ‘must have’ for all pupils. The English book is called 'Write Every Time' and the maths book is 'From Zero to Infinity'
http://www.busterbooks.co.uk/ 

Mr. Thorne’s resoruces – Mr. Thorne’s YouTube videos and apps are a great resource for all ages. They help to develop phonic skills in the early years, and progress to spelling, grammar and comprehension apps to improve skills for pupils up to Year 6.
https://www.mrthornenetwork.com

Do take a look at some of the sites I have recommended. If you like what you see, I hope that your stocking fillers may have a more educational slant this year.  I am sure that your children will not be disappointed, and nor will you!

HAPPY SHOPPING! I would love to hear what you have purchased.

Mrs. Drummond