SKOLA TOYS : PEG AND ADD 

I recently received a learning toy from SKOLA TOYS to review and when I opened it and saw it was peg and add the timing could have been no better. Yes I know 2 yrs is too young for addition but we are learning numbers and we’re super excited to see the clock ( tik toc in baby N’s lingo ) with numbers till 20. And we count exactly till 20 so there could have been nothing better. 


We got a leaflet which explains how this learning toy can be played and addition can be made fun. But since baby N is too young for addition we played it in our own way and was it fun you have to see it for yourself 


For a 2 yrs old 

FINE MOTOR SKILLS 


one of N’s favourites and can keep him busy for hours,fine motor skills is one of the most important skills for toddlers to hone.N enjoyed putting the pegs on the numbers.This is an excellent activity also to improve the grip and muscles and helps in hand and eye coordination.
COUNTING 


While putting the pegs he counted till 20 he is fluent while counting till 10 but stops after 11 as twelve is something he forgets but from thirteen again he counts without break till 20. It was a fun activity for him to peg and count. 

One of the major skills that can be acquired by a 2 yr old playing with peg while counting is the basic skill of knowing multiples.when a child  learns to count more than knowing the numbers the concept of one and multiple should be clear . Peg counting makes it easier for them to see that counting is not just numbers but objects to be counted.

NUMBER RECOGNITION 


We used the number buttons to do number recognition.i displayed the numbers one by one showing baby N what the number is while saying it loudly. “One this is 1, can you show me 1?” And similarly till twenty.Baby N  enjoyed pointing the numbers to me. 

NUMBER MATCHING 


The square number buttons are in two colours so we did another fun number recognition game by matching the numbers.
MEMORY GAMES 


With older kids memory games can be played in various ways but we just kept it simple.

Arranged the number buttons by hiding  the numbers and asked baby N to find and match the numbers he was lifting the buttons one by one and matching it when he found the same number again.

PUZZLE 


We have used the decagon parts and made them two piece puzzles for N. Where he tried to match and make a perfect decagon.

For 4 yrs old 

This is an amazing learning toy for a 4 yrs old to gain the basic knowledge of arithmetic. Since I am at my mothers place and my nephew is 4 plus he had a great time playing and learning with this toy.

PEG AND COUNT 


Used one of the yellow boards and covered it with one of the white board which covered the extra peg hole and kept only the peg hole displayed as the number on the board. A simple yet effective way of counting.

ADDITION 


for this we have used the whole board ,just like counting here also we have covered the peg holes with the tiles and asked my nephew to peg colour wise and arrive at the total.when he started enjoying the addition I just flipped the larger base over showing no numbers and asked him to count and tell the sum .

ADD TABLES OF TEN 


Took the red base tile and asked my nephew to find the complimentary blue base tile and just the way baby N did the jigsaw puzzle my nephew was also able to do it and was surprised to find that the total was always ten when he found the corresponding tile.

MEMORY GAME 

Kept one set of base in one room and pegs in another and asked him to go to the other room and bring the number of pegs as the number on the base tile.

Flipped the base tiles and asked to match the numbers by remembering .Allowed him to flip and see the tiles once then gave him the tiles and he had to flip the correct one.

SKILLS DEVELOPED 

ADDITION 

The basic concept of adding two quantities to arrive up for a bigger whole. Using pegs makes the abstarct arithimetic procedure of addition very concrete and clear.

COUNTING AND SYMBOL ASSOSIATION 

Pegging while counting automatically ensures greater accuracy and stronger reinforcement of quantity. Pegging at the corresponding numbers leads to number recognition.It also helps in strong quantity symbol assosiation since there is a numeral ,a base and loose pegs all indicating the same quantity.

TABLES OF 10

An essential aspect especially for carry over/ borrowing .

NUMBER MEMORY 

Remembering the number ,bringing back the pegs strengthens memory for numbers, handy when the child starts doing carry over and borrowing.

FINE MOTOR SKILLS 

excellent to improve pencil grip and muscle strength.

