Tag Archives: gadgets

Money Makes Little Man’s World go round.

25 Sep

What with the little man going on and on about money all the time I thought the Digital Coin Counting Money Jar would be an excellent review choice for him. Little Man used to be pretty awesome at saving but not anymore, his now terrible! As soon as money hits his hand his spending it. He seems to think that the hole in the wall just dishes out free money whenever you ask for it! Yer, I don’t think so!

The Digital Coin Counting Jar is a clever Money Box that counts each British coin as you feed it through the slot located in the lid. The digital counter keeps on running while totalling up the pennies as you save.

It’s a great idea as it really is a brilliant way to encourage children to save their pocket money. I love how visual it is, just being able to see the total going up is a really great feature for Little man. He doesn’t do guessing and not knowing how much money his saved tends to drive him a little loopy. The digital total also assures him its all a reality… This may seem weird but being able to visually see the total along with the money in the jar gives the child on the autism spectrum visual encouragement. Little man finds it incredibly irritating when people expect him to just appreciate something without the visual stimulation to back it up.

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The fact that its a gadget also contributes to its overall desirability for the Little man who is a totally gadget nut job (nothing’s to do with Aspergers, just a case of boys and their toys I think). He keeps this on his bedside table and cheekily checks it daily to make sure the pennies ain’t going down as opposed to up. Whoever he thinks maybe on the Rob is beyond me! Well it ‘s just myself and the toddler at home when his at school so this doesn’t speak high volumes of his trust in me. Not that he has any justifiable cause… I’m the one who gives him the money to feed the thing and his definitely the only one spending it, not me!

He used to have one of those cash machine saving banks. He loved it, only this love was short lived. Once he lost the card, had an almighty meltdown and I had no choice but to show him that actually the card was nothing more than a novelty. Yes, he was pleased I’d freed his cash from his little ATM replica but meltdown number two soon kicked in, what with the reality that his plastic cash card was just a toy and I’d been able to access it if I really needed to destroyed his love for it.

This money counting jar is something very different and much better suited to his needs. It’s a great size and its made of hard durable plastic as opposed to glass (wouldn’t last five minutes otherwise). The fact it’s clear is a real bonus as for the reasons I’ve already mentioned above.

The digital counter is very clever. It takes away the whole manual counting process and although this is fine as math provides one with great brain food, its also a top way to get out of penny counting. Silver and golds i’ll count all day if you like but the brown ones… These just get on everyone’s wick.

It’s a great way to reach a goal. They can see themselves getting closer and closer and this spurs them on.

Now this may sound terrible but its also a great tool for enforcing good behaviour. Normally if I just say to little man “you’re losing your pocket money” he doesn’t even react its like he couldn’t care less! But when you use something like this as a visual tool it can really swing things in the other direction. Now he does care as if he does lose it there will be no bigger coins to help his total rise and the thought of having to search down sofas for pennies for another week, really must be to much fir him to cope with. He really has had a better two weeks.

The ‘Digital Coin Counting Money Jar’ uses 2 x AA batteries (not included) and
Unfortunately the contents is not included.

The Digital Coin Counting Money Jar is just £12.99 Check it out for yourself over at Presents For Men.

Little Man The Secret Agent On A Mission

21 Sep

When little man was asked to review items from the Spy Net range he was more than happy to oblige.

Me, I didn’t mind! Yes, I’d be required to record his thoughts and opinions but a little writing never killed anyone, especially when it means you can sit back and enjoy watching your sons confidence grow as he gains more and more self confidence with each review he does. Growing up he had limited interests but this kind of thing was right up his street. For starters it’s Tech and he relates to this very well. Secondly it involves spying and he quite enjoys this too.

Was I worried… No…. After all it’s just a toy isn’t it!

But as usual I had spoken way to soon, and I mean way to soon!

The Spy Net™ range isn’t just some plastic fantastic toy that lets the child feel like a spy… No, no! It’s the ultimate in cool spy technology, Spy Net™ offers a range of fully-functional gadgets and I’m not talking alarm clocks or fancy sound effects!

