Making Maths Fun & Practical for Kids

Without doubt the best way for children to truly ‘understand’ maths concepts is by using a very practical approach. This way you will bring maths to life so children can make sense of why the subject is important. Playing simple, fun games at home can reap benefits for your children in the classroom, teachers say.

Number Pairs/Bonds

Knowing your number bonds or pairs off by heart such as 8 + 2 = 10 or 16 + 4 = 20 is one of the key learning steps for your child, says Sarah Sinclair, primary school teacher. An easy way of reinforcing these are to make up a set of cards 0 to 20 and you can play all sorts of games. Memory games, snap, addition and subtraction, find the pair etc. Alternatively Sarah recommends Orchard Toys Magic Cauldron game.

magic cauldron game

Times Tables 

Learning your times tables can be a real chore but this book is a classic and will teach your child while they colour. All the pictures hide a shape that can be revealed by colouring in the multiples of a certain number. Age 6+ The Multiplication Tables Colouring Book by Hilary McElderry.
Colouring book

Division, division…

Division really means learning about sharing. One of the best ways to do this is to gather items you can use to count with such as grapes, conkers, cutlery, buttons etc. Then ask your child to share them equally between 2, 3 or 4 or more people. Make it fun by dividing up an apple or pizza and ask your child to share it. If there are any are left over this will prompt a discussion about ‘remainders’ and that not every number can be shared equally. Alternatively, there’s a great Pizza Fraction Fun Game you can play that helps with division and understanding the concept of fractions.

Pizza Fraction fun game

Weights & Measures

Quite possibly the best way to illustrate weights and measures is to cook with your children. My children from an early age have loved making cakes, getting out the scales and measuring the flour, sugar and butter. Even better once it is baked you can practice your division skills by sharing it out!

Cake Slices

Telling the Time

Simply reading a bus or train timetable can really help children understand the concept of time and the 12 and 24 hour clock. Or if you are in the car using a sat nav ask your child to work out how long the journey will take and how much longer it will take if you stop for 30 minutes etc. At home using a play clock can also help reinforce the concept of time. We love this one from Melissa & Doug Turn & Tell Wooden Clock.

melissa and doug toy clock

Shopping & Money

One of the best ways to introduce the idea of money is to talk about it when you go shopping. Get them to work out how much two items in your trolley will cost together. Ask your child to use their pocket money to buy something in a shop and work out the change as it all involves adding and subtracting and working out which coins/notes to use. All children love playing shops. Invest in a Pretend & Play Calculator Cash Register with Euro Money and you will have hours of fun.

cash registerWord Problems

Parents can help by breaking up word problems, perhaps by drawing a timeline or splitting it into bullet points, says Tash Rosin founder of Teatime Tutors. Even if your child is confident with their number pairs, presenting the sum in a word problem will add a whole different dimension. By illustrating the word problem you will be able to help your child spot which calculations they need to perform to solve the problem.

illustrating word problems

Get Outside This Autumn

It’s so easy once the nights draw in to forget about the great outdoors but research has shown that spending time outside is very beneficial. Not only will you and the kids get some sunshine and stock up on vitamin D before the winter months, being with nature is known to help with everyday stress and anxiety.

Autumn Leaves

Here’s our round up of the best things to do outside this autumn.

Get Creative

Go for a walk and find lots of different autumn leaves on the forest floor. Try to find as many different leaves as you can and have fun identifying them all. Then take them home and use them to create your own art work from pictures with real leaves to forest creatures with faces or turn them into a forest crown.

Leaf-Hunt

 

 

Build a Den

Kids love nothing better than creating their own woodland hideaway. Use branches, leaves and twigs to build a sturdy den. “Remember, never cut anything down or damage the wood to construct your den”,  say our friends across the pond, The Woodland Trust. Here their top tips for building the best den! 

  1. Find a good foundation – look out for a strong tree with suitable knobbly bits.
  2. Build your framework – find a couple of large branches and wedge them against the tree or use the trees branches instead.
  3. Build the walls – collect more branches and rest them against your framework. Pack them closely so they are strong and secure
  4. Protect from the elements – use smaller branches and twigs to cover your den. Push them into any gaps so that your den shelters you from the wind and rain.

den building

Clean a beach

Children love going to the beach and are often fantastic at picking up litter. Combine the two and find things to recycle on the beach. Or join forces with an organised beach and river clean. Clean Coasts organise regular events across Ireland and have some great advice.

beach clean

Make a Bug Hotel

You can attract beneficial insects and other creatures into your garden and add to garden biodiversity by building a bug mansion or even a more humble abode! To cater for a variety of bugs put your hotel where it will get some sun and shade, perhaps partially under a tree or hedge. Build a firm base. Try to use recycled or reclaimed materials. You can fill the gaps with dead wood, old bamboo canes or hotels drilled into blocks of wood make good nests for solitary bees. Straw, hay, dry leaves and loose bark also make great places for beetles, centipedes, spiders and woodlice to stay. 

