Now the summer holidays are upon us, many parents, grandparents & childminders face one of the biggest challenges – how to keep children entertained for the next 6 weeks or so?
I’m sure many of you have trips to the beach, visits to the zoo, days out to the museum and holidays planned but some cheaper activities are usually the trickier ones to find. In our house we love an arts & crafts day where we create beautiful pieces of art. Paints, pens paper, sketchbooks, scrapbooks, colouring books and activity books, are all key ingredients to a fun arts & crafts day! It’s easy to find a thick, chunky, poor quality colouring book in the local pound shop but that doesn’t give me or my kids the quality fun exciting day we love. I want to find high quality, useful and fabulous activity books that will keep the kids occupied for longer than 5 mins and give them a great sense of achievement and pride.
I was recently sent a Mark Makers Activity Book, which has been designed & created by Rachel Fay, the founder of Little Learners UK, who are specialists in providing educational messy play for under 5s. The mark makers activity book is also aimed at children under 5. The 4 cute little characters, Lionel, Archie, Swirlo & Ziggy , aid development by teaching kids how to form numbers, letters, shapes and patterns in the correct way as well as teaching them the early skills of writing.
The activity book taught us that children use scribbles and patterns to explore, create, experiment and express themselves. This is the beginning of mark making and then this in time develops writing skills. Lionel is the Soldier Mark and he teaches children about straight lines. The book hosts a whole rang of different activities such as tracing straight-line with your finger, drawing straight line shapes, learning straight line numbers e.g. 1. before practicing straight line letters such at T. After we learnt all about Archie, the Rainbow Mark, which form the humps and arches in our numbers & letters. The book was fabulous for repeating and reinforcing so that we continuously practiced the formation of our rainbow letters and numbers e.g. the letter m and number 3. To me this is important as it is vital to keep on practising because practice makes perfect!!!
Swirlo, the Magic Mark, then went on to teach us all about magic mark shapes and numbers which form our eights, nines, sixes, zeros, circles and ovals. After drawing lots of different magic marks we loved colouring in our picture. The next step was to learn the letters. After a little practice we nailed it and could beautifully draw the letters a and s! The final character we met in the book was Ziggy and he is the Monster Mark. He helped us learn all about zig zags and diagonal lines. Again the repetitive nature of the book really helps children to learn and practice but I loved how the book was broken down into stages and we learnt one thing at a time. I think this is key because you don’t want to overload kids!
Pre-schoolers will love exploring these educational ideas through messy play and drawing, and will soon recognise and re-create soldier, rainbow, magic and monster marks. These marks make up the letters of the alphabet, numbers and shapes – and your child will have a head start on learning.
I love how all the fun activities in this book were designed by a qualified and experienced Early Years teacher to encourage mark making – the skill that leads to writing. This means that any child who uses this activity book is learning through play, which is just fantastic. Also at the back of the book there are extra mark making activities you can do such as play dough, sensory gloop and much more….
I’d highly recommend this activity book for any pre schooler ( and parent/adult too) but also make sure you check out this brilliant scribble and doodle activity book and this Rachel Ellen ballet colouring book because they’re fun & fab too!