This is one of the must have to teach young kids the basics of mathematics.

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THE JOURNEY OF LEARNING :MADE ENRICHING BY SKOLA TOYS

“As you set out for Ithaka hope your road is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery… Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you’re destined for. But don’t hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you’re old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way”-

Excerpts from C. P. Cavafy’s poem – Ithaka
The poem written with Odysseus in mind is so true of life where we set out to reach a status in life, but what becomes more important are the things we have gained in our quest to get there. Similarly, when children set out to learn a certain “something” it’s not the final outcome of leaning but the process of getting that particular result that matters.  
For example How a little child goes about learning to add 2 numbers, for instance. Yes, of course 2+3=5, but how did the child get there.

  
1. Did we give them the answer helpfully and smilingly without asking him/her to find the answers by themselves?

2. Did they just hear the answer once, and immediately register it to memory?

3. Did they see it in a book and write it down 5 times, so it became a fact?
4. Did they learn to count first, practice it for a couple of months counting anything and everything they came across. Did they then count 2 and 3, put it together and arrive at the answers making many mistakes along the way and learning from them?

Each route created a different type of learner, and certainly the last group of learners would emerge wisest and most confident, just because their journey has been most meaningful and enriching, gaining something at each step of the way, while they made mistakes that is also when they learnt something new.mistakes are integral part of learning.

For young children, completing a task is never a priority infact they find happiness in doing an activity not completing it.Their focus is always on enjoying the process of activity rather than completion or the outcome.
Learning always happen when children take up a task or activity voluntarily.so as a facilitator our job is to provide them with the right tools and the result will be a enriching process of learning, which will be fun as they find answers at each stage with all excitement and enjoyment.
Just like each of us have a different journeys running simultaneously all teaching us something different, so also at any point in time, the child is not on one particular journey alone. The child maybe at a point where she/he is
• Learning to read 3 letter words

• Becoming familiar with the sequence of numbers

• Starting to use 2 hands for some activities
• Becoming aware of cause and effect

Every child is unique in the way they start and move through these journeys. Learning is never a single occurrence, learning even one single concept involves a series of steps.

  
   Every Skola journey takes children systematically through a series of experiences that are incrementally challenging enabling them to discover and learn something new at each stage. Every stage is facilitated by a toy playing with which will allow children to challenge themselves in an interesting way.
An example of a learning journey is:

  

 Visit www.skola.toys to understand children’s learning journeys and view toys that facilitate incremental learning.
Enable our future generations to play, explore and discover through “Learning Journeys designed as Play “

TOYS : BEST FRIENDS AND THE BEST TEACHERS 

 This topic is very close to my heart and I have been planning to write about it since a long time and finally today was able to pen down at length.
The importance of toys in the life of children is something which can never be replaced by anything.The first friend or the favourite object they have for the first time is always a toy.
So let’s discuss the importance of toys in early learning , how today’s market has been diluted with non environment friendly options and in the end I would be discussing about the solution.

  

Importance of toys 



Toys play a vital role in early years of mental and physical development of a child,not only do they provide the vent to drain the energy but also helps in honing few basic skills which play a major role in future or in the later stage ,for example concentration.listed below are few of the major benefits toys offer

Cognitive development and creativity

  



Children are in constant quest of learning since birth and hence the toys provide the opportunity for them to think explore and relate it with real life.when an infant start playing or reacting to a rattler or starts getting attracted towards contrasting colours that is when they start their journey of curiosity . A toddler playing with a wooden horse and recognising a real one in the field is nothing but the imagination which comes to action while playing and relating things in real life.creativity is another one such benefit of playing with toys and helps in cognitive development.

Physical development and motor skills 

  



Physical development at an early age is at the fastest rate and hence the early stage of infancy and toddlerhood is when physical and motor skill can be developed.motor coordination helps in problem solving and also helps brain and hand coordination as well as eyes and hand coordination.Both gross and fine motor skills are important and needs to be developed at an early stage.Toys are the best way to hone these skills.

