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Supporting children’s mental health

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This is a pretty powerful quote and so relevant to children’s mental health and emotional well-being.  The wonderful thing is that there are so many things we can do to help give our children the foundations to help them to grow up into strong, confident, resilient and happy adults.

We can help our children to learn the names of different emotions so that they can learn to express themselves through words. We can talk openly with our children about emotions so that they know they can talk about theirs too, and know that emotions aren’t bad things that need to be suppressed. Instead they can learn that it is how we respond to them that is important. We can let children know that their feelings are important, even when it seems as though they are getting upset about something that might seem small, as it probably isn’t a small thing to them. We can model behaviour by saying ‘sorry’ when we get it wrong, and we can talk with them openly about how we might try and manage our own feelings sometimes (‘I’m sorry I yelled at you. Next time I’m going to stop, take some deep breaths, and calm down before I speak’). We can help children to understand that how they think about something can affect how they feel, and subsequently how they react to a situation, and how ‘helpful’ thoughts can lead to more positive feelings and responses. Communicating positive messages to our children regularly (e.g. ‘I’m so glad you came into the world’) can do so much to help little ones feel loved and secure. We can lean down to our children, or pick them up, so that they can hug out hearts, and not our knees.

I could go on… And indeed I did go on in the way of writing the booklet that comes in the Little Wise Box of Emotions. With this kit, I wanted to put something together that is packed with tools, ideas and insight into different things we can do to help lay the foundations and support our little ones social and emotional development. I hope that some of the ideas mentioned above offer some food for thought. A small thing every day can make such a big difference to a child for the rest of their life…

Wishing you all a happy Mental Health Awareness Week ❤️

Colour recognition

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Colour recognition is an essential building block in a young child’s development and will provide a range of life-long learning skills. Here’s a fun early years activity I’ve created to help little ones learn about their colours…

Firstly, you can develop a colour chart together. For this, you’ll need a range of different coloured pens or pencils and a piece of paper. The piece of paper needs two columns. The column on the left-hand side should be titled – ‘Colour’. On the left hand-side column you can then draw rows of different shapes in different colours, and colour them in together. Next to this, you can write the name of the colour. The right-hand column should be titled ‘Number’.

When you next go out and about, bring this piece of paper and a pen out with you. Keep your eyes peeled and see how many things you can spot together of each colour, and mark numbers on the colour chart in the ‘Number’ column. When choosing your colours for the colour chart, you could also use the same colour in different shades (e.g. a dark blue and a light blue) to further enhance children’s understanding of colour. The reason I wanted to draw the colours with shapes is so that we can also throw a bit of learning about shapes into the activity as well.

Little Wise Junior is seven now, and so has a great understanding of colours. Nevertheless, when I asked her to draw an example of the colour chart I describe above for this post, she became completely engaged in the exercise and really wanted us to bring it out with us on our trip out in the afternoon so that she can have a go as well. It just goes to show that one is never to old to have fun exploring colours 🔺🔵🔸🔴

Activities for learning about maths

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Everyday activities for learning about maths

The Little Wise Box of Maths provides lots of opportunities for exploring numbers, shapes, distances and sizes.  Perfect for keeping the little one(s) busy and entertained while on the move.  There are many other complementary things you can also do to make learning maths fun using everyday objects and activities.  This blog builds on the previous one which looked at shapes, and suggests a range of ideas for exploring additional wider aspects of maths as well.

At home
– Cooking together and letting children help with weighing and counting out spoonfuls and measurements.
– Sorting washing together by size and colour; and pairing up socks.
– Creating shapes out of different objects, such as coins or forks.
– Cutting toast into squares and triangles.
– Model building with recycled breakfast cereal boxes etc and exploring different shapes and sizes.
– Marking everybody’s height on the wall and seeing who is the tallest, the shortest, and who comes in the middle.
– Writing a selection of numbers on a chalk board. When you call out a number they have to identify it and squirt it with water.
– Exploring position by moving an item into different locations and asking if it is on top of/ underneath, in front of/behind, to the left of/or the right etc.

When out and about

– Getting the little one involved when out shopping – reading price tags, counting apples and other items, sorting coins and comparing weights (the heaviest and the lightest etc).
– Have a number plate hunt. See who can spot the number  X on the parked cars while walking down the street; and have a go adding the numbers in the number plate up.
– Reading the numbers on the doors while walking down the street.
– Counting how many lampposts you can spot.
– Counting down the seconds on the bus and train electronic announcement boards together.
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I hope you find these suggestions useful and here’s to lots of fun exploring maths with your little one(s). 🔺1⃣🔹2⃣🔴3⃣🔸