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Spy Net™ provides today’s secret agents with everything they need to do the job and do it well.

Little man was sent two products from the range, one being the Spy Net™ Video Watch RRP £49.99. Now I understand this is for today’s spy but again I didn’t think to much about it, after all, as mention, it’s just a kids toy!

Yes, the clever device had me fooled! So well in fact that the Little man and his watch have caught me of guard more than once.

The Spy Net Video Watch looks just like your everyday watch (if anything a tad bulkier, but not obviously different from the norm)! As one would expect, it tells the time like an ordinary watch, but hidden deep within its packed with a whole host of innovative features, the type that only an under cover secret agent would require.

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Amazingly one of these features is a real-working hidden video camera and audio system that allows its owner to record and store over 20 minutes of video (thats a lot of time to collect some pretty incriminating evidence). Whats more the watch has the capability to collect over 4 hours of audio evidence, or even 2000+ still photo! All features are displayable on a built-in, full color 1.4 inch TFT video screen so Mr Secret Agent can sit back, relax and watch the playback!

Once back at their headquarters, agents can upload to SpyNetHQ.com via USB where analysing of evidence commences

If this isn’t enough the watch has even been loaded with lie detector software… Yes, I did just say lie detector software! With this the little agents can check if your telling lies during a conversation or instead analysis the audio produced on that secret video you know nothing about.

When they are finally bored of spying on family members they can move onto something else like having a go at ‘Secret Code Cracking’ or maybe train for missions in way of the preloaded mini games.

To say little man loves this watch is to much of an understatement! His bonkers about it. Again I’ve been proven wrong this versatile Spy Net Video Watch that also downloads video missions from the HQ is far beyond a toy.

Do you know that thing we do as parents! We’re tired, stressed and not in the mood. The kids go on & on about something and we end up saying… “Yer maybe” or “OK, Ok whatever” Those with a child on the autism spectrum will particularly understand as the child with Aspergers has mastered the fine art of obsessiveness. Well, Little man has been doing this about his birthday and the little sneaky devil (that’s a polite term) has been secretly recording me as he bangs on about wanting the entire contents of Amazon. He has some pretty strong evidence of myself saying “OK, OK, we will see” as well as “Yes… Yes” I try not to do this as a child will never let you forget it, especially one with Aspergers but Yesterday I received a little shock. We had a discussion on the subject of birthday lists and he states i’ve agreed to get him something that I’m pretty sure I haven’t! To my complete and utter horror it turns out that I kinda have agreed to something and he holds the proof in that of his little watch. I’m considering suing the boy for entrapment… Seriously! His even got me singing (extremely badly) as I dance with the mop in my PJs… Something I’m not wanting leaked on YouTube! The boy has the potential to make a mint in blackmail money but we won’t tell him that ah!

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Verdict: 9/10 it’s a brilliantly clever piece of kit that I’m considering borrowing when I speak to his father next * Evil Laugh*

Parents be careful your child could be spying on you.
www.SpyNetHQ.com

Little Man also received the Spy Net™ Bionic Ear Stealth Listening Device RRP £19.99
Another devices that allows him to become a top spy and does so by allowing him to hear distant sounds through walls and doors in-order to detect intruders and defend against enemy… AKA the parent.

By Putting on the Bionic Ear a long with his Spy Net Video watch, Little man has all the tools needed to be a super agent. The Bionic Ear has real ultrasound technology and allows him to listen in on all the action (not always appropriate I know)! He can even use it to hear round corners ensuring him a safe distance from his enemy (in our language… Little sister).

Does it work? Just look at the Little mans cheeky chops! Do you really need to ask?

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At £30 cheaper than the Video Watch it’s a good price! However it doesn’t compare in terms of what it is able to do and the many features that come with the watch does put it way up there on a pedestal! I do love the watch and together with the Bionic Ear it’s the perfect set to delight boys and girls alike.

Verdict Bionic Ear 7/10 Great product that kids will love.

Both products are available from all good retailers including Toys R Us & Amazon.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for writing this post! Little man received product samples for the purpose of the review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Autism and Chores

25 Mar

Lets face it, household chores are really not much fun. We all need a little encouragement every now and then to get going.

