REV I EWS Comprehensive sets for children that encourage open-ended play and creative learning AT A GLANCE CREAT I VE PLAY l Fully-resourced messy play set l Aesthetically-pleasing imaginative play set l Stimulating for the senses and imagination l Promotes open-ended activities Messy play set, £29.99 + VAT; imaginative play set, £39.99 + VAT, | 81 Hope Education home learning kits REVIEWED BY: MIKE DAVIES pump dispensers filled with different coloured slime for whenever we feel the need to help ourselves to a dollop of slightly surreal goo. The imaginative play set provides everything children need to create their own elf or fairy garden adventure. There are little figures onto which they can project their own ideas of characters without it being dictated to themby design. There is also a delightful set of kitchen furniture, together with a range of materials such as stones, bark squares andmoss with which to create and recreate exciting story settings within a convenient large tray. My young assistant had soon laid out an exciting landscape, complete with a wooden shack, made possible by her determination to turn the bark into walls and a roof. It could be argued that some of the things included within both packs could be found around the home or on a walk through the woods. However, everything here is just right for the job and, particularly with the imaginative play set, very pleasingly finished. Above all, by doing it this way, you can get all the materials for each set in one convenient pack. Children will love them; no doubt their adults will too. The extraordinary events of this year have really tested parents’ ability to provide a stimulating and varied learning environment for children. After all the more formal education tasks that many families will have received from schools, how nice to have the opportunity for some more open-ended activities that stimulate the senses as well as the imagination. Hope Education has created two new home learning kits tomeet precisely that need for children. Designed for children aged three and over, there’s a fantasy world set which requires a dash of imagination and a messy play set which requires an apron. Both kits contain an impressive range of materials and offer broad scope for hands-on learning. The messy play set includes fake snow, food colouring, a giant bubble wand and instant slime, plus a collection of containers, measuring spoons and funnels. As well as guaranteeing broad grins, these give ample opportunity for children to experiment, explore and solve problems while developing their linguistic skills as they describe what they are doing. It has been sweet to watchmy young assistant improving her pouring and measuring skills. We also now have two VERD I CT 4 Easy to use 4 Good range of resources 4 Convenient one-stop solution for busy families and schools 4 Promotes open-ended play 4 Stimulates children’s language and imagination skills UPGRADE I F . . . You want to create more open-ended, imaginative and stimulating home learning activities.