Category: Make Learning Fun

Looking for an activity for the kids this Spring?

Why not take a look at Wood and Wonder’s instructional video on how to take an old toilet roll and a couple of twigs and turn them into a fantastic bird feeder.

It’s a great activity to do along with your children this Spring. It’s fun, quick, easy and inexpensive and a great way to get your kids imaginative and creative juices flowing. Take a look at the video below and please feel free to share with your friends and family.

For your reference, to make this bird feeder you will need:

  • An empty toilet roll
  • A small cup of bird seed
  • Peanut butter
  • Spreading knife
  • Approximately 30cm string
  • Scissors
  • A Pencil (possibly Blue Tack – see video for your preference)
  • 2 x Twigs

Hope you enjoy!

The Hape Rainbow Railway for Toddlers

I am very excited to show you one of our new products which solves a problem.

I remember as a child loving my wooden train set. I used to play with it for hours and hours, rejigging the track, moving my train from A to B, playing with friends in our different pretend roles – it was a huge part of my childhood.

The problem is, most train sets on the market are designed for older children maybe 3+ as they probably contain small parts. This is where our new range from Hape comes in. Please take a look at our video…

The Rainbow Railway has been designed to be a toddler friendly train set suitable for children from age 18 months and above.

It is designed to be engaging and exciting at every level. All the pieces contain vibrant colours and they all are incredibly interactive. They are designed to move with certain actions triggering maybe a pop-up piece or a sound or music. This is a train track which will surely engage and entertain your little one for hours as they learn through experimenting with the different pieces.

The designers have developed and enhanced more traditional toddlers toys into track pieces. A good example of this is the shape sorter track piece, where your toddler can sort the complete the shape puzzle with the triangular, rectangular and semi-circular pieces to complete the track and prevent the little train from derailing! Maybe it is sounds your little one is interested in. The train can trundle over the xylophone track piece or make its way through the cymbals, triggering each one automatically as it passes. When the train reaches the bead maze, your child can stop and play with the beads as they whirl them around the loops.

A truly fantastic product which makes us very excited indeed! Best of all it is compatible with other wooden railway brands (e.g. Brio) so it can expand as they get older and collect more pieces, to create a truly unique railway set.

This set could really go a long way in improving fine-motor skills and could also encourage creativity, communication and teamwork.

We aim to expand the range in the future so keep checking our space.

If you would like to take a look at the product on our website please click here.

Why is role play such a good way for children to learn?

Imaginative play is something which comes in so many forms in childhood. Even though it seems like a simple and uncomplicated form of entertainment for kids, it really is a fantastic way to enhance a child’s development and help build healthy minds. Our resident teacher Miss Cook takes a look at why role play is such a great tool for learning.

The reason role play is so engaging to most children is because they will naturally want to mimic the adults around them. It then becomes our job to guide, accommodate and present challenges to enhance their development. This, for example, could be us becoming a customer at their pretend shop.

Role play can encourage children to want to play with other child in their imaginary world. If other’s are involved, even if they aren’t children, this interaction can help develop social skills. Entwined with this is the development of their language and communication skills. Role play could help a shy child come out of their shell as it may encourage them to express their ideas and solutions to problems.

We often hear children verbalise their thoughts to themselves whilst they are playing as they talk through their thought processes and act out the characters’ roles. This is a way for children to develop their language skills and their understanding of the the world around them. They might replicate actions and vocabulary that they see or hear at home (e.g. play kitchen or play DIY).

Accommodating your child with role play toys which they can associate with something they have seen in the real world could really help to enhance their problem solving skills. This extends to toys not specifically designed to mimic adult routines but those that involve making something new, for example building a bridge with a construction set or building blocks. Problem solving could develop their creativity, particularly if the toy is colourful and engaging. It could inspire them to play more and pursue the development of the skill that they are learning.

Overall, role play toys can really transport a child into a different world where they can have the confidence to be who they want to be for the day or for as long as they like! This is why we as parents should actively encourage role play as much as we can. We can be their customer in their play hairdresser’s salon, their guest for pretend dinner or their apprentice at their make-believe workshop. It’s a wonderful thing to see the magic and creativity in their own little world – all the time learning, and they don’t even know it!

Push & Pull Toys – How do they benefit my growing toddler?

Wooden push and pull toys are an excellent way to help your little one take their first steps and continue with them as they begin to walk around. But why are they beneficial? We hope to answer that.

Start with Push Toys

Push toys are designed for infants who are just about to find their feet. Our wooden toys have rigid poles which will help them firstly get to their feet and provide the stability they need at this very early stage of walking. I suppose it would act in a similar way to a walking stick.

Then as they begin those first steps, the push toy will help act as a buffer for obstacles up ahead – a sort of look ahead tool. The skill of avoiding obstacles is something we all learnt at some point and this kind of toy will certainly aid this.

As with all children’s toys, the design should actively encourage your children to want to play more. This is achieved in our wooden push toys by the ‘clacking’ sound generated as the toy rolls along the floor and the bright hand painted colours, safe by European standards of course. Having a character they love always helps too.

Help your little one along by showing them how to do it – push the toy along the floor. They will want to imitate you and this will encourage them to really develop their new skill.push-toys-small

Then move onto Pull Toys

Once they’ve mastered the basics and have started toddling along with their new push toy, introduce a new friend in a pull toy. Again help them in knowing what to do by pulling the toy along to help them imitate you. But why now a pull toy?

A wooden pull toy will aid the development onto more advanced stages of their new skill. So far the push toy has helped identify obstacles by alerting of those ahead, now the pull toy gives a new friend to concentrate on behind them as they walk. A friend in the character of the toy along side them will give them the confidence to explore that big wide open space ahead. Now as those coordination skills develop. your toddler will have to avoid obstacles themselves. Be on standby for the odd bumped head!

Of course these are all essential coordination skills we take for granted as an adult, but we all learnt them at some point!

See our range of Push or Pull toys in our My First Toys section.

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Learning about time

In our first article on our new WordPress blog, we’d like to take a closer look at one of our products.

This week we will focus on the Goki Colour and Shape clock. It is recommended for ages 4+ and is built from a robust sustainable solid wood. Like any clock it has an hour and a minute hand which can be moved freely. The numbered 1-12 markings come apart from the clock body as a jigsaw puzzle.

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The learning begins with the assembly of the face. Reenforcing the numbers 1-12 connects the lessons they may have already learnt about numbers with the different application of time. The puzzle also develops hand-eye coordination and reasoning.

We at Wood and Wonder would like to share a valuable asset to you in our blog. A current primary school teacher called Miss Cook is always willing to offer her advice to us on the educational value of our products. This week she offers us some advice on how to teach time.

Miss Cook says:

“I’d recommend using this clock from the age of 4, firstly as a jigsaw puzzle to help apply the numbers 1 to 12. They could even be used as separate pieces to help make a start counting in twos. Slowly piece the clock face together and work on the meaning of the big and small hand.”

“At this age it’s best to focus on the o’clocks. Once they have grasped this securely you can move onto half pasts followed by quarter pasts. Use a circular piece of paper, fold it in half and colour each half into a different colour to demonstrate half past and into quarters to show quarter pasts and quarter to.”

“This is an excellent tool that can begin with your child at an early age when they are just grasping numbers. As they progress to year 2 (ages 6 and 7) they start at school with half pasts and quarter pasts, right through to year 4 (ages 8 and 9) where 5 minute increments come in. This clock can be with them all the way.”

The clock is priced at just £15.00. Please click here to see more on the Goki Colour & Shape Clock.