Social and emotional skills 

  

Another important aspect of growing up years is social and emotional development.when a child involves in pretend play they learn how to become social even if they play alone.sharing and multiple player toys helps them in developing social skills.Babies and toddlers goes through a lot of emotional ups and down where they are unable to express their feelings. Toys are the best medium to make them express what they feel and also through play they learn how to express themselves and their unexpressed emotions.

Language development 

  

Toys help in developing language skills, they add so much to the building vocabulary of the babies and toddlers.A child’s language skills are developed when they come across new objects and toys provide the avenue where they learn about new things and develop their language skills.

Sensorial development 

  

I have already talked about the importance of sensorial activities in past , when a child touches the toys they develop the sense of touch and feel soft , rough etc.

Importance of toys in today’s context and problem with today’s market 

  

When now we have already discussed the importance of toys let me throw some light on importance of toys in today’s context. Now when the families are small and spending capacity has increased we often face the problem of keeping our little ones busy and find refugee in gadgets or battery operated toys.while there is no harm in screen time in moderation beyond 18 months of age and few battery operated toys in your child’s collection but totally relying on these for play is not advisable.over exposure to battery operated toys also hamper the creativity of a child.

  
Today the market is flooded with cheap plastic and battery operated toys everywhere, I would not deny the fact that those plastic toys and at that price are not tempting enough.But these toys attract a very low span of attention for babies.So eventually we end up buying more and more and slowly kids lose interest in toys altogether.Another disadvantage of these plastic toys is they are extremely bright and colourful and over stimulating whereas toys should be soothing and welcoming.

So what is the solution ?



Needless to mention the effect these battery and plastic toys have on our environment. When as a parent all we want to do is leave a better place for our next generation.so the least we can do is by consciously making an effort to abstain from buying plastic toys altogether or to limit our plastic purchases and replace plastic with wood.

  
Yes wooden toys are more attractive ,educational, welcoming, soothing and on the top environment friendly.They are much sturdier than plastic toys and lasts for generations and hence can be passed on generations altogether.And if your plans are not that futuristic as mine then those can be used as decorative pieces in kids room once they outgrow as wooden toys are so beautiful and finished .

A wooden toy brand which promises a solution 



As you all know I follow Montessori and I constantly search for the best brands for wooden toys who manufacture finished toys using the best quality of wood.one of such brand that I have come across is Skola toys.

Skola
toys is a brand which manufactures high quality wooden toys for children between the age of 1-8 yrs and makes learning fun by covering the various aspects of education like language,cognitive,sensorial development.The best part about this brand is they have a wide range of toys and mostly open ended.open ended toys helps children use their imagination and prompts them to be more creative. 

Why I think skola toys can be your child’s best friend and best teacher 



One look at the toys and you can tell that these are made by the finest artisan and craftsmen.the research team behind definitely puts in a lot of effort and research before designing a toy. They have a collection of Montessori toys which you would not find easily in India.

To read more about this wonderful connection of toys with kids click the link below and check what Udita (famously known as zuzu’s mom) has to say 

Early Learning toys and kids :The whole cosmic connection

Toy Review- Hape Lacing Vehicles

I was searching for lacing beads online when I came across this beautiful product.I am in love with wooden toys and that is my small effort towards a greener earth.One look at the product and I knew what I wanted to do with these beautiful wooden cars.

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My son is not a car freak but he loves cars and when the package arrived he was more than happy to see the beautiful  colourful wooden cars.

These lacing vehicles are from Hape and I was so happy to find it in amazon.Priced at Rs599.00,its a set of 12 lacing vehicles which includes cars, ship, trees, cloud and stop sign.It came with a lacing red thread.

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Review- Priced at Rs 599.00 I expected the cars to be little bigger in size but then as lacing beads the size is good.The lace is not good quality wise whereas the quality of wooden lacing vehicles is very good.

Its non toxic and a nice product for colour recognition,lacing,couting etc.I find it a very innovative lacing idea.

Rating-3/5

As you know when I review a toy I also mention the various ideas the toys can be used so that the kids doesn’t lose interest easily and quickly.So this time also we didn’t keep ourself limited to lacing but we had more fun activities with these lacing vehicles.

