General Archives - Little Scholars Playground

The 3 core benefits of puzzles for early childhood development

Estimated reading time: 4 mins

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Children love puzzles in early childhood. It’s not only fun, but it also acts as a great source of development in early childhood. With babies you can start with peg puzzles with simple shapes. They can then move onto real world objects and then they can move onto jigsaw puzzles as they get older.

There are 3 core benefits of puzzles in early childhood development, which are:

1) Physical skills

  • Hand-eye coordination — your child will develop the relationship between what their hands do and what they see with their eyes
  • Gross motor skills — larger puzzle pieces helps to enhance your child’s large movements
  • Fine motor skills — better handwriting skills can be created due to your child’s movement of their fingers to get a puzzle piece in exactly the right spot.

2) Cognitive skills

  • Shape recognition — the first puzzles your child should use are simple shapes, such as triangle, squares and circles
  • Visual memory — Your child has to remember the shape of pieces that don’t fit when they first try
  • Brain development and problem solving —Your child uses critical thinking skills to solve the puzzle they’re doing.

3) Emotional skills

  • Setting goals — your child will begin to create their own series of goals to solve the puzzle. Such as starting with a certain puzzle piece first
  • Patience — puzzles will help your child practice patience and slowly work through the puzzle before finishing.

These three basic skills are the building blocks for a well-rounded child and builds upon their problem-solving skills, the foundation for maths.

In addition to these three basics, if your child does a puzzle with a friend or family member, this will allow them to grow their social skills.  

We have launched a new solar system puzzle 🎉 Emmanuel and Sienna zoom into space in our NEW solar system wooden puzzle. This puzzle is beautifully designed by us and handmade in the UK, using eco-friendly FSC wood. It also includes a FREE fact sheet 🚀 You can buy our puzzle here.


The solar system for kids is a place of great fun and mystery – whether it’s their fascination with the stars, planets or astronauts, they love space! It’s also STEM focused as it introduces children to science 🪐

solar system wooden puzzle

Natalie

Little Scholars Playground
info@littlescholarsplayground.com

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About the author

Natalie is the co-founder and illustrator at Little Scholars Playground. She is passionate about literacy, learning, illustrating, black women in STEM and Montessori.


How you can help your child succeed at school

Estimated reading time: 6 mins

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Let’s face it, the last two years has been very challenging, between the pandemic and home schooling it has been stressful for many. This has caused a setback in teachers’ ability to teach and therefore the ability to help children learn. So we thought that as we’re in a new year it would be good to highlight some ways in which us parents can support not only our children’s learning but support their teachers/ nurseries.

How working with your child’s teacher will help them learn

Research has shown that children’s parents who supports their child’s teacher and work together get better grades, show fewer signs of behavioural issues and demonstrate better social skills. Teachers spend a lot of time with our children, they observe them all day. If you build a relationship with your child’s teacher you then are able to ask the right questions to help our child develop and succeed at school. Below are some tips on how you can support your child’s learning in school at home:

  1. Encourage focus and concentration – and how too much screen time affects this

Children being able to focus and concentrate in the classroom is an important skill. Many teachers sometimes struggle with children who do not focus on the lesson at hand. Teaching important lessons means teachers have little time to waste. Learning to concentrate and focus is actually a skill, which needs practice. With modern technology and screens, it makes it even harder for children to concentrate for longer periods. How much screen time a child gets affects their brain development. Research has shown that younger children who have too much screen time can affect their brain development (which is crucial between ages 0-3) and negatively affects their language development and attention span.

For younger children, you can turn off screens for set periods and encourage quiet time and learning. Do things like reading, messy and independent play. Try encouraging quiet time as a way to encourage your child’s thinking. Also try focusing on one task at a time, whether it’s reading or playing with a train set. For older children try to observe how they learn at home. Are they studying with their phone next to them or are the listening to music, which distracts them? Talk to them about establishing the best learning environment. Then you can work on establishing this together. You can ask questions like what helps you concentrate; do you have a favourite place to study in the house?

