Preparing for Back to School with Learning Resources

I’ve long been a fan of Learning Resources as a brand – both at home and in my classroom. I was first introduced to them during my time as Nursery teacher some 12 years ago and have used them in school ever since.

At home they are one of the first brands I look to when I’m searching for educational resources.  I invested in a set of Learning Resources sorting animals when I was first trying to teach Ben his colours knowing we’d be able to use them for sorting, making patterns, learning about size and colour, counting… The list goes on.

All About Me Family Counters and All About Me Family Counters Activity Cards

Now straight up I’m going to say that the All About Me Family Counters aren’t just about maths – they’re also great for social development.  With family counters to represent people and pets, they’re great for initial discussions around who is in your family and developing personal identity.  That said, we went very much down the maths route when we started to play with them.

At first, I just tipped all 72 counters out onto the table and asked Amy if she could sort them by colour which she did confidently, naming the colours as she went along and also discussing the sizes of the counters or who they represented and counting some of them.  For not quite three years old, she has a fairly impressive grasp of her colours and her sorting ability is top-notch.  Had we wanted to extend the sorting activity we could have sorted them by type or grouping them into families with one of each type of counter.

Learning Resources Family Counters

Learning Resources sorting people

Once she’d finished sorting the counters, we decided to take a look at the All About Me Family Counters Activity Cards, starting off really simply with a matching activity before moving onto simple repeating patterns.  I was impressed that with a little help Amy was about to complete the most simple of the repeating patterns – this certainly wasn’t something we’d worked on before.  The fact that the Activity Cards are “language free” means that your ability to read (or not) has no impact on you being able to complete the tasks – the focus is solely on your maths skills.

Learning resources activity cards

Learning Resources Repeating patterns with Mummy

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Ben & Amy with learning resources

Making repeating patterns with Learning Resources

As the levels of the cards increases they begin to address simple addition, subtraction or multiplication calculations and even start to work on introducing some basic algebra with missing number calculations (something which children often find very difficult in the early days so it’s worth practising!)  Ben came and had a look at some of those cards and whilst the foxed him initially he soon had it sorted and knew what was expected of him.  (I love that this proves the value of the cards as they can be used from Amy being two right through to Ben being ready to move into the juniors next month!  All three of my children can benefit from counters and activity cards)

This one box of easy to handle, brightly coloured counters (and the associated sturdy cards) offers up so many possibilities for learning and reinforcing early maths skills both at home and in the classroom and we flipping love them!

Figuro Mental Maths Card Games (Multiplication and Division) 
Ben’s school report (like most kids of his age) said he would benefit from working on his multiplication & division facts. We often practice his timetables if we’re on our own in the car & I’ve downloaded apps from him to practice with (though he’d rather spend his time watching rubbish on YouTube).  I know from experience that your times table and associated division facts really do need to be known by heart.  I’m not sure I ever really learned mine properly and now at 36, I till find myself relying on “known facts” – which basically means that I know bits of my times tables  (eg 6 x 6 = 36) and can quickly work out the rest from there.  Which is fine, it works.  But really I do wish I knew them better, that I could be quicker with them – I think I’ve just got a mental block now.  I want Ben to know his times tables inside out so that he doesn’t even really have to think about them anymore.

Of course a great way of getting his multiplication and division facts really secure is to play around with them and the Figuro Mental Maths Card Games from Learning Resources give him the opportunity to do just that.  Designed for 2 or more players, each pack offers up four clear games to be played along with suggestions for more activities.

Learning Resources Figuro cards

The cards are great quality and are clearly made to withstand being played with over and over again.  The cards are organised into difficulty levels so you can play with one level or all at once.  They also feature a unique “self-check code” along the sides of the card which allows players to quickly check their answers whilst playing – the teacher in me loves this as it means the game could be played independently.

Although the cards are targeted at ages 6 and up, and Ben is more than capable of understanding and playing the games themselves, we found that as yet his knowledge of multiplication facts just isn’t good enough.  The games focus on finding equivalent answers – eg if your card says 10 x 10 then you can find a matching card of 20 x 5  . . . so you have to work out the answers to both calculations to check that they match.  I think this is great for children who are more confident in their times tables already but for Ben it was a step too far at the moment.