My son, who’s now 11 and has a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome quivers at the word housework or chores, but then so does my 9-year-old daughter. Little man just needs a hard dose of motivation that’s all!

This isn’t only down to the fact he despises any housework related activity, though this does account for the majority of his reluctance, it’s also other factors, such difficulty following instructions, doing things in sequence and that of poor sensory processing.

As Little Man’s mother I’ve admittedly at times thrown in the towel and given up, though this maybe the easiest option at the time, it makes things a whole lot more difficult later on! This is part of life and as my mother still tells me to this day, “Life sometimes requires us to do things we don’t like, but that’s just life!”

In order for the little man to grow up and become fully independent, he will need to require simple skills such as these to make it on his own in the big real world. He must learn how to do the basics accruing more complex skills as he grows older! Another important factor in this situation is the fact he will also need to learn the value and importance of helping other people… So what if you didn’t drop those wrappers on the floor, helping shouldn’t be an issue non the less!

Firstly, I must say before rambling on any further, I’m just a mother, and I don’t have all the answers, in fact I’m unsure to whether I actually have any! Though I will always try to find answers, when I succeed, or even partly so, then I’ll share with you all, in the hope it helps you too!

So… here’s some suggestions on how to encourage a child on the autism spectrum to actively engage in household chores without all hell breaking loss and then regrettably freezing over. These tips may work for one child and not the other, you may be required to try a number of different techniques or maybe just the one, every child is different regardless of abilities and diagnosis. Note: I’ve also tried this with my 9-year-old daughter who isn’t diagnosed with the condition and she’s actually done brilliantly with many of them.

1) Children on the autism spectrum tend to be visual learners, they may use written or symbol prompts as to plan events, following instructions in completing a set task, or just to alert them as to what happens next. Little man has been using both a visual schedule at home and school keeping it consistent. He likes to know what’s planed and this is the same with chores, so, if he has chores as well as homework etc, these are added to a chore chat which he helps to devise on a weekly basis.

2) Don’t give rewards for every completed chore as this then doesn’t become a normal daily routine but instead a way to gain rewards. If one week you wasn’t in a position to provide the promised reward, failure could result in undesired meltdowns. Rewards can be given as a weekly treat and you should ensure its done for all children in the household.

3) Help your child to chose their weekly chores as in number 1, however try to encourage some weekly chores in-which you can both contribute in together, making it a fun bonding experience.

4) Don’t change the chores without giving a warning to your child, keep them consistent in the way in which you and your child devised them. Also try to agree on a time your likely to keep too, as this will only cause problems otherwise.

5) Do the same as in part 1 and 4 but remember to not make your child overly reliant on his routine, so try to adjust times for different weeks, but as mentioned in part 4, stick to them for that entire week.

6) Teach your child how to have a focus, this works fantastically for Little man. An example would be if vacuuming, say the living room, point out the half way mark highlighting how his almost there, then point out the finishing post. You will find that even though the break is offered at half time, 9x out of 10 they’ll keep pushing themselves all the way.

7) Don’t keep asking as it drives children like little man round the bend. If your child fails to look at the chart remind them to do so, if they just refuse then you may need to decided if a sanction may need applying. Stick to your guns and be consistent, as you will be in an even worse position for next time.

8) Don’t bombard a load of request upon your child at once, example, take up washing, put shoes under stairs, hang coat up then run your bath…. overloading will produce the undesirable. Remember children on the spectrum tend to be unable to follow instructions if not given time to process the information given, this is why I’ve suggested the chore chart.

9) Have something nice to look forward too! I’m not talking a treat as such, more like something you’ll be sitting to watch as a family that evening. Talking about the film etc why doing chores with your child, will help them complete without the dragging boredom.