2. Encourage your child to be independent

The more independent your child is the better they’ll learn at school. Simple things like; for younger children getting them to fetch their coat and zip it up themselves and put on their shoes, helps to build independence. You can also encourage independence at home such as getting them involved in adult tasks including; cleaning, cooking, making their own lunches etc (with supervision). This will help build a sense of independence and responsibility.

3. Communication is key

Keeping in touch and regular communication with your child’s teacher or key worker in nursery is important. Some parents do struggle with what things to ask, but it’s important to ask questions that can give you a meaningful answer. Ask questions that are focused on specific topics, rather than vague questions like “how was their day?” You want to find out things like what your child is doing well at and what extra support they need, if any. Ask questions to find out if there’s anything that you can do to help your child at home, find out what their biggest challenges are. Teachers will appreciate you trying to work with them. Before any school holidays, check in with them to see if there’s any areas of focus while your child has broken up from school.

Trying to create some kind of partnership with your child’s teacher or key worker at nursery can help your child stay in the right direction.

Natalie

Little Scholars Playground
info@littlescholarsplayground.com

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About the author

Natalie is the co-founder and illustrator at Little Scholars Playground. She is passionate about literacy, learning, illustrating, black women in STEM and Montessori.

2021 – our 1st year in business

Estimated reading time: 6 mins

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2021, what a year! In 2020 we were having a casual conversation about how difficult it is to find wide-ranging books for young children with main character representation of black people specifically. As people of action, we quickly determined that between us, we possessed the skillset to begin to chip-away at this problem. Fast-forward and Little Scholars Playground was born in February 2021. The business has grown so fast and we have to thank all of the people who has bought from us, shared and liked our content on social media, so THANK YOU!

We create EVERYTHING ourselves, Denhue is the author of all our books and I’m the illustrator of all our books and content. It’s been hard work (especially while juggling a one-year-old daughter, our inspiration behind the business), but has also been so worth it. We started the business with a vision board and we can safely say that we have pretty much stuck to all the images we put on it. Vision boards are a great way to visualise your goals and can definitely help you to meet them. So we highly recommend creating one when you start your business.

Our vision board

Our products

This year we published 3 board books, which have been very well received. We’re so proud of Zara’s Caribbean Adventure, a lift-the-flap board book, Emmanuel’s African Adventure, a lift-the-flap board book and ABC First words board book.  We have received no help creating these books and have financed everything ourselves.

We also created a bundle of 6 educational posters. Young children are visual learners. Their brains absorb visual information MUCH faster than text. Educational posters shouldn’t just be confined to the classroom, but should also be displayed in the home. Therefore we feel that our posters are great for both parents and teachers.

Our books: https://littlescholarsplayground.com/books/

As seen, press and interviews

In such a short space of time, to be recognised for our hard work has been heart-warming. We have been seen on ITV, BBC Radio London, Sade Magazine, The Voice Newspaper, UK Black Writers Forum, Dope Black Mums and more!

Awards

In November, I became a finalist for the Precious Awards, in their Start Up Business of The Year category. An awards ceremony celebrating women of colour in business and leadership. Although I did not win, it was still an honour to be a finalist.

What’s coming in 2022

We have lots planned for 2022, we’re currently working on 2 children’s books (for children aged 5+) as well as our first STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) learning resource. Also due to the popularity of our Christmas gift bundles, we will be bringing our gift bundles back in January. They will be available all year round, suitable for any occasions with our new generic gift wrap. These gift bundles will be suitable for all occasions, including; Birthday’s, Christening’s, Baptisms, Baby Showers, Easter, Thanks Giving, Eid…..all occasions!

It’s been a great year for us here at Little Scholars Playground! Thanks for being on the journey with us. Here’s to 2021 and Happy New Year when it comes!

Natalie

Little Scholars Playground
info@littlescholarsplayground.com

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About the author

Natalie is the co-founder and illustrator at Little Scholars Playground. She is passionate about literacy, learning, illustrating, black women in STEM and Montessori.

