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Surprisingly both styles have their merit, but from a Best Parenting perspective one style is much more enjoyable for most children than the other.

It's been my experience while some children learn a new concept relatively quickly, others can take much longer to retain it. Even a child who learns extremely fast rarely learns by being exposed to a new concept just once, even if it's pitched within their level of proximal development. It usually takes them two or three goes to grasp it.

But for many children of good average ability they're looking at being exposed to new information between five to fifteen times before they can retain it independently. And for children who have difficulty learning you can be looking at forty or fifty repetitions, maybe more, before they can independently recall new information or skills.

It makes sense therefore to provide opportunities for repetition. But how do you help your child be exposed to the same concept over and over without them becoming bored or resentful?

'A child's greatest achievements are possible in play, achievements that tomorrow will become her basic level of real action. What a child can do in cooperation today, he can do alone tomorrow.'       Lev Vygotsky

During my lengthy career in education I've had the opportunity to observe and refine, what quality teaching and learning, look like.


Learning opportunities can be child directed, free and totally play based. But they can also be highly structured experiences, encompassing drill exercises involving the opportunity for frequent repetition. Or they can be anywhere in between.

​The answer is through structured play, ideally the type that engages positive emotion. What we attach emotion to... we have a greater chance of remembering. Play, at any age, gives us the opportunity to practise and refine new skills and knowledge without even realizing we're doing  it. And it's fun. The added bonus is it helps build cooperation and relationships.

So how do we as parents set up structured play opportunities when we're so busy?

I suggest for some best parenting advice you might go to the following links for incidental learning through play for ideas.


These ideas not only give you advice on how to work out what your child can do but how you can build upon their skill levels by incorporating learning opportunities into some of the things you're already doing.


The Importance of Counting
Learning Maths Incidentally
Proximal Development is Important
Girl looking at physics model
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Sometimes as our children grow older they become involved in more formal learning institutions like school and it becomes apparent they need to learn new specific information. For example: To learn sounds so they can begin to read and write.

Going back to where I began, repetition may be required to get this new information to stick.

Teaching in groups in formal situations can have varying amounts of student engagement. Let's look at the photo to illustrate what I mean. This shows children engaged in a reading activity. As you can see it appears half of them are not actively involved. They're either waiting for their turn, looking into space or watching what others are doing. Sometimes revising through 'drill exercises' can keep a higher proportion of children engaged but drill can be boring.

Is it more effective and engaging for your child to have new information drilled into their head over and over until it's retained, or is it better to revise it through fun learning games where positive emotion is high so they have a greater chance of remembering it?



To solve the dilemma between the need for frequent repetition to learn and retain specific yet necessary information and the need for positive and engaged learning I've developed some fun learning games which can be used with young children.



​Did you know for example that around 50% of every piece of writing you will ever read uses some of the same 100 words. These are called high frequency words.

(Some of these high frequency words are marked here in bold to illustrate what I am talking about. )

I have devised some fun reading games so you can find out and practise these high frequency words with your child. There are also assessment sheets included which you can screen shot, copy and print off. Or you can contact me and I can send you a pdf with the information on it.

For example in the piece written above 60/102 words are high frequency words. 

Can you imagine just how much easier reading would be for your child if instead of having to sound out each and every word they encounter, they know these high frequency words as sight words.


Practically speaking, that would mean they already know around half of what's on the page. Not only does it increase their fluency, it increases their word attack skills because they can better predict what might come next.


For example. I am going to the shop. 5 out of the 6 words they encounter they already know.


Even if they've never seen the word 'shop' before, they can take a good guess at what it might say, especially if they've got some sounding ability as well... I am going to the sh-o-p.

As you would be aware there are some excellent computer based programmes that teach reading.

However I wanted my children to learn through fun active play experiences (in cooperative reading games) rather than sitting in front of a computer screen.

I've been increasingly concerned about the amount of time young children are spending in front of screens. Many, many children are currently exceeding guidelines recommended by the Australian Department of Health.

"For children two to five years of age, sitting and watching television and the use of other electronic media (DVDs, computer and other electronic games) should be limited to less than one hour per day."


And for children younger than 2 years: "Evidence suggests that TV watched in the first 2 years of life may be connected with delays in language and short-term memory development and poorer social skills."

Quotes taken from The Australian Department of Health Website:



The free learning games I've developed are therefore based on fast-paced engaged play and they are quick to complete. Fun Phonics can take just two minutes a day to revise. And the results are astounding. Not only are these games highly effective learning tools, they help build positive family relationships.


Fun Phonics Games

This is a fantastic game for kids to learn all of their phonics

If you play it properly and make it fun you'll be amazed at the results

Single Sounds Lower Case
Beginning Combination Sounds Digraphs
With Beginning Combinations
Single Sounds Upper Case
Often Done Incidentally
Complex Combination Sounds Digraphs
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Fun Reading Games

My favourite game is Shark Park because it can be used to practice more words than those listed

Level 1: Snapping Turtles Game
Snapping Turtle icon
Level 2: Crunch Crocodile Game
Crunch Crocodile Game icon
Level 3: Micey Dicey Game
Micey Dicey Game Icon
Level 4: Lion Dancing Game
Lion Dancing Game Icon
Level 5: Iranaconda Game
I Ran a Conda Game Icon
Level 6: I Can Toucan Game
You Can Toucan
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Level 7 Squirrel School
Squirrel School Game Icon
Shark Park Game Icon
Level 9 Choo Choo Zoo
Choo Choo Zoo Game Icon
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Fun Maths Games

Fun Maths Games 3-5 Years
How to Make a Fishing Game
Fun Maths Games 5-7 Years
Stop watch to learn tables
Fun Maths Games 8-10 Years
Calculator Game
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If you're after Best Parenting Advice go to the following links:

Boundaries Help Raise Good Kids
Setting Boundaries
Why Spend Postive Time Together?
A father playing chess with his son can help create a positive relationship
The True Value of Routines
The Value of Routines
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Best Parenting Advice.com is a high quality parenting website designed with child and family success in mind. This site provides free resources for busy parents who want best practical advice on: effective child rearing strategies, easy healthy family meals, self-care tips for time-poor parents and fun learning games to help best educate children while also encouraging positive relationships within the family.


One of the best pieces of parenting advice to help support healthy cooperative families, is to provide regular nutritious meals, eaten together as a family as often as possible. Best parenting advice provides a range of quick and easy family dinner recipes supplied by busy working parents. These are the recipes asked for: because they taste great, they're quick and easy they're family friendly and they're foolproof.

This site provides examples of what worked for me over decades and you are welcome to use these ideas as you see fit but you do so at your own risk. This site does not provide any guarantee that this information will work in every circumstance with every family or every child. It is your responsibility as a user of this site to ensure that you adhere to any recommended safety suggestions either implicit or explicit on this site and supervise your children while playing any games suggested. Best Parenting Advice.com is not affiliated with any other groups, clubs, religious organizations or educational systems.


Best parenting takes time. The best parenting advice ever is simple: Do your best, don't give up and love your children, no matter what.