10) If like little man, your child on the autism spectrum doesn’t do well in supermarkets (despite how much he protest he wants to join you) ensure you have prepared distractions and you are aware of any sensory triggers, avoiding where possible. I get Little man helping me write the list, this helps his handwriting and spelling skills, reading the list while we shop also helps reading skills (so they don’t know they are doing chores and a fair bit of education based work too). Little man is also fantastic at maths which he actually enjoys too. To keep his mind from distractions that may cause sensory overload or some type of social anxiety episode I ask what’s best value for money when deciding if to buy a product (example, buy one get one 1/2 price coke or that of the 50% extra free priced at 10p more) His actually quicker than I am and has on occasions save me some money.

Another thing that Little man loves is the “Self Service Checkout” I guess he feels independent. It’s a great way to distract your child or engage in a little social skills training.

11) Little man loves music and despite sensitive hearing (he can hear a pin drop, or a buzzing freezer sends him barmy) music however doesn’t have the same effect, he loves music, and the louder the better.

If you can tolerate a bit of loud music then its an awesome way to motivate both child and adult into doing the chores and it really does do well to speed things up.

12) Since being in special school little man’s become a dab hand in the kitchen. He cooks or bakes at school every Tuesday and has brought home some delightful dishes. I do think its the Italian in him as the kitchen isn’t my favourite place to be. Because of this I ensure he is appointed jobs that he really enjoys, like helping prepare a meal under supervision. He loves this and it’s simply not a chore in his mind at all.

13) One thing extremely important for the child on the autism spectrum, is that of prise, your child should be praised for the smallest accomplishments as these will eventually lead to those bigger ones, plus you’ll find over time that your child is setting out to please you.

14) Little man love’s some items that many other children have considered strange and undesirable. On little man’s christmas list, I’ve found all sorts such as juicers, smoothie makers, blenders and even a chip pan (don’t ask). His always begging to get his mitts on some type of appliance. This can be used as reinforcements, allowing your child to use the popcorn maker to create a movie snack under your supervision! However, your child will need to clean up and wash any dirty dishes (making sure sharp objects and blades have been removed first).

15) Occasionally, surprise your child with something nice. Do not directly state that it’s a reward for his engagement in chores but prise him for how his displayed good skills and is a good role model for younger siblings and now seems more grown up. This kind of thing makes Little man very proud, he then thinks about other ways of impressing me, not just for treats but the overall confidence boast he receives.

16) Don’t overload chores, give little on Saturdays and none on Sundays, allowing them some chill out time and space. They will continue their chores more efficiently once rested or having had some fun.

17) If your child has hygiene difficulties due to sensory reasons, then you should work with him to remove or reduce the trigger if at all possible, adding these activities to the chores chart also.

18) Encourage your child to recycle by speaking about the fascinating things that it involves and how certain objects can cleverly be used to make something completely different. Do a scavenger hunt, encourage your child/children to collect as many newspapers as they can as well as other recyclable items that can each be placed in its own boxes, example…. Glass, Paper, cans etc… making this a fun afternoon game.

19) If your child has their own pet (little man has Bella our pregnant cat) get them involved in feeding and grooming making it a responsible job and good practical chore.

20) Take the chores out into the garden this summer. With the beautiful sunshine and longer days. Little man and his sister enjoy the garden, and along with their father they are already planting and getting there fingers all green, which is perfect for me, given I hate gardening.

So, there you have it, a nice long list of 20 things that may help your child on the autism spectrum to complete their chores.

If you’re a parent of a child with or without autism, I’d love to hear of any tips with in your comments.

Little one’s can take great pictures with the V-Tech Kidizoom Twist this Christmas

24 Dec

1

DAY TILL CHRISTMAS

The children have been extremely lucky to road test some of the newest toys on the market, and as the Santa’s Little helpers comes to an end we still have a few more to come.

When we were asked to review the V-Tech Kidizoom Twist, I have to admit that I myself became a tad over excited! Harley is forever putting his little chocolate fingers all over my camera so the prospect of him having his own couldn’t have come soon enough.

The Kidizoom Twist is in fact aimed at pre-schoolers aged from 3 years, Harley may actually only be 2, nonetheless he loved it all the same! It really is felt that my youngest little helper may in fact grow up with an interest in photography, and his not half bad at it either.

