Geplaatst in TEFL

ESL Review: Mideer / Andreu Toys Geometry & Animal Puzzle

One of the puzzles my girls absolutely love are the animal puzzles I got from Andreu Toys. They love making the little puzzles although it’s sometimes requires a bit of hand/eye coordination to get them to line up correctly. Next to that it is great for their language development and I also used them in my lessons to do just that. Under the picture gallery I will explain some games that I do with them. This puzzle was rather cheap as well so that also helps a lot.

So obviously you have your basic animal naming. Naming colors and shapes is also an option and I would definitely advise it.

You could do a matching of the shapes with the animals. This is a great way to use the shape name. Take out the shape in the middle and see where it fits or match it with the small animals.

You can do big and small / sorting by size and you could make it mommy/daddy and baby since there is a small example with every puzzle.

You can also flip the puzzle or the example upside down and let them match the puzzle with the animal with just looking at the shape of the animal.

The small animals you could also use in a who is missing game. Put all the animals on the table, name them, let the kids close their eyes and remove 1 and later 2 or even 3 animals. Let them name the missing animals. When you remove more than 1 animal you can first count and see how many are missing. That’s a nice way to integrate subtractions.

There are many more options and of course you can implement this kind of puzzles for other subjects if you know how to make them yourself.

Disclaimer: The reviewed product wasn’t subject to any sponsorship. I purchased itmyself. I do am open to sponsorship, but will always mention it when I received a product to review.

Geplaatst in Brands, Craft material, Development, Fine Motor Skills, homeschooling, Little Brain, TEFL, Toys

Review : Little Brain Paint Sticks

I love doing crafts, but let’s face it painting often creates a mess. In my lessons that’s why I almost never use paints and at home while homeschooling well how bad as it sounds…. With 2 kids… a 2 year old and a 4 year old letting them paint is a big struggle. Whether is is in the classroom or at home water cups always spills everywhere, pictures need to dry, not to mention clothes that get wet and painted on. I found a great solution…. Little Brain Paint Sticks.

With the paint sticks there is no need of water and the pictures don’t need to dry. It washes off easily from clothes and the colors are nice and very bright. They also come in a nice metal edition and since we love glitters those are perfect for my girls. They also last a long time and don’t dry out.

My kids definitely are big fans. You can color with them but also use them as a stamp as we did on the turtle that you can see below. You can experiment with mixing colors and without any mess. Believe me my kids love to color next to the paper or on themselves and it cleaned up nicely and easily. According to the website you can also use it on windows, but we didn’t try that (yet).

I know that as a TEFL teacher you often don’t have any input in the materials purchased or used, but it might be worth it to try and convince your management to ask the parents to provide these to use in the classroom or to ask your management if they can provide a few sets. I prefer this over pencils, markers and crayons to be honest.

Disclaimer: The reviewed product wasn’t subject to any sponsorship. I purchased it myself. I do am open to sponsorship, but will always mention it when I received a product to review.

Geplaatst in Development, homeschooling, Math, playset, Pretend play, TEFL, Toys, wood

TEFL Review: wooden pizza

One of my favorite toys to use in classroom and in drama lessons is this pizza. Also at home in homeschooling lessons it is a very popular toy/tool. Pizza… so that’s a lesson on food? Yes, but also a drama lesson, a math’s lesson counting and but also fraction and all of that are at the same time ….. yes English lessons. I also think it is very important that kids learn mathematical terms in English at a young age.

As you can see this pizza comes with some condiments. I identified them as salami, mushroom, tomato, spices, pineapple and cheese. With the kids I love to order a piece of pizza with 3 condiments or with just one. I first show how to order food and then they can mimic it. It always lead to fun lessons.

wooden pizza

This pizza is also great to teach fractions and show them visually 1/3rd = 2/6th for example, but at the same way you ordered pizza before you can now order pizza in fraction half a pizza, 1/3rd, 5/6th,…. Even struggling students will love this way of practicing.