I can see the cards being really handy in a classroom as a starter activity or in small groups as part of a main lesson on multiplication or division.  I know that Ben is going to really enjoy using them further down the line once he has a more secure knowledge base to work from!

 

 

*We were sent these Learning Resources products free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own*

*Read more reviews here*

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98 Comments

  1. August 31, 2016 / 2:12 pm

    I really do love the look of these, would be ideal for Max before he goes to school next year.

  2. August 31, 2016 / 9:26 pm

    These are fab, I have got the physical stuff ready, uniform etc but haven’t got much else done. Too preoccupied packing the house. x

  3. September 1, 2016 / 8:32 am

    These look brilliant and a great way to engage your little ones in learning ? #triedtested

  4. Rebecca Taylor
    September 1, 2016 / 2:57 pm

    I am just introducing the idea of school and how exciting it is going to be for my son!

  5. September 1, 2016 / 3:19 pm

    I like the way they make learning fun with those counters – in my day they were literally just that, round counters! #TriedTested

  6. September 1, 2016 / 4:47 pm

    These look like gret fun!I love all sorts of learning resources xx

    #triedtested

  7. Kirsty Fox
    September 2, 2016 / 11:25 pm

    My kids have got a new school uniform from September and they will have to wear a tie now, so they are actually really excited about going back, they are convinced that they will look like Harry Potter!!

  8. Kerry Kilmister
    September 4, 2016 / 1:36 am

    My 2 children go back on Tuesday. Today we tried on the kids school uniforms to make sure that they fit, and we have packed their schoolbags. It saves last minute panic.

  9. ADEINNE TONNER
    September 4, 2016 / 2:40 pm

    We have a countdown calendar for going back to school so that the children are aware how many days it is instead of telling them a few days before they return to school

  10. jo liddement
    September 4, 2016 / 3:08 pm

    My husband is a teacher at my son’s school so they have both been busy getting their rucksacks organised with pens,notebooks,etc and are pretty much organised for school now.My tip is to buy new school shoes at the beginning of the holiday as some styles and sizes sell out quickly.

  11. Rebecca Mercer
    September 4, 2016 / 7:42 pm

    I was organised quite early this year, I’m usually on the last minute, so that would be my tip get organised early

  12. Rachel Butterworth
    September 4, 2016 / 8:52 pm

    Get up an hour earlier than usual, so you’re not on your last legs.

  13. September 6, 2016 / 8:28 am

    My youngest has similar colour counters as nursery – I think they are great idea. I love the idea of the Figaro cards too. My oldest hasn’t started learning division or multiplication yet but I think I will look into these when the time comes #TriedTested

  14. September 8, 2016 / 9:04 am

    Prepare as much as possible, it will be our first going back to school experience!

  15. September 8, 2016 / 10:55 pm

    We spent the last bit of summer focused on decluttering and organising the house, in readiness 🙂

  16. September 11, 2016 / 12:19 pm

    Preparation is the key – lunch made the night before, showers and clothes ready the night before, school bag packed etc.

  17. Danielle Graves
    September 11, 2016 / 4:31 pm

    We prepare by reintroducing the routine which had become a little lapse during the holidays. Make sure we have all clothing washed and ready and always pack school bag the night before so we don’t forget anything.

  18. Kelly Ellen Hirst
    September 11, 2016 / 5:01 pm

    We keep to a routine and also read and do some activities over the holidays to keep their brains active! They are always eager to return to school

  19. Carly Belsey
    September 11, 2016 / 9:01 pm

    My son was really excited to go back to school and see his friends. I got his uniform really early this year as last year I left it until the last minute and they had run out of stock of some things so my tip is dont leave it until the last minute! 🙂

  20. September 12, 2016 / 8:47 pm

    Pack bags the night before so it’s not a rush in the morning

  21. Ema J Lowe
    September 13, 2016 / 2:26 pm

    get all the uniform out the night before. I always make sure the uniform with socks n briefs are all in their own pile ready for the mornings.

  22. Caroline Signey
    September 13, 2016 / 10:26 pm

    I made sure I ordered everything I needed uniform wise online a couple of weeks before the start of school then made sure it fit and named it all, much less stressful than going out to the shops!