V-tech have been extremely clever when creating the Kidizoom twist, the must have Christmas Gift which is featured in the ‘Argos, fab fifteen’ (Top fifteen christmas toys for 2011).

The 2 megapixel camera camera with 5 digital zoom and coloured screen has a number of clever features designed to bring ease of use, entertainment and learning to it’s tiny users. The Kidizoom twist really is more than just your average kid’s camera. It’s really funky design makes it super cool and appealing to children while it’s designed to restrain bumps and falls avoiding them horrid costly replacements.

The Kidizoom Twist features not one but two lenses window’s so your tot doesn’t come across the problem of having to angle the camera in-order to see their target image and position the camera accordingly to take a picture. The child can instead hold the camera at eye level and take a picture with ease.

That’s not all, this camera has a number of special editing features allowing your child to create some great features to their pictures such as frames, wacky stamps and the ability to distort the picture in-order to create some really funky funny faces, which I feel is very appealing for children on the autism spectrum (Harley’s elder brother, Little man loves this feature on his younger brother’s latest gadget). Another fabulous feature to this camera is the voice recording mode that allows you to edit & change the tone of your voice to five effects (pitch up, pitch down, slow, robot and echo)  you can then add the edited voice to your images.

The Camera also has a number of built-in games, five in total, you can even use your own pictures within the games to play games such as spot the difference amongst a whole host of others.

If all that doesn’t sound great enough Kidizoom also has the capability to video, giving it that extra edge.

Oh… and in case you were wondering about the name and the reference it makes to the word twist? This camera does actually have a revolving lenses, meaning it spins round to face the photographer in-order for them to create the perfect self-portrait or video of themselves.

Harley loved the Kidizoom twist and to be honest so do his older siblings who actually ran-out two different sets of batteries. Little Harley is just mastering them all important motor skills so yes, he did drop the camera once or twice, but the protective rubber casing around the camera ensured its safety and saved it from breakage.

We, actually received the camera on the morning of the day we set of to Butlin’s so Harley got to bring his lovely new Kidizoom twist along for the ride, which provided lots of photo taking opportunities.

Kidizoom Twist Specifications:

2 Mega Pixel

4x digital zoom

Built in flash

Twisting/rotating lenses

Colour screen

256 MB built in memory (Holds over 500 images & has a SD card slot)

Voice recording & editing mode

Video recording

Image editing (funky effects)

5 built in games

Connect to TV & PC

Dual viewfinder

Durable (funky rubber protective casing)

Accessories can be brought separately such as SD card and protective case

Parental perspective.

I loved this eye-catching camera from v-tech, the only disadvantage I have, is the fact the screen is a tad small (I did expect a slightly bigger screen) though this is meant for younger children and despite the screen being a little small its more than enough for a pre-schooler. I did love the amount of features V-Tech have packed into this kids camera, it really is so much more than a camera, with games and video recording, it’s my opinion that the camera is great value for money.

The camera helps the development of hand eye coordination, gross and fine motor skills while allowing their growing imaginative and creative sides to shine through. It’s great, not only is this super fun but it’s actually quite educational too!

****
We easily award this one with a 4 out of 5 stars.

Available in a choice of pink or blue

Sold at around £49.99 (price may vary depending on retailer).

This is currently on Sale with a £10 reduction (£39.99) at Argos

Click HERE for more details

Disclaimer

V-Tech sent us the Kidizoom Twist in blue, for the purpose of this review! All opinions that are given by myself & the children are our own, are honest and haven’t been influenced in any way.

Santa’s Little Helpers, The JD Bug review

23 Nov

So, here’s another great toy for your little angels Christmas wish list.

 The stunning JD Bug, super stylish original pink scooter. 

Not only does this baby look the business, it acts it too! 

 This isn’t a brand new scooter to hit the market, the JD Bug has actually been bringing us this super sleek JD original for almost a decade, though it’s just as popular today as it was 10 years ago! JD Bug has done well to establish itself, appealing to a wide spectrum, it’s managed to secure itself a title as one of the top scooter brands of our time!

