As a home educating family, we are always on the look out for toys and games that are fun and engaging for the children whilst also holding some educational value.
I recently discovered Jaques London - a company which, rather incredibly, dates back to 1795! They pride themselves on providing high quality toys which promote quality family time well spent. Jaques London offer a huge range of beautiful items - from the more traditional classic favourites such as stacking toys and blocks, to the the more quirky and unusual - every time I browse their website I find myself completely spoiled for choice.
This time, I decided to try the Shut The Box game - it wasn't something I'd heard of before but it looked brilliant for independent play and encouraging number recognition and mental maths, skills that I'm trying to promote in my two youngest children.
The game came in beautiful packaging - the extra attention to detail really does let you know from the start that this is a high end product and makes Jaques London toys an excellent gift choice.
The object is simply to roll the two dice, and use the number combinations to put down the tiles - you can do this by putting down the numbers you have rolled, and by adding the numbers on the dice together to eliminate the total number. This was a really good way of encouraging my 6 year old to do some mental addition and it was fantastic for helping my 5 year old to strengthen his number recognition and counting skills.
The game was a big hit with my little two, and it's compact presentation makes it an ideal travel game too.
We also chose a traditional two-sided wooden easel - we had an easel from a supermarket years ago but it was very unsteady and didn't last for very long, so I've always been reluctant to get another one but I'm pleased to say that this easel is very sturdy.
I love that it has a tray for storing the associated items, and it came with paint pots, a marker pen, a pack of chalk and two erasers.
On one side of the easel is a traditional chalk board, and on the other is a whiteboard alongside a clip for holding paper to enable you to use the easel for painting.
The children have already had lots of fun chalk drawing and painting, and I can see this being something we get a lot of use out of for years to come.
The final item I chose was a reward chart - something I've been meaning to purchase for a while but never got around to! The chart comes ready to hang up and is wipe-clean with a pen included, as well as magnetic tasks and stars for ease of use.
My only slight problem is that its designed for 2 children - I can work around this so it's not too much of an issue but I would love to see the inclusion of a reward chart for families with more children.
Overall I have been so impressed with the quality of products, and the play value that they hold for my children. I will certainly be buying more from Jaques London in the future.