Bug Hotel

 

Go Camping

If the weather is good head off for the weekend to spend days and nights outdoors camping! Catch the last of the autumn rays and toast marshmallows around the campfire. Children love being outdoors. Find your perfect campsite on Camping Ireland.

camping

Our Eco-friendly credentials

Here at My Nametags we are constantly striving to be as eco-friendly as possible from encouraging our employees to cycle to work to heating the office with recycled water.

We know you love our labels but thought you might like to know a few of our eco-friendly credentials

Trees

 

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All of our labels are free from BPA and Phtalates which is better for children and also for the environment. As you know, the print on our My Nametag labels and stickers is extremely resistant. Our iron-on and stick-on labels will stay on and therefore won’t pollute the environment.

 

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Check out our new eco-friendly packaging! We thought you should be the first to know that we are going to upgrade our packaging. The pack that you receive your My Nametag labels in will be made of easily recyclable card instead of plastic.

 

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By labelling all your things from clothes and shoes to bags, pencil cases and mobile phones you are as a family much less likely to lose stuff. This means you can save the environment by not having to buy new items. This is especially true of easily lost items like water bottles. Our mantra is reduce your waste, buy less, reuse more because you have labelled your things!

 

need labels now

 

 

 

 

 

If you need labels we can get them to you super quick whether you choose stickers or iron-ons. My Nametags labels are bright, hard-wearing and waterproof. To buy and customise our labels go to www.mynametags.com to see our full range of designs and products.

Meet Our New Baby Animals – win a free set!

We’ve been busy this summer at My Nametags HQ designing some super cute baby animal designs. To celebrate we are giving away a free set to one lucky My Nametags newsletter reader. See below for more information.

There are 38 new designs, all as cute as each other, from tigers and elephants to owls and puppy dogs. Which one will you choose? To give you a taster, we introduce some of our favourite baby animals with some amazing animal facts.

Will you choose a baby ? Did you know that when baby elephants are born they are covered in black fur? They can walk and follow the herd after just half an hour of being born!

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Lion cubs start walking at 10-15 days old. The female lionesses teach their young to hunt as they do the majority of the hunting for the entire pride.

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Did you know that there are three species of zebra: Grevy’s, mountain and plains. Plains are the most common. Baby zebras are called foals and they can run with the herd within a few hours of birth.3

Baby dolphins are called a calf. As soon as the calf is born, the mother must quickly take it to the surface so it can take its first breath. The calf will stay with its mother until it is between 3 and 8 years old.4

Cats and humans have been associated for nearly 10000 years and there are over 500 million domestic cats in the world. Cats conserve energy by sleeping for an average of 13 to 14 hours a day!

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The tiger is the biggest species of the cat family. Unlike most members of the cat family, tigers like water. They are good swimmers and often cool off in pools or streams.
Image pf a cute tiger icon

 

COMPETITION TIME – win a free set! 

Please note that this competition has now closed.

 

The Best Travel Toys for Kids

Travelling with children can stressful with children especially if it involves long waits at airports or lengthy car journeys. As a mum of four I have found that with a bit of planning you can have a stress-free journey…well almost! All my children from a very early age had their own backpacks into which I would pop a variety of things to keep them entertained and they too would bring a few of their favourite toys.

Most of these items do not involve any kind of technology or power as some of the best ways of keeping children entertained are often the most simple.

Travel Mobile

This lightweight, portable mobile is a must for babies who travel. The VTech Pack n Go Travel Mobile easily attaches to most cots, playpens, prams and baby carriers. The light-up button plays lullabies and melodies and has a multi-colour night-light to soothe your little one when away from home. Set the timer and it will automatically switch off. Suitable from birth €27.00

 

MNT - Travel mobile

Aquadoodle

Keep toddlers entertained with the added bonus of no mess with this portable Tomy Aquadraw Travel Drawing Bag. Simply fill the Aquadoodle pen with water and see your designs magically appear. Once the water dries the drawings fade away so you’re ready to start again. Suitable from 18 months. £13.05. Available for delivery in Ireland.Image of Aquadoodle travel set

Books with added extras

Small children love being read to. Thomas is a favourite and this new book also has 10 magnetic characters to create adventures of your own with Thomas, James, Percy, Harold and all their friends. Thomas & Friends Magnetic Children’s Book €8.50. Babies and toddlers love pressing buttons and The Tiddler Sound Children’s Book €18.00 will bring the story to life.