For the lower grades you can also practice your basic math skills. We have 6 pieces of pizza and we eat 3 pieces. How many pieces are left? I baked 2 pieces of pizza and you baked 3 pieces. How many pieces do we have? Once they get it with pizza, you practice it with the add and subtract while still showing the pizza pieces and eventually you can leave the pizza away. You will see it will go very smooth.

Now I like wooden toys to use in class because they are sustainable, but you could also make your own paper or cardboard pizza’s and laminate them so you can reuse them.

Disclaimer: The reviewed product wasn’t subject to any sponsorship. I purchased it myself. I do am open to sponsorship, but will always mention it when I received a product to review.

Geplaatst in Development, Fine Motor Skills, TEFL, Toys, wood

TEFL Review: Wooden beehive picking toy

This game is very well liked by my kids. It is great to use in a one on one lesson or for home schooling. The concept is fairly easy place the bees in the right place in the beehive. You have to be a bit inventive to use it in class but it is doable. I’m really happy with the quality after almost a year my daughter finally managed to pull of the wings of 1 of the bees. She loved fiddling with it and tried a really long time to get them off.

This game of course is used for really young learners. You can add it to an animal or bug theme. It is great in one on one lessons. It is also great to use with toddlers because it is great to develop their fine motor skills. In class I use it either in one on one or on learning stations or to present the subject bugs/bees/beehive.


How to use it? Well as I said the main purpose is to place the bees in the right place in the beehive. You can ‘make mistakes’ so the children can practice true or false/correct or incorrect. The children obviously can practice their colors by saying which color bee is that is placed incorrect. Another classroom favorite is which bee is missing. The children sit around the table, eyes closed, I remove one or more bees and the children need to tell me which bees are missing. It is also a great way to make students start to combine words. Instead of just saying red, they must say red bee.


However I also use it to do math all in the purpose of CLIL teaching, I do it more with first and second grade students. How many bees are there? We have put 2 bees away. How many more do we need to place? Or the missing bees game but with how many are missing.

And how about using it for learning prepositions of place. Which lets face it is sometimes hard to make them remember. In, next to, on, between,… You can all demonstrate and practice them with the placement of the bees.

For a very simple toy there sure are a lot of options. It all depends on your imagination. I’m planning to start to record video’s on how to use these different toys.

Disclaimer: The reviewed product wasn’t subject to any sponsorship. I purchased it myself. I do am open to sponsorship, but will always mention it when I received a product to review.

Geplaatst in bigjigs, Brands, playset, Pretend play, Toys, wood

TEFL Review: Bigjigs mini hospital play set

I love play sets to teach dialogues. This particular play set I already have for a long time. It has been well used by my kids, but also in the classroom. Play sets can be a powerful teaching tool when used correctly.

What I love about this set is not only that it’s easy to transport with the handy handle that is fixed to the roof of the hospital but also the inside of the box is very detailed painted which helps to set the mood and gives extra vocabulary to discuss.

Howoutside of the hospital

How can you use a small tiny play set in a big classroom? Well this is how I used it… You first show the box asking what it could be. After that you let the little bear ‘walk’ upon to the hospital and ‘open’ the door. Then you let them see the inside…. You let the doctor and the nurse present them to the bear. Good review on presenting yourself vocabulary. The bear is of course scared so the nurse shows him around the hospital and shows him what is everything, after that you get a dialogue where you let the nurse and doctor examine the bear.

inside of the hospital

So the first part is presenting the material and the vocabulary. After that you can let the students take turns or you just select a few students to do it depending on the class size. After that you can do some crafts or other activities to support the vocabulary. Later you can let your students perform some little drama to produce the language themselves. I usually let them prepare the drama themselves but guide them and give each group a body part that is injured or an illness that they have. They can be very inventive I’ve had headaches that could be cured by eating cookies and a broken bone that needed lollipops.