1.Lacing– Fine motor skill can be fun and at the same time challenging for the toddlers.This can keep them busy for a long time but with lots of motivation as inability to perform a particular task can make them anxious.

My son tried many times to lace the vehicles but the lacing thread has small hard ending to lace and and it doesn’t pass through the vehicles completely.For an 18 months old the lacing thread is not suitable but the product is ideally for 3 yrs and above.for older kids it is good and lacing can be done with little concentration.

2.Stacking– The most common and fun activity for a toddler is stacking and knocking the stack down.

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Check the video at the end of the post to see how Nirvaan enjoyed stacking and knocking it down.

3.Counting– The cars can be used for counting in a fun way.While lacing the child can count till 12 and then you can remove two and ask how many are left and similarly addition.

4.Colour Sorting– This time to make the colour sorting fun I made a parking lot with different coloured parking slot.  Nirvaan was not able to sort the cars by its colour but with prompt he was able to put few cars to the right slot.But he had fun parking and taking the cars out of the parking lot.

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5.Free Play– I staged this free play for him.I cooked a story about a farm near the river with cow and horse in it and he had a fun time driving his car through the farm.

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Check how Nirvaan enjoyed Playing in this short video

You can buy these Lacing vehicles online by clicking the pic below

Disclaimer- This is not a sponsored review.The product has been purchased by me and review is based on my experience with the product.

Toy Review- Fisher Price Baby’s First blocks and Snap-Lock Beads

As you all know we have adopted montessori and I set the Montessori shelf for Nirvaan it becomes very difficult at times to keep it rotating as he gets bored with the same toys.So usually I prefer toys which are more open ended and can be re used for different activities.Today I will be reviewing two of the toys which we keep in our tray and I will suggest few activities that can be done with these toys.

Fisher Price Baby’s First Block


A sturdy Cylinder shaped sorter with three 3D shapes.

Price-Rs 299.00

It has 12 blocks ,4 each of cube,cyliner and triangular pyramid. As the blocks are 3D i have mentioned the 3D names.

All the blocks are of different colours with 4 Green,4 Blue and Four red blocks respectively.

Age-6 months plus (But we started using at 9 Months)

How we use it for multiple activities

  1. Shape sorting box– The is what the toy is basically meant for, the child can sit and put the cubes in the respective shaped holes.​
  2. Colour Matching Activity-As I mentioned it comes in different colours and has three primary colours it can be used for colour matching or sorting activity.
  3. Learning 3 D shapes– The blocks are excellent and can be used to teach the 3D shapes.
  4. Building blocks– The blocks can be used for free play and let your LO fuel his/her imagination by making different structure from the blocks.

The quality of the product is excellent.Colour are bright and appealing.

Drawback- The only drawback of this toy is that the lid is too loss and can be removed even by 7-8 months old baby.This makes it really difficult to be used as shape sorter box.The lid should have been tight so that the little one would need adult to open it.My son opens it and instead of putting the blocks in respective shape he simply puts them into the container.

I use cello tape to seal it while playing.

Rating- 4/5

Fisher Price Snap Lock Beads


12 colourful beads to snap together.

Price-Rs 199.00

Age-6 Months plus (We started using at 11 Months)

These are bright coloured snap beads which are excellent for fine motor skills of the little ones.

How we use it for multiple activities

  1. Snap and Lock – This is what the toy is basically meant for initially when we started, Nirvaan was only able to snap it.It was only at around 13 months he stared locking them together.
  2. Colour Matching-Again the beads are so colourful and bright I use them always for colour sorting and matching activities.
  3. Play Dough Tower- Another activity that we love doing is making a tower of these beads over a play dough base.It makes for an excellent fine motor activity.And I love the way Nirvaan says oo oho when his tower falls down.
  4. Necklace Free play – This is just for some fun we make a necklace and balance it on our neck without breaking it while the little one without an invitation accepts the challenge of breaking it.