Why we started Little Scholars Playground & tips to start your own business

Estimated reading time: 6 mins

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Welcome to the home of Little Scholars Playground! We’re a children’s book publisher and early years hub. We create diverse children’s books and learning resources.

It started in 2020 lockdown…

We were having a casual conversation about how difficult it is to find wide-ranging books for young children with main character representation of black people specifically. As people of action, we quickly determined that between us, we possessed the skillset to begin to chip-away at this problem. Fast-forward and Little Scholars Playground was born in February 2021. With a single mission to create engaging, diverse children’s literature and learning resources. We create everything ourselves, Denhue is the author of all of our books and Natalie is the illustrator.

Our business has grown RAPIDLY, so we thought we’d share some tips on how you can start your own business and side hustle. More and more people are becoming self-employed or finding a side-hustle to nurture their talents and of course to bring in more income, which can be seen particularly amongst women. The number of freelance mothers has grown by 79 percent since 2008*. Research shows it allows mums to pursue their career while being able to spend quality time with their families.

So, you want to pursue self-employment or have a side-hustle but how?

  1. Find the right hustle for you
  • Think about what you’re good at and nurture your talents. Ask yourself what are your skill sets, think about the things you’re good at and what people tell you you’re good at.
  • Think about what problem you’re trying to solve. The most successful businesses start with trying to solve a problem. For example, we struggled to find books, which featured a Black protagonist
  • Consider if there’s a true need for the business and is your idea realistic?

2. What’s your business mission, objectives and goals

  • Think about what your business mission is/ your businesses purpose. Always refer back to it in whatever you do. This helps to create consistency in your brand and allows you to always think of the why in what you do
  • Ensure your goals are attainable and realistic. Setting out clear goals and objectives will help you to not only start your business but take your business to the next level.

3. Get your finances in order

Start to think about your budget and how much you would need to invest in your business, think about ALL of the costs. If finances are low, think about creating a Kickstarter or do some Crowdfunding. They can be good ways to generate some money to get your business started.

4. Running the business

Starting a business or side hustle will mean some early morning and late nights, especially if you’re a working mum. But blocking out some time to focus on the business is important. Schedule at least an hour or two per week to focus solely on your new business.

5. Establish your target market

In order to get customers, you need to first establish who your target market is, who is likely to buy your product or service? Knowing who your target market is, allows you to market to the right people.

6. Have a support system

  • Having people to talk to about all the struggles and trials of setting up a business is important. They can help keep you going if it starts to feel overwhelming. But not only that you can also bounce ideas off them
  • Networking is also a great way to build a support system. There are many networking events for boss women out there.

7. Taking the leap to becoming a BOSS

When business starts to take off, you may be in a position to take your side hustle to the next level and leave your place of work. It’s always a gamble as employment is steady income to pay them bills! We recommend having at least 6 months’ worth of savings, just so you have a buffer to fall back on if you have a slow month or two.

So, you’re thinking about starting that side hustle or business, go for it! Now’s the time. We have seen a shift in consumers wanting to support small businesses. Good Luck! If you know someone who wants to start a business or have a side-hustle do send them this blog.

Natalie

Little Scholars Playground
info@littlescholarsplayground.com

*Research from IPSE

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About the author

Natalie is the co-founder and illustrator at Little Scholars Playground. She is passionate about literacy, learning, illustrating, black women in STEM and Montessori.

The benefits of educational posters

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

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What do you remember about nursery and primary school? The colour, posters and artwork on the wall, right? This is because young children are visual learners. All the displays and posters on the wall are not just to make the classroom look pretty, but to aid in a child’s learning. Children’s brains absorb visual information MUCH faster than text. Therefore educational posters shouldn’t just be confined to the classroom, but should also be displayed in the home. Educational posters displayed in the home will help to support your child’s development and help them become the little scholar they can be.

Nelson Mandela stated that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. And he was totally right. A good education can be life-changing and create astonishing results. Knowledge is essentially power!