  23. Kate Davies
    September 14, 2016 / 1:23 pm

    My little boy started reception last week so we practiced things like putting coats and shoes on and off and getting changed into his pe kit. One of my top tips would be to organise everything the night before, uniform out, lunch made, homework done.

  24. Rebecca Powell
    September 14, 2016 / 1:41 pm

    My son has only started school for the first time this week

  25. carol boffey
    September 14, 2016 / 8:40 pm

    Always prepare get stuff ready the night before

  26. September 15, 2016 / 12:47 am

    I bought Joshs uniform as soon as I saw them in the shops, so I wasn’t stressed out shopping for uniforms and trying to label everything last minute.

  27. Rich Tyler
    September 18, 2016 / 1:21 am

    Making most of time we get together

  28. Tracy
    September 19, 2016 / 1:32 pm

    Try to relax and not stress about it. Children pick up on this and it makes them worry too. Learning this the hard way!

  29. Heather Morrison
    September 20, 2016 / 1:58 pm

    We have “week drawers” which have things in them that my son needs day to day such as homework. There’s 5 drawers (Monday to friday)xx

  30. Sarah Parker
    September 20, 2016 / 2:07 pm

    I find it useful to establish routines 🙂

  31. Barbara Handley
    September 20, 2016 / 2:44 pm

    My grandson was five last week so has now started school. He was prepared by walking to and from school every day with his older siblings and his mother. It then felt natural for him to go in with them.

  32. nolene oneill
    September 20, 2016 / 5:05 pm

    Everything bought, ironed and ready weeks before they went back to school no point waiting till the last minute, the shops are hectic then

  33. Laura Harrison
    September 20, 2016 / 5:54 pm

    Getting back into a routine, up early, lunch boxes and stationery packed the night before. Thank you for the chance xxx

  34. paula cheadle
    September 20, 2016 / 10:30 pm

    make sure everything is ready the night before, so there is not a made rush searching for stuff just as you wish to leave

  35. Samantha Parkes
    September 21, 2016 / 12:24 am

    Early nights and sticking to a routine is how we prepare

  36. Rachel Craig
    September 21, 2016 / 1:18 am

    We have spoken about it as a family, went shopping for clothing and other items required. Visit to school. Knows who will escort to and from school. Luckily accepting of all changes, seems excited.

  37. Stephanie Keill
    September 21, 2016 / 9:18 am

    I love to read to my children, these are fantastic

  38. Hayley Todd
    September 21, 2016 / 10:12 am

    These are such a fabulous resource! I always get back to school ready nice and early in the summer holidays, so there is no rush, panic buying and the whole transition process at the end of the summer to going to school again isn’t stressful.

  39. Jodie harvey
    September 21, 2016 / 10:16 am

    weve never had any problems going back to school, the kids are always excited to go back and see their friends and teachers and see what new things they can learn

  40. kim neville
    September 21, 2016 / 11:08 am

    My son did some of the Letts books over summer and we always get new uniform a few weeks before go back in case all his sizes go

  41. Pauline Burroughs
    September 21, 2016 / 2:19 pm

    Getting into a routine is the best thing. It can help reduce stress levels x

  42. Deborah Mackenzie
    September 21, 2016 / 4:29 pm

    Have a routine, earlier bed time than the holidays and have all their things ready at night for the morning.

  43. Rebecca Roberts
    September 21, 2016 / 8:45 pm

    Early to bed up early 7:30 dressed

  44. Natalie Crossan
    September 21, 2016 / 9:28 pm

    We went on a big shopping trip xx

  45. jackie beckett
    September 21, 2016 / 9:52 pm

    everything ready as much as possible the night before

  46. Diana
    September 21, 2016 / 10:02 pm

    Would love to win for my daughter! She’s born in September so starts school next year 🙂

  47. Tammy Neal
    September 21, 2016 / 10:48 pm

    Getting into a routine is the best thing. It can help reduce stress levels xx

  48. Nicole S.
    September 21, 2016 / 11:56 pm

    We are reading lots and working on writing skills. 🙂

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