Drawback- Few beads are lose and open quickly rest it is an excellent product.

Rating -4/5

Hope these ideas will help you make the most of the money invested if you already have these or if you plan to buy.
Here is a glimpse of colour marching activity 


 

 

 

Book Review-Usborne Touchy-feely books

The best way to introduce a toddler to books is through the touch and feel books.You might have introduced books earlier like when they were infant during the tummy time but the real test is when they are one plus and you try making them sit and enjoy the book.Today I will be reviewing the Usborne Touchy feely book’s that’s not my series.

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Written by Fiona Watt

Illustrated by Rachel Wells

  • The book 16*16*2 Cm and is pretty handy for the toddlers.This is supposedly the ideal book size for the young toddlers as they can hold and flip through the pages comfortably.This is a board book with 5 pages and 10 illustrations.
  • The book has patches with different texture the first reaction of my baby was to touch the patch and in every page before he asked me to read it.
  • The illustrations are big and colourful and easily attract the attention of the toddlers.Even the fickle minded would sit down for a while and check because the illustration is bright and the patch is big to explore.
  • Every page has a big illustration with 8-10 words
  • The book starts with thats not my pirate/monster/reindeer etc as its hat is too soft/its neck is too fuzzy/its eyebrows are too bushy ,and the patch is the texture mentioned.FullSizeRender 2.jpg
  • Its great for the language development of the young toddlers as they learn new words and the context of the usage of those words.
  • Great sensorial activity and toddlers experience different texture and the name of the texture they feel.
  • The book ends with thats my pirate/reindeer/monster etc
  • Its a great book for the starter if you have a one plus toddler and you have not started with books yet this series is highly recommended.
  • The only negative with the series is their pricing I checked quite a few online portals and was shocked to check the pricing but finally got the cheapest at flipKart,priced at Rs 550 (Approx).

Is the series worth going for ? Yes it is; buy one or two in the beginning and if your baby develops a liking go for more.

Overall a delightful read for the young toddlers with catchy illustrations and a must for first timers.

My Rating -4/5 one mark less for pricing.

Montessori Toy Series-The Basics and about the Series

Hope you guys are enjoying the Montessori toy series every friday.If you have not checked it yet then click the link below to check the series .

Montessori Toy Series-Coin Slot Box

Montessori Toys Series -DIY shape Sorting Stacks

Montessori Toy Series -DIY Colour Wheel

Today I will be discussing about the basic of Montessori and how we got started with it.Well we started pretty late when my baby was already one and I regret not starting it earlier when he was like almost 6 months, but there is always a beginning .Honestly I was not aware about the concept of montessori and how amazing it is.In my quest to keep him busy I stumbled upon this amazing philosophy By Dr Maria Montessori and how beautifully she has made learning easier for the little minds.This method includes learning through cognitive power through direct experience like-seeing,hearing,touching etc.

Benefits of Montessori –

  • It makes the child confident by valuing the child as an individual.
  • It develops the coordination and concentration.
  • Child learns to care for his surrounding.
  • Child learns to be independent from a very young age.

How it is helping Us?

It has made our  learning easier and fun.Now there is no stopping to everyday learning that we achieve through this method of parenting and learning.We don’t sick the usual market bought products but instead we try to Montessori by using things which are already available in the house.To make the method more effective I make things myself for the little one as I have mentioned in the previous posts in this series.Simple logic behind is to make my child learn to value things and he will learn to make things himself while he grows up and will take creativity to another level.

About The series

Every Friday I will be posting things related to Montessori like

  • DIY Montessori Toys
  • Toys we play to learn (Montessori toys either DIY or otherwise)
  • Different games
  • Product reviews

And much more ,stay tuned and watch this space for more.Do let me know if you wish to add something in this series in the comment section below and I will try to include it.

