Food, pets and bags of fun

Sue Hubberstey looks at new resources for use in the primary school

Play with a purpose

That bleak, hard surface misleadingly known as the "playground" continues to be a feature of many of our primary schools. Making it into a place where children really enjoy their free time can be a challenge.

A complete overhaul, involving things like re-surfacing and new play structures, may be beyond the school budget, but a new service offered by Prismo Limited might be an affordable solution.

Prismo specialises in creative markings using a chlorinated paint that can be applied to any surface and comes in a range of colours. All you have to do is decide what you want. "It should be simple but effective," Prismo says, and the company will do its best to cause minimal disruption to your routine. Prismo claims to be competitively priced, although the cost will depend on what markings you want. Retouching should be unnecessary for about two years.

Board games

News of resources to back up the literacy and numeracy hours continues to come thick and fast. Teacher Boards, a Yorkshire firm, has just launched a new range of what they call "presenters". These provide a surface big enough to display the biggest "big book" while still leaving space for written or magnetic text. The presenters come either freestanding on castors for easy mobility, or as a desktop model. They are available with red, green, blue or yellow frames and cost from Pounds 48. Accessories - magnetic letters, numbers and write-on strips - are also available.

Pet projects

The National Canine Defence League is offering a free junior Project Pack to all primary schools. The pack contains a range of support materials, including two posters, postcards of works of art depicting dogs, and a number of activity sheets. The idea is that encouraging children to be more compassionate to animals will also help them relate more sensitively to their fellow humans.

On a similar theme, the Pedigree Masterfoods Education Centre is offering an exclusive Pet Pack, consisting of an interactive CD-Rom, The World of Pepper and Poppy (see illustration above), information about pets and 30 year planners, all designed for pupils aged seven to 12. The pack costs Pounds 29 and is available throughout the winter term.

Make a meal of it

Many of you will already be familiar with the innovative hands-on science resources from Active Designs. Following on from items like Bag of Bones and the Insides Out Tunic, designer Rebecca Lancaster has turned her attention to eating with her Healthy Food Bag. This consists of a fabric bag that, when opened out, reveals an applique plate shape and cutlery, illustrations of 12 food items and labels for identifying the food groups. The children's task is to select pictures of foods that will provide a balanced meal and attach them to the plate with Velcro. The Healthy Food Bag costs Pounds 38.50 and comes with teacher's notes and a reference sheet.

Experimental material

Creative Textiles resource packs for infants and juniors are available from Step by Step. These aim to give children the chance to work with different fabrics and textiles and to learn about handling materials, joining fabrics, stitching and creating three-dimensional objects. There are five packs, each containing sufficient work cards and materials for around 20 children. Prices start from Pounds 19.95 per pack and extra sets of work cards can be bought separately for Pounds 9.95 each.

Contact Information

Prismo Limited 01293 530356

Teacher Boards Limited 01756 700501

National Canine Defence League 0171-837 0006 Extension 656

Pedigree Masterfoods Education Centre 0171-255 1100

Active Designs 01327 858522

Step by Step Limited 01454 320200

Prices quoted are before VAT or any carriage charges are added

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