Thomas book

Tiddler sound book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel Train Set

My kids love a train set and this new travel version from Brio comes with a special carry-along case. Chunky plastic connector pieces help kids guide the train onto the tracks, and the train car polarity swivels so that the cars can be easily attached in any direction. My First Take Along Set £29.99. Available for delivery in Ireland.Brio Travel set

Creations on-the-move!

Playdoh is always a winner in my book. This Play-Doh Activity Backpack is perfect for having fun on the move. Includes coloured doughs, tools, pens and a colouring book £6.99. Or try Playfoam – a lightweight modelling foam that never dries out. The Playfoam Go! set in a plastic carrying case includes 8 colours of PlayFoam, each kept neat and tidy in its own unique compartment £12. Available for delivery in Ireland.

playdoh set

playfoam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activity Cards

These brilliant cards from Usborne are a must for kids on any journey. 50 wipe-clean cards with 100 simple activities to keep young children occupied including games, puzzles and quizzes using everyday objects found inside the vehicle or seen out the window. Plus a special pen to write on the cards. 100 things for little children to do on a journey £6.99. Available for delivery in Ireland.

Usbourne cards

Playmobil Travel Sets

My kids love Playmobil and we’ve found these travel sets to be particularly good for entertaining them on journeys but will also provide hours of fun at your holiday destination. Playmobil City Action Take Along Hospital Playset €29.50.

playmobil

Educational Packs

Add an educational twist to your travel toys with this portable pack which teaches children all about letters. There are ones on numbers and shapes too. Age 5+ Fundels Play & Learn Writing Letters £9.99. Available for delivery in Ireland.

Play and learn

Cards

Playing a game of cards whiles away hours while travelling and is fantastic fun when you get there too. As a family we love UNO. It’s easy to play, fast paced and quite addictive too. For 2-10 players £7.99. Available for delivery in Ireland.

MNT - UNO

Top Trumps

Top Trumps is a must on any journey. There are hundreds of sets to choose from to suit all tastes from Paw Patrol to Star Wars, Harry Potter and Football. Top Trumps £4.99. Available for delivery in Ireland.

Top Trumps

Bananagrams

Banangrams is the perfect travel game as it requires no pencil, paper or board. All you need is a flat surface. Great for family fun and helps with vocab and spelling too. Age 7+ Bananagrams £14.98. Available for delivery in Ireland.

Bananagrams

Sticker Books

Sticker books are just perfect for entertaining kids almost anywhere. Peppa’s Dress-up sticker book  £5.99 is perfect younger children. While older ones would love this fantastic Big Dinosaur Sticker book £6.99. Available for delivery in Ireland.

Peppa Pig sticker book

Dinosaur sticker book

Ten of the Best One-Piece Swimsuits

We’ve searched high and low and found the best swimsuits on the market this summer. Go retro with florals or pastels. Bring the off-the-shoulder or the one-shoulder trend to the beach. Or opt for nautical stripes. or a block colour instead. Shop our edit of the best summer one-pieces.

Embrace Florals

Ditch the black. Florals are big news this summer. Zara has a gorgeous printed one-piece – €19.95 Floral Print Swimwear.

 

zara ie

Stripes & Nautical

If florals simply aren’t your thing then embrace the nautical trend instead. A classic one-piece is just perfect for lounging around the pool. Seafolly Castaway Bandeau Swimsuit in Indigo €67.00 Selfridges.

swimsuit-ie

Off-the-Shoulder

Bring the off-the-shoulder trend to the beach with this gorgeous floral swimsuit from H&M…it’s almost too pretty to go in the pool. Off-the-shoulder swimsuit €24.99

Image of an off the shoulder swimsuit

The One Shoulder

This swimsuit is bang on trend with the one-shoulder look…navy looks great with a tan but it comes in black as well as four other colours. Violet Lake, Caruso €195.00violet lake off the shoulder

Lace-it-up

Swimsuits with a lace-up feature are on trend this summer. M&S has a gorgeous print swimsuit plus hidden control fabric too. Secret Slimming™ Printed Lace-up Swimsuit in Mint Mix €54.00Image of M&S lace up swimsuit

Pretty in Pink!

