We’ll keep adding more tips on teaching and making learning great fun plus some fantastic new pics – stay alert (especially you at the back…!). 🙂

And here’s an article by David that was published in The Independent, which explains some of the background leading to our Education By Astonishment idea:



What you need: A beach! A stick or a finger!


A simple but great way to get on track with recognising letters and reading words.

Think up four to six words to spell and then write them spaced out in the sand. Rhyming words work well for this game as it also encourages good listening skills.

Draw a start line in the sand a little distance from your words. Take turns to shout a word and everybody has to run and jump on the word. Who can get it right and get there first?

An alternative is to write, say, a dozen letters in the sand, including the vowels, and get your children to spell a word by running to the letters that spell it.

This can take on an added excitement if you write a few letters – say five or six – close to the tide and encourage the children to spell the word before the letters get washed away…

It takes in both PE and English – a great fun way to learn, think quickly and stay healthy!



What you need: A bag of marbles  and a dice.
IMG_7922Aim to get rid of of all your marbles. 

Line up ten marbles in front of you and your child. Take turns to throw the dice to determine how many marbles can be removed. The winner is the first one to lose all their marbles.
Remember you can only remove the number shown on the dice! Patience may be needed as you get down to the last few…

Increase the number of marbles if you like. Also you can arrange the removed marbles in sets of twos or threes. This helps with recognising patterns, addition and subtraction, and gives a visual aid to multiplication. For more complexity, try it where each person must only use either odd or even numbers.

Children will enjoy anticipating the numbers needed to clear their marbles – and you can also play this in reverse and see who can get to ten marbles first.



What you need: A pen and paper or numbered cards

IMG_7928Aim to guess the number the other person is thinking of in as few guesses as possible. 

Take it in turns to choose a number from ranges of ten – for example: “My magic number is between 1 and 10” or “my magic number is between 25 and 35” and write your magic number down – but don’t let anyone see!

The other person then has to guess the number in as few guesses as possible. Keep a score of the number of guesses and the lowest score wins the game! 

This helps children write numerals and understand number ranges. You can also try writing the word for the number as well to assist literacy.

A great variation for those long car (or motorhome!) journeys is to pick a number between 1-100 and play the higher or lower game until someone guesses your number.

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