Treasure hunt for kids Under 5

So the christmas is over and we are gearing up for the New years party.Party’s are fun but if you are the host and you have at least 5 kids below 5 to be entertained, the fun factor becomes more of fear factor.Our concept of party is that all the guest should be entertained even if they are kids.So this year for our new years party we are planning a treasure hunt for the kids.Here are few ideas and tips for organising it

  • Define the area choose the area which is mostly free of breakable things like we choose the kids room for the treasure hunt or the guest room.Living area and kitchen are a big no for us because of accidents and off course I love my nick knacks on display and cutlery.

Once you have decided on the area plant the clues, make the clue fun by making a simple riddle or a rhyme like

I thought you were far: But you were coming in a car : things are bought from bazaar:guess whats hiding in the star::

Among the gifts I lie:you look away as you are shy:Pick the one which is different:let me see if you are intelligent::

Try to make it interesting but choosing rhyming words.Select the place you wish to hide your treasure clue and then search for rhyming words and let your imagination go on a ride to your own childhood.

  • Make the treasure box with things the kids would love to get like chocolate, colours,clips and hairbands, small cars,biblets etc.

Decorate the treasure box and cover it with layers of wrapping.It will be fun for the kids to unwrap at the end.Keep a note on sharing in the treasure box to make them learn the importance of sharing as the real treasure of life is sharing the happiness which we take ages to figure out with the clue god gives us.Let them learn the secret of happiness at young age.

Montessori Toys Series -DIY shape Sorting Stacks

Stacking is one of a very important milestones that a baby/toddler can achieve easily if guided by a toy.Once your baby has learnt stacking next you can start with stacking the shapes ,today I will be posting a DIY montessori toy which will aid the baby to learn shapes .

Materials Required

Cardboard

Glue gun

Straw

Foam

Scissors

White paper

How to

Cut the card board into any shape as you desire I have made a square cardboard.Cut two pieces and glue them together for a stronger base.

Cut the straw with the help of a knife into equal pieces ,I have kept the middle one bigger but you can keep it of same length as others.

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Paste a white paper on the base so that the colours and shape will come out.The colour of card board is little dull

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Glue the straw pieces on all the sides and the middle with the help of a hot glue gun.

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Cut the foam in various shapes you desire.You can use different colour foams for different shapes as well.

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Cut a circle of a size bigger than the straw opening so that the stacking and removing will be easier.

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Put one size as sample in each straw, you can paste is as well, it will make the base more stronger.

How to introduce it to the toddler-

Don’t expect your baby to learn it in a day or two be patient.Introduce the child to stacking the shapes in the straw first .Once they can stack it in the straw give them the shapes one by one in order and prompt them to put it in right straw.Le them enjoy while you do it for them in the beginning and in no time they will learn to stack the different shapes in respective straws.

My baby is currently 14 months old and stacks the shape in no rhyme and order.He simply enjoys putting it in the straw.

Hope you enjoyed this DIY in the montessori toy series.

Montessori Toy Series -DIY Colour Wheel

Now that my baby is already one and shows lot of curiosity to learn I decided to make some toys which he can enjoy at the same time learn new things.This one is Colour wheel and the easiest that I could have ever thought of.

Materials required

Cardboard

Glue

Scissors

clothespins

acrylic colours

A4Size white paper

How to 

I have identified some basic bright colours that catches babies attention and are easily identified by them as this is the first stage of colour recognition ,later on more colours can be added but to keep it simple I have used only four bright colours.

Cut The cardboard into a circle ,I have used two and pasted them to make it stronger.

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Paste the A4 Size paper and cut it to cover the whole cardboard in a circle.Paste it on both the side as we will colour both the sides.

Divide sections to be coloured.

Start Colouring the sections and make sure you colour the same section with colour on the opposite side as well.

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Take clothespins and colour them with the colour matching the one on the wheel.I have coloured only two clothespin each for the colours, you can make more.

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How to introduce it to the toddler

First You need to play it by loudly telling the colours you have matched the clothespins with in the wheel.

Let your baby learn to clip the clothespins first matching can come later.

The more you do ,more the baby will learn how to match and can differentiate the colours and will gradually start identifying.

This is my DIY series of Montessori toys that I will be doing for my baby who is currently almost 14 months old.Watch the section for more Fun DIY Montessori toys.