Orchard on How to Help Your Children Learn My Baba 28 October, 2013 Activities & Days Out Orchard Toys are one of the few British toy companies that still manufacture in the UK. Their educational games and jigsaws are suitable for children from 18 months to 12 years are designed with support from educational advisors including teachers, nursery practitioners, Early Years professionals and children themselves with the ethos of ‘learning made fun’. As big fans of Orchard Toys, we spoke to them about how their toys help little ones learn. We all know that children who develop a love of learning at an early age continue the process throughout their lives, but as parents often with no previous experience, it can be difficult to know where to start. Charlotte Beevor shares her tips on making the most of learning opportunities for our children. “The learning that children do at an early age provides the building blocks on which they put all further experience, so it is essential that we help them build a firm foundation,” said Charlotte Beevor of educational toy specialists, Orchard Toys. Passionate about their work in the Early Years, Charlotte and her team at Orchard Toys work with a wide range of educational advisors including teachers, nursery practitioners, Early Years professionals, parents and children. They pride themselves on producing games, puzzles and activities that are lively, fun and appealing while enhancing learning and educational development. How can we help our children to develop and learn? “At such a young age there is so much to learn and we can use our everyday environment to enhance learning,” continued Charlotte. Here are some simple but effective ideas of how you can take an active role in your child’s learning: Colour Colour is all around us and by regularly pointing out different colours to your child you will help them begin to recognise them – daddy’s yellow car, grandma’s red umbrella, the green tractor. Introduce colour to everyday routine: when getting your child dressed in the morning or at bedtime talk to them about the colour of their socks or pyjamas. Charlotte remarked: “The recently released Post Box game is a fun game you can play with your child, which helps teach colour recognition. It is suitable for children from the age of 2, and involves posting letters into the correct coloured post boxes.” Orchard Post Box Game Numbers Counting can become part of everyday life teaching your child the value of numbers, for example, one for me, and one for you when sharing out snacks. Ask them how many pieces of food they have on their plate, or count out the number of berries in their bowl. You can move on to more complex questions as they get older, such as: ‘How many people are here for tea, so how many plates do we need?’ Orchard Toys has a range of simple but fun number games to help reinforce counting and number recognition. “My daughter really enjoyed Spotty Dogs as she loved to count how many spots the dogs had, she did the same with our real dog Jasper at home,” explained Charlotte. Aimed at older children, Orchard Toys’ Bus Stop game is a great way to learn addition and subtraction. Orchard Toys Spotty Dogs Orchard Bus Stop Game Shapes Shapes are everywhere we look, so why not point out the shapes you see around you – a round plate, a square table. Children quickly learn to recognise a circle but often find a triangle more difficult, as we see more circles in our daily lives. The recently launched Pirate Shapes game by Orchard Toys can be played as a game or activity and children enjoy slotting the shapes into the right space. Talking about the shapes in the picture with your child can lead to discussion of different shapes around your home. Orchard Toys Pirate Shapes Letters and words Reading is about matching shapes and patterns to make a word; jigsaws are a way of starting this process of learning to match pieces together and make a picture. The more jigsaws you do with your child, the more they will learn about putting things together to make a whole and from pictures they will move on to words. Orchard Toys has a wide range of puzzles, from chunky 2-piece puzzles for age 18 months upwards, to 150 piece puzzles and many in-between with fun and interesting scenes. All these include educational guides and many include talk-about points you can share with your child to get the most educational value from the puzzle. “The Who’s in Space puzzle has lots of interesting facts about outer space, I even learnt something new!” concluded Charlotte. Orchard Toys Who’s in Space “The learning that children do at an early age provides the building blocks on which they put all further experience.” “At such a young age there is so much to learn and we can use our everyday environment to enhance learning.” By Charlotte Beevor, Orchard Toys.