 Kids today have gone scooter gaga, I can’t leave the house without almost being mowed down by one of these “Must Have” gadgets, each with its own brand, design and smiling rider. Seriously everyone has one and those that don’t normally want one!

This includes my own little monster princess. We, or should I say Alice-Sara has been incredibly lucky to receive a JD Bug Original Pink Scooter to review from the fabulous ‘Skates.co.uk’  who delivered the well packaged scooter in a mere 24 hours (Now that’s a service!)

 We had an evening delivery which was perfect for us and meant no sitting around all day waiting for the delivery man to come knocking.

 Alice-Sara totally freaked when she saw her new scooter, she went at the box like a monster as she tried to prise it from it box (Kids, they have no patience what so ever!) 

Once opened I was please to discover a fully assembled gadget, Alice-Sara was also frilled given she wouldn’t need to wait for her mother to work out what goes where.

Also enclosed in the box was a CD Rom, some fab stickers and an instruction manual and warranty info.

 The Scooter is very compact in its folded form, there is a  trigger release lever that opens out the scooter and the handlebar is fully extendable which is done by simply pulling another release cap. Even the JD Bugs hand-grips detach from the handlebar with the use of a release button and an elastic mechanism. All this is done without the use of any screwdriver which is always a bonus in any mothers book!

 The JD Bug Original also comes with a detachable thick carry strap allowing you to carry the scooter with ease when not in use. 

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The design is pretty sleek too, chrome with splashes of baby pink on the handle-grips, foot-plate & clear wheels. It’s really well made, I discovered recently that the JD Bug is constructed from airplane graded aluminium as to provide maximum strength, whilst still being lightweight.

 This is a scooter aimed at both children and adults alike, looking at it you would never guess! Yet, it’s extendable handlebar makes this totally possible and yes, “Of course I had a go” Mummy has to make sure its safe for her princess after all!

 Well, it is safe… actually the JD Bug Original has received numerous safety awards recognising it as Europe’s safest folding scooter, so there is no need for mum’s and dad’s to worry! 

Alice’s Thoughts 

Alice-Sara Love’s it and said it was very grown up and cool! She loves the colour and the clear pink plastic wheels and enjoys cruising to school on her new best buddy. She noted it was very smooth to ride and can pick up some nice speeds. Alice-Sara finds it simple to open and fold the scooter and said its light enough for her to carry.

Alice-Sara gives her new scooter a 5***** star

 Prenatal perspective 

 This two wheeled scooter is a pretty nice piece of kit with a not so massive price tag of £49.99

Yes, there are many other scooter brands that charge a lot more! JD bug Original Pink, looks absolutely awesome works well and is pretty hard to outgrow with the recommended age of 4+ Its even ideal for adult use once fully extended.

 Alice-Sara hasn’t managed to fall off the scooter and I’m pretty impressed at her scooting skills.

 We love scooters in our house and Alice can now enjoy scooting at the park with her older brother (he has a three wide scooter which suits him better with his OT needs).

 Skates are a fantastic online retailer stocking a wide range of scooters, BMX bikes & skates.

4**** stars from mum

 The JD Bug Original has all the official bearings such as the ABEC 5 Chrome bearings.

It takes a Maximum rider weight of 100 kg and is suitable from age 4 years

Scooter extends to a maximum of 97 cms and weighs 2.7 kg

 The JD Bug Original also comes with a 90 day manufactures warranty and is intended for both recreational and commuting purposes.

 Price £49.99 (30 days returns & exchange policy)

Click HERE to check it out now

Thank you WoodenToyShop Love Little Man

16 Jul

  It’s been a great first month, which is all down to the WoodenToyShop!

 For those who read the blog on a regular basis, will know that my daughter was featured as our first little helper in the blogs new feature, ‘ Santa’s Little Helpers’ that showcases some of the best and hottest toys form July to December! These little elf’s otherwise known as my three children will fully put all toys and gadgets to the test then give you their honest opinion and overall rating in-order to create the best Christmas wish list to be found online! Giving us her thoughts & inspirational craft ideas when reviewing the Melissa and Doug friendship stamp set from the WoodenToyShop, I found myself very proud of her professional approach when it came to being a toy reviewer (given that she’s only eight, over-excitement was kept to a minimum)

This week our Little helper is the one and only Little Man himself, sharing his thoughts on the… WAIT FOR IT…. DRUM ROLL PLEASE… “Children’s Large Wooden Cricket Set” from the fabulous online toy retailer, ‘WoodenToyShop’ I must state that  I did find this an odd choice what with the  fact he would have done almost anything to avoid a game of Cricket in the past! 