Pink is this season’s must-have colour. We just love just hot pink swimsuit which will add some colour to wardrobe. Seaspray Just Colour Plunge Halter Swimsuit in lipstick pink €90.75 from Simply Beach.

Seaspray swimsuit in pink

Jungle Safari

Look for wild fabrics – tropical florals and animal prints – from earthy neutrals to lush greens. Figleaves has a great selection including this Maryan Mehlhorn Rainforest One Piece – Caribbean £179

Image of a rainforest inspired swimsuit

The White Swimsuit

If you dare, a white swimsuit will show off your tan to perfection. Elegantly classic this Melissa Odabash number is designed to flatter. Phuket Halterneck Swimsuit White £200.00. Comes in indigo, dusty rose and black too.

Melissa Odabash swimsuit in white

Body Perfect

Many swimsuits have ‘secret support’ to flatter your figure. Heidi Klein has just launched ‘Body’ a range of swimwear to give you the sleekest of silhouettes this summer. Body Cornflower Blue D-G Wrap One Piece €283.27

Heidi Klein swimsuit2-for-1 Reversible

Reversible swimsuits are very versatile (less packing too!). Seafolly has a fantastic reversible swimsuit in vintage floral print one side and a soft candy stripe on the reverse. Seafolly Vintage Wildflower Reversible V Maillot Swimsuit – Iceberg £98 from Cocobay.

reversible swimsuitreversible swimsuit

How to Manage Your Kids’ Screen Time

Amanda gets asked all the time “How much screen time is healthy for kids?” If you use the following as a rough guide for age appropriate screen time you won’t be going far wrong, says Amanda.

3-7-year-olds – half an hour to an hour a day

7-12-year-olds – 1 hour a day

12-15-year-olds – 1 and a half hours a day

16+ 2 hours a day

Amanda shares her top tips on managing screen time and usage with My Nametags’ newsletter readers.

label preview

Once you’ve established and agreed with your child how much screen time they are allowed, try and stick to it.  Children are creatures of habit and love a routine. Parents and children love the TimeTokens Promise Contract for that very reason! Let them choose when to use their tokens e.g. 30 minutes after school or weekends only. “I’ve been using TimeTokens with Harry (now 9) for 2.5 years – it’s just part of our routine and so simple we don’t even think about it,” says Amanda. 

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If your child keeps to the rules, reward them.  No arguments and no complaining deserves a treat, right?  “TimeTokens uses a Golden Ticket which works really well as a carrot to keep them on track.  If they stick to the Promise Contract they get to trade in the Golden Ticket at the weekend for a well-earned treat … but not more screentime!” Described as a ‘Genius Idea’ by Kirstie Allsopp. Find out more at TimeTokens.

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Do talk to your child about internet safety. Get free and practical advice about keeping your kids safe online at Internet Matters. By keeping devices in a family space you can easily monitor what your child is viewing, says Amanda. Do talk to your child about what they like playing during their screen time usage. “Find out what their favourite app is? What do their friends play/look at?” as this way you will be tuned into what they are doing on their screens.

illustration

There is no natural stopping device for children today, with access to 24 hours non-stop entertainment.  “Try to create your own stopping device. It will make your life easier, you then lay the ground rules with your child,” says Amanda. Try to make sure your child takes regular breaks in their screentime sessions and keeps a good posture.

illustration

Avoid using screens during mealtimes as this should be time to chat about your day. Children’s brains need time to switch off so turn screens off at least 60 minutes before bedtime and keep bedrooms as screen-free zones.

illustration

And finally, children model their behaviour on what they see around them so be mindful about your own digital habits – like checking your phone at the dinner table!

Introducing our New Travel Labels

We’ve lost countless flip flops and swimming goggles on holiday not to mention the odd iPod and mobile phone. But this year we will be well-armed with some of My Nametag’s new travel-themed labels to get us in the holiday mood.

 

Luggage

Don’t forget to label your luggage. There’s nothing worse than looking for that elusive black bag on the luggage carousel. We think our labels will make your bags, from suitcases to backpacks, stand out from the crowd (and hopefully harder to lose…). Why not add an address or phone number?

 

1 Sunny St

Prams & Cots

Whether you’re going on a day trip or a week away be sure to label your child’s pram to avoid any confusion when you’re out and about. Our labels will stick onto travel cots, car and booster seats as well as baby bottles and water bottles.