I always leave this set in the class during the subject so that the students who have finished their work early can play with it and practice the language. As you can see it is very useful to have play sets like this and I especially like this one because of the quality and detail.

Disclaimer: The reviewed product wasn’t subject to any sponsorship. I purchased it myself. I do am open to sponsorship, but will always mention it when I received a product to review.

Geplaatst in Brands, janod, puzzle, Toys

TEFL review : Janod Panoramic Puzzle 4 seasons

This is not a classic review. I will not tell you how much my daughter liked this puzzle or how handy the hatbox is. No I will tell you why I like this puzzle as a teaching tool and how I used it. I will also post a video online in the near future where I use it. You can let your kids watch it and have them practice some English. This is not a sponsored ad like review. I just think it’s a good teaching tool example. As you can see these are also my personal pictures which aren’t very professional.

Janod Hat Boxed 36 Pcs Panoramic Puzzle

So it’s a puzzle you will say, they make the puzzle and you’re done. Well no this puzzle would be great as a one on one activity, but you could even use it as a group activity where the kids make the puzzle together. After that the fun starts.

Janod Hat Boxed 36 Pcs Panoramic Puzzle

First of all using it when homeschooling or giving a 1-1 lesson, in that case most of the talking will be done during the making of the puzzle. You could start by counting the pieces. After that you look at the picture of the puzzle as it progresses. There are several ways of doing this. You can point out that there are 4 seasons on the puzzle and ask if she or he knows the 4 seasons. After that you can ask to which season the part that they pick belong to and why depending on the level of English. Once the puzzle is finished you go over all the seasons and talk about those seasons. Ask about the child’s favorite season, why, etc Ask what they see in each season and practice counting count for example how many people they see or how many sunflowers there are. If you have child with limited language skills you can ask to point out the different season and to find several objects on the puzzle.

Autumn – winter

Using a puzzle in a group lesson is a bit tricky. If the group is not too big you can just do the puzzle as a group, but since there are only 36 pieces it’s a bit hard. You could provide several puzzles to groups of 4-6 students either several times the same puzzle or different puzzles. In both cases you let them first make the puzzle and then discuss among themselves a list of questions that you prepare for them. You go through the classroom and make sure they are using English and not their own language. In the case of all the groups using the same puzzle they can after that all answer to the questions in class. If they all have different puzzles they can all present their puzzle in class.

spring – summer – fall

I always try to use different skills. This encourages the use of different parts of the brain together which is really beneficial for young learners. I would probably do some arts and crafts about the 4 seasons after this activity. I hope I gave you some teaching ideas.

Disclaimer: The reviewed product wasn’t subject to any sponsorship. I purchased it myself. I do am open to sponsorship, but will always mention it when I received a product to review.

Geplaatst in TEFL

Welcome to my new blog

Welcome to my new blog. This blog is all about testing materials to use in language lessons. I’m planning on using different toys and show how they are compatible with my lessons.

The lessons I’m teaching apply to young learners. I will do 3 types of video’s and blogposts:

  1. Lessons designed for young learners mainly in English but also Dutch and French lessons will be created.
  2. Testing of materials and show how to use them in language learning.
  3. Showing cool STEM experiments that can be used to teach English or other languages

Why this blog?

The original idea was to have video’s to inspire other teacher on how to use materials, but I’ve made a separate blog for that. This one will be filled with pictures and video’s for kids, ready materials etc… So this is more child oriented where as my teacher teach the teacher site gives more of an how to… approach. I won’t keep it English only cause while teaching my children Dutch, English and Turkish I’ve noticed a big lack of Dutch and Turkish materials. For English I know there is a lot out there, but mainly a lot of animated video’s where a lot is going on. While that will work with most children there also are children that easily get overstimulated and who really need plain video’s. Which is exactly what I want to make.

I hope you will enjoy this blog. I’m full of ideas and I can’t wait to share them.