I am so excited to be sharing this with you guys today. Quite often we will get asked in our videos what games the kids are playing with and so we thought we would put together a list of our most loved and used resources.
We have always been big advocates of learning through play and when we decided to officially unschool our children we started to collect together items that we felt would support their playtime and enhance their exploration and understanding of the world around them. Over time we have learnt which of these items have been great value for money and which ones are merely a fleeting passion. We have thought long and hard about this list and we feel very confident that these items are the ones that are used most in our household. They are the ones that have helped our children understand certain concepts the best and have been a great addition to their educational journey.
This colourful wooden abacus has been a staple in our home since as long as I can remember. It is a really useful tool to support simple sums up to 100. It visually makes the message of tens and units very clear and is used on a daily basis to help the kids calculate questions around them. They use this when playing maths board games, filling out worksheets or even when playing toy shops. It’s tactile and easy to understand and is a great non-threatening way to encourage a love or numbers.
Orchard Toys Games.
I am yet to find an Orchard Toy game that we haven’t enjoyed as a family. Their inviting bright pictures make them a real hit with the kids and each game supports a different aspect of learning. These games have taught our two addition, subtraction, coin recognition, number bonds, pattern forming, communication, phonics, spelling, risk-taking, recipe ideas, budgeting and so much more. There would be too many to list if we showed you all of the games that we have but here are a few of our favourites. You can also find a review of their Halloween games here.
Globe And Map Books.
Both of my two have always had a curiosity for our world and the countries in it. This globe is an interactive globe which allows them to play games, learn all about the countries, capitals, oceans and continents. It even plays the local music of each country.
To support their curiosity of the world around them we bought these books and they have been well loved and used so much. Quite often a question will come up and we will go and grab the books our globe and sit on our world rug and find all of the answers together. It is a lovely hands-on way to learn about our world and the places we want to see.
Bear pattern cards and counters.
This is one of my favourite resources as there have been endless play possibilities from them. We originally bought the bear counters to support the pattern cards but in truth, these counters have been played everywhere from the kitchen to the bath! So, aside from understanding pattern forming the kids have used these for colour grouping, size grouping, bear family role play, counting counters, playdough printing, even sharing, adding, subtraction, times tables, storytelling, engineering tasks, weights, length measurement, shape making, letter forming, float or sink, sensory play and so much more. They are loved by both of them and have been amazing value for money. (Even with half of them living under the sofas! Ha Ha!)
Measuring Worms And Sand Timer.
Both our kids love to measure the world around them. From the volume of water to weight or length they are constantly comparing and assessing everything that comes in their path. These measuring worms are from the same company as the bear counters and have fulfilled the brief in quite the same way. They have been used for so many other tasks than just the length measuring task they were originally signed to and like the bears are played with daily. The worms come with a measuring guide allowing your children to learn to measure in inches. They are a really fun way to grasps this concept.
The sand timer is Fins favourite. This one, in particular, is a 1-minute sand timer but we are definitely going to get the other lengths of time as he uses this so much. He sets himself challenges and measures how long simple tasks take. He can be found quite often just lying on the floor and watching the sand slip through the timer. It is a relaxing sensory experience making this perfect for both learning and enjoyment.
These games are amazing! You can buy different types of games for different ages but these three are definitely our most played with.
You roll a dice and then turn the sand timer. You then have until the timer runs out to study the card. Afterwards, you are then asked the question corresponding to the number on the dice. It is a fantastic way for them to learn concepts about different topics. For example, the maths one covers all things from 3-dimensional shapes to fractions, from money to symmetry. The science ones cover topics like animals, senses, life cycle, the body, materials and the weather. The world one teaches about countries, culture. landmarks and traditions. By just playing with these three simple games it covers most of the Uk primary curriculum for those subjects in a fun unschool way! There are more categories available too which will be getting some of soon. (Fin will love the space one!).
Test Tubes And Pipettes.
These resources have been so loved by our two. They are primarily their bath-time toys but are obviously called upon during science experiment time or for garden play too. The test tubes come with a measuring guide to teach your children about different measurements. At bath time the kids have learnt about buoyancy. The test tubes float with an air bubble inside and sink when they are filled up under the water pushing out all of the air. They have been used for potions, making perfume, comparing the volume of different vessels and colour mixing with coloured water. And of course they are also very posh glasses for Barbie to drink her bubble bath fizz out of too! The pipettes are a fantastic way to enhance dexterity, fine motor skills and support handwriting strength, as well as being super fun to squirt at Daddy!
Weighing Scales and Weights.
Ooh! I love these weighing scales so much. We have weighed almost everything in the house with these. The kids have always loved using my kitchen weighing scales to measure the weight of this that and the other so I knew that they would love these and I was not wrong. They have so much fun trying to equal the weight of both sides and have spent hours giggling over how heavy things are compared to their original estimation. The scales see-saw from side to side all day with teddies, lego people, play dough, sand you name it! The weights are a fabulous way of them finding out how much their beloved toys actually weigh by getting the scales to equalize.
We hope you find this list useful. We’d love it if you guys could let us know what your most treasured learning resources are too! It would be great to share ideas in the comment section to help all those other amazing families who stumble across this post. Happy learning Journey Jellies!!
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