Emily's pram

The Beach

If you’re anything like us, everything is spread across the beach by the end of the day. Use our stickers to label everything super quickly. They’ll stay in place on wet clothes and in the sun too. For beach towels and swimsuits stick them onto the care label. Never lose another pair of sunglasses, goggles, flip flops or your snorkel again.

kate clark

Electronics

Phone chargers are always going missing in our house and it only gets worse awhen we’re travelling. You should label up your phone, MP3 player, tablet and camera whether you’re travelling or not.

suzie's charger

Whether you choose stickers or iron-ons. My Nametags labels are bright, hard-wearing and waterproof. To buy and customise our travel labels go to www.mynametags.ie/travel or see our full range of designs and products at www.mynametags.ie

Top 7 Dresses to Rock Summer 2017

A dress is an essential part of every woman’s wardrobe from daytime and work wear to parties and weddings. We give you the lowdown on the 7 key 2017 Summer fashion trends that will most influence your wardrobe choices this year from the cold shoulder to full on florals, stripes and ruffles.

BRIGHTER THE BETTER

Rainbow colours are in. Think bright blue, sunny yellow, grass green, purple and pink…The choice is yours as long as it’s bright. Don’t be afraid to clash those brights either. Zara Frilled Lace Dress €49.95.Zara frilled lace dress

PINK, PINK & MORE PINK

Like it or not pink is one of the hottest trends this season. Anything goes from the palest blush to searing hot fuchsia. Take your pick. This  summer dress from Hush works the clashing colour trend too. Hush Grecian dress  £45 (available for delivery in Ireland).Image of Hush pink dress

THE WHITE DRESS

White is your elegant go to shade for summer. We love this perfect midi length dress with lace detail from Aspiga. Henley Cotton Silk Dress  €168.Aspiga Henley cotton dress

RUFFLE IT UP

Ruffles are here to stay. Ruffle elegantly with this gorgeous green maxi dress. If you’d rather just add a touch here and there rest assured there will be plenty of blouses and skirts with ruffles on a high street near you. Karen Millen Ruffle and lace-up maxi dress  €550.Karen Millen ruffle dress

THE COLD SHOULDER

Exposed shoulders are a big theme this season. We love the length and casual style of this number from Anthropologie. Avenia Open-Shoulder Maxi Dress  €206.Image of Anthropologie dress

WALLPAPER PRINTS

Head-to-toe prints are everywhere this summer. Full on florals are without a doubt a must. Summer Fiesta print dress €99 from & Other stories.

Stories fiesta print

GRAPHIC STRIPES

If you can’t do florals then statement stripes could be your thing. Although not strictly a dress we think this jumpsuit ticks all the style boxes. H&M Strapless Jumpsuit €49.99.HM stripe

 

 

Adam’s Epic Adventure – A close encounter…

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Remember last week when I was getting drenched by a tropical storm outside the Sydney Opera House? Well I’m back and this time a little dryer! I was getting used to wearing my poncho but thankfully I can now be back in my natural cuddly state.

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I went for a walk along this wall. As I stopped to admire the view, a passer-by noticed my nametag shining brightly. As the man approached I could see the concern on his face gradually increase. He picked me up and held me tightly in his hand. He looked around to see if anyone standing nearby might own me. Gazing me up and down he searched for more clues. My heart was beating faster and faster. I didn’t want to be abducted because I was enjoying my holiday so much! He slowly drew me closer to his face. I looked him directly in the eyes, praying he wouldn’t steal me. As he paused for what seemed like eternity I saw a glint of discontent in his eyes. He couldn’t figure out a way to reunite me with my owner and so failing to establish a solution, he popped me back on the wall and slowly walked away, turning his head towards me every so often as he drifted into the distance.  I sighed with relief. “Few! That was a close one…”

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Little did he know my name was in fact Adam, not my owner. I’m not like your average teddy bear you see. I’m on my own journey, exploring every nook and cranny of the globe in an effort to enrich my experiences and feedback some epic stories to you awesome guys. I’m sure one day I’ll reunite myself with my owner, but for now the journey of discovery must go on.

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This park seems like a safe place for me to call home this week. It has my favourite type of trees and comfy green grass. So long as it doesn’t start raining again… Next week I’ll be heading somewhere far far away. Stay tuned to see my progress, I wonder what’s around the next corner?… Until next week folks…