Children are only in school about 190 days of the year – that is just a little over half – and potentially fewer if a child suffers a couple of bouts of illness or attends a school with shorter-than-average terms. Making learning a fun part of family time therefore make a huge difference to a child’s success and confidence. Grab some cards, get creative and watch how much difference regular practice of key skills can make!
Finding creative ways to support children to gain confidence and fluency with phonics and numbers has long been the mission of teachers. We love to invent games and resources to inspire all types of learners making their learning effective and fun. During the lockdowns, many parents took on the role of teacher and saw first-hand how much they can teach their children from home. Watching that lightbulb moment when a child understands something new or acquires a new skill is the biggest motivator for teachers and I believe getting to experience this first-hand has led to a big educational shift. More and more parents are prioritising learning at home and searching for the best resources to help their children achieve.
I first came across Happy Little Doers as a parent. My son is a dinosaur lover and we got the Dinosaur Flashcards and created dinosaur trails around the house. Loving the cards I soon invested in the Numbers, Shapes, Writing and Tricky Word packs as well as the beautiful wooden card holder. As a teacher, there’s a lot I love about the cards. Kate and Ollie (Founders of Happy Little Doers) have carefully considered how the cards can be utilised for different styles of learners; whether audible, visual, tactile or kinaesthetic (learning by moving). A number of card packs utilise a gloss laminate coating so that dry wipe pens can be used on them – a feature I love. Children can trace shapes, learn the correct letter formations and even create menus with the new baking cards.
There are without a doubt a lot of educational resources around so it can be hard to know where to invest. I always look for products which are durable and versatile so I can get good value from them but also which make me want to use them – if I’m inspired, the children usually are too… and it doesn’t hurt that they look beautiful on my shelf! Looking at the Number Flashcards for example – I love that the numbers are represented as the numeral, written word and pictorially. This is really crucial for development and building confidence and understanding of numbers. There are so many simple matching games you can play sat still or hunts you can create around your house or classroom.
Try sticking the numbers up around the room and have them find the numbers in order, then mix it up by displaying the numbers represented in different ways – 5 dots showing, the number 4 and the written word 3 – can they still find them all in order? Perhaps lay the cards flat and then have a scavenger hunt to find the correct number of things for each card such as one rubber, two pencils etc. Advance further still by creating simple (or advanced) number sentences.
Anyone working with children learning to read will be aware of tricky words. These are words we see regularly which can be tricky to sound out with phonics knowledge… the challenges of our diverse English language! If children see these words regularly enough they becomes recognisable on sight which speeds up reading and enables children to focus more on understanding what they’re reading. I love all the games you can play with the Happy Little Doers cards so that children are exposed to these words regularly. Once they can read them, you can start to learn how to spell and write them too.
Tricky word confidence can have a big impact on children in school, another skill which can make a huge difference is Times Table knowledge. So many later skills in maths are made quicker with good Times Tables but it sometimes feels like a painful process to learn them. The Happy Little Doers Times Table flashcards as brightly coloured and engaging. You can keep them in a space you use regularly and then quickly pull out a card to practice even between other tasks – short and often is the key and these cards make it easier to be consistent.
Written by Victoria Tso, Primary School Teacher, specialist Children’s Yoga Teacher and Mother to two boys.
Images taken in a Reception classroom.