With Roo having started school I’ve noticed Roo has got much more into her learning toys and has taken a real interest in her learn to write and count books over the half term holidays. So when we got asked to review the Hot Dots Jr number and counting cards and Hot Dots pen I hoped that this would continue to spark her interest in learning and build on what she is already taking in at school.
Hot Dots Jr is from Learning Resources and for the review Roo and I were sent Hot Dots Jr number and counting cards and the Hot Dots Pen. The set contained number and counting cards in a sturdy, colourful and visually attractive box. A nice touch is the carry handle at the top of the box that allows children to carry the set round themselves and it is like a little learning suitcase. The lid is easy to open and close thanks to vecro which is far better than popper buttons like some competitors have used on their learning products and that Roo finds very fiddly.
Inside the box are 36 cards with a picture and a correlating number underneath; e.g. 3 dogs and then 3 numbers underneath 1, 7, 3. Children are invited to work on their number recognition and counting skills. Some of the cards are just simply counting how many dogs, snails, mice, flowers etc and other cards ask what number comes after the number shown on the card.
Children have to get the answer right by using the Hot Dots pen to choose the correct answer; if you get the right answer the pen goes green and says encouraging words such as ‘perfect’, ‘brilliant’ as well as providing clapping and cheering sounds. If however, you get it wrong the pen goes red and says phrases such as ‘whoops that’s not it’. Roo loved this part of the learning game, it was really obvious to her when she’d got something right or wrong and she took great delight in getting the green light and hearing the praise – after all this is a good way to encourage learning by praise and repetition.
Roo has played with the Hot Dots Jr number and counting cards for up to an hour at a time, and I love the fact that she can tidy the game away without help and easily carry it around when we go out and to grandparents. The large black dots on each card make it obvious where children have to put the pen in order to get the right reaction from their chosen answer and each of the cards are very bright and colourful to keep the children’s attention. I also particularly liked the fact that they are made of a glossy robust card so they are going to last a long time.
To build up the learning repertoire and build on this you can also buy other cards to add to your collection. There are money practice cards, maths practice, early skills cards and many more. If you have more than one child you can also buy other talking teaching pens that have a cat and a dog on them to add a bit of fun to the game. To view the full range of Hot Dots Jr. learning resources visit the Hot Dots website.
It’s been lovely to watch Roo building her confidence with numbers, working on sequences about which number comes before or after and also learning to count backwards and recognise familiar animals and shapes. This would be a fantastic learning resource for a nursery foundation class in school as it is interactive but also something children can do on their own and with others so great for building friendships.
If I had to give this product a rating I would give it a full 10 out of 10. It is a fun way of learning and very unique as well as very well made. Retailing at just over £10 from the Learning Resources these are a great investment for any parent who wants to help their child with early pre-school learnings.
——Disclaimer: for the purpose of this review we were sent one set of Hot Dots Jr. learning cards to try and review. This has in no way influenced our views and the views expressed here are our own.