Nelson Mandela

Below are some of the key reasons why educational posters are beneficial for children:

  • 65% of people worldwide find visual learning more effective, therefore a poster is one of the best ways to do that
  • Posters help to focus and motivate children to learn
  • It’s an effective way to catch and hold the attention of young children, as well as helps to maintain their interest in a particular area
  • They are convenient both for children and parents/teachers, as they help them to absorb the information MUCH faster
  • By having posters in your home/classroom, you provide constant learning for children as it’s always there.

Our colourful bundle of 6 educational posters for children fall into the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Studies) stage, which is children aged 0-5 years. The bundle includes a poster for; days of the week, months of the year, colours, the alphabet, numbers and shapes. All key areas of the EYFS stage. Our posters can be purchased here

Shop our bundle of 6 educational posters here

So why are our posters great for young children?

  • They provide simplicity, so they’re easily understood by children at a glance
  • They have minimum words, which are effectively presented with eye-catching colour and illustration
  • Each poster is appropriate for the topic at hand and the images correspond well to the subject matter
  • They’re designed very well, they’re not only attractive with bold colours and lovely illustrations, but they’re of the perfect size for content to be easily absorbed by young children.

Here at Little Scholars Playground, we’re firm believers in the benefit of having posters around the home and in the classroom. So whether you’re a teacher, home educator or simply a parent keen on extending your child’s education at home, then we hope that this blog encourages you to incorporate more visual stimulation into your home and classrooms. Our posters can be purchased here.

Natalie

Little Scholars Playground
info@littlescholarsplayground.com

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About the Author

Natalie is the co-founder and illustrator at Little Scholars Playground. She is passionate about literacy, learning, illustrating, black women in STEM and Montessori.

Welcome to Little Scholars Playground

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

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Welcome to the home of Little Scholars Playground! We’re a children’s book publisher and early years hub. We create diverse children’s books and learning resources.

It started in 2020 lockdown

Our founders were having a casual conversation about how difficult it is to find wide-ranging books for young children with main character representation of black people specifically. As people of action, the founders quickly determined that between them, they possessed the skillset to begin to chip-away at this problem.

Fast-forward and Little Scholars Playground was born. With a single mission to create engaging, diverse children’s literature, tackling this imbalance one-book-at-a-time

Why we’re calling for greater diversity in children’s books

We feel that it is very important for children to read books with main characters that look like themselves. It’s not only good for a child’s confidence and self-worth. But we also feel this will help develop their love for reading. As well as helping to instil strong aspirations and helping to encourage a child to reach their full potential.

A third of children in English schools are from an ethnic minorities group^, however in the UK only 5% of children’s books feature a main character from a non-white background*. Also, children are 8.2% more likely to see an animal main character in children’s books than a non-white character*.

There are more books with black characters, so improvement has been made. However we found most of the books to be focused on hair or history, which is definitely needed but can at times feel heavy for young children. We want to create fun, positive, iconic characters that are loved by all. We want black children to dress up for World Book Day and not be asked who they’re dressed up as.

STEM and black children

Between us we have 20 years’ experience of working in the STEM industry, so we’re also passionate about encouraging young black children to embrace STEM.

Meet the people behind Little Scholars playground

Natalie is a tremendously talented illustrator with a particular passion for making sure all children have representation in literature. She’s a product designer by profession, with a career spanning across digital design, coding and marketing. As a mother to a daughter, Natalie is conscious of the lack of black women in the STEM industry and works to encourage black women and girls to develop a passion for STEM.

Denhue is the father of a toddler daughter who began his writing career experimenting with breaking down big ideas for a young audience. By profession, Denhue is an aeronautical engineer and has a degree in Aerospace Technology with Management. This has plenty to do with his natural interest in STEM related topics.

*Stat according to the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE)

^Stat according to the Department of Education

Natalie

Little Scholars Playground
info@littlescholarsplayground.com

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About the Author

Natalie Little Scholars Playground

Natalie is the co-founder and illustrator at Little Scholars Playground. She is passionate about literacy, learning, illustrating, black women in STEM and Montessori.