Phonics and numbers, a hot topic now the twins have started reception. Having been through reception and key stage one already with my eldest son I am aware how important it is to get the phonics and blending nailed down as soon as possible, I’m also aware that this is often easier said than done. My eldest son faced a considerable up hill battle with his phonics and the twins, well, being twins and waffling away to one another in their own language for the past four years certainly hasn’t given them a head start.
I have been focusing our craft activities, as infrequent as they are these days, on educational fun including coloured sand mark making and post it note phonics. I was asked by Hello Baby if I would like to try out some of their items and I jumped at the chance, selecting some of the Melissa and Doug educational wooden toys.
First up were the alphabet matching letter puzzles. These come in a handy wooden case which means they are easy to pick up and take with you. We took the alphabet puzzles on holiday with us and used them one evening in our caravan, the twins really enjoyed being able to match the sounds with the pictures and as you can imagine, they quickly turned it into a competition. There were some letter sounds which they got stuck on and couldn’t match so we put those into a separate pile and worked on them some more once they had raced through the ones they knew.
I found the puzzles to be a great way of encouraging the boys to practice their letter sounds and recognition in a fun way. We’ve used them several times since getting back from holiday and they even get them out themselves to practice. I would definitely recommend the puzzles for preschool and early years children as they are fun but educational and being Melissa and Doug, you know they are brilliant quality and hard wearing.
The second item I selected to try out was a colour and number fishing game. I chose this as I thought it would be another fun activity which also helped the boys practice important areas like colours and number recognition, without them even realising they were learning. What I really liked about the game is that my eldest son was able to get involved and lead the activity with his little brothers. One of the twins took over as chief spinner, shouting out the colours and numbers while my eldest and twin two fished. All three boys really enjoyed this game and again, as it is Melissa and Doug the quality is fantastic.
Both of the games we were gifted to review are available from Hello Baby.