When the WoodenToyShop kindly invited us to pick something from the online catalogue I didn’t dream Little man would request they send him out a cricket set! It took him just seconds to score the content on the site before finally shouting, “Yes, this one please mum” I remember thinking, “What on earth…”For one I was stunned that he had spent so little time choosing! This is normally something that takes him some hours… admittedly he does get this from his mother, which only highlights my confusion that little bit more! The choice of a cricket set baffled me and for this reason I admit I didn’t email my choices right away giving it a few extra days convinced he would change his mind… If anything I would have bet money on it that this was going to happen sometime in the next few hours! However… realising that in-fact my son who has Aspergers syndrome, was in fact looking forward to the arrival of his new “Cricket Set” I got ordering, FAST… while secretly praying for a fast delivery given my delay he was already getting impatient. 

As his mother I then made the decision to embrace my sons optimistic attitude and over all willingness to try his hand at something new!

You may now ask yourselves, “What the hell has this got to do with the review of a cricket set?” when you go on to read the next part of this post, I promise, Its relevant, so stick with it! 

Some few months back I took the Little Man for an Occupational therapy assessment in London’s Harley street, where he was asked to perform a number of task requiring a demonstration of his ball skills. This would show the assessor how good he was at using his upper body “upper co-ordination” The Assessor would set a number of challenges to establish what difficulties if any, he has with both fine and gross motor skills and that of his sensory processing! Little man went ballistic, “I’m not doing this, its stupid!” he unpleasantly stated. I sat patiently as the assessor gave it her all trying to convince him to participate in the activities asked. I made a suggestion to which I so rudely received a one finger gesture before he slang me out the door. My son hated to be asked to do something if he knew it was something he struggled with. He would fall to pieces and panic. I could hear him so stubbornly  refusing, shouting, “You think because I have Aspergers I can’t do it! I hate all off you” Two hours passed before we finally left Harley street and headed home.

 All three toys arrived together I watched my daughter grab hers and disappear while I opened baby Harley’s (coming soon) However, Little man continued to watch the TV, he seemed to have lost interest… I feared this would happen! Two days later I came down and there it was hanging out it’s box, just as it was the day it arrived! Yes, I understood better then anyone that Little man could be an impulsive buyer, but he had continued to remain positive up in till the day the toys arrived.

Day 4… and the cricket set is still sat lonely and untouched in its box! Day 5 and movement was looking slim as I discovered it still sat there in its box getting dusty. With this I decided to leave it be for one more day, at a push two, then I would return the product, that or ask a family member or child’s friend to do the review, either way it seemed that little man wasn’t even going to look at the thing let alone review it. 

Day 6… I went into the hall to package up the cricket set and drop it at the post office before early closing in-order to send it back to it’s rightful owner but….

 “It was gone!”

 Following the faint sound of thumping I ended up in the garden where I stood, jaw on the floor and feet rooted to the ground… I saw my Little man stood there in his pyjamas swinging his bat back and forth, forcefully hitting the little red ball against the brick wall that was just about holding up this old house. He occasionally ran side to side as not to allow the ball out of his sight, trying hard not to miss. My little man couldn’t see me stood there tears in my eyes. The cricket set from the WoodenToyShop turned out to be so much more then a review of a toy, but it provided me with an insight and valuable lesson, “Have more faith in what your child can do!” I’ve always believed in him but from what I saw at the OT assessment and throughout the past I stupidly drew to the conclusion that he wouldn’t be that good a cricketer just as his mother isn’t! Shame on me!!

He was out there some hours, spending time on both his transport fascination and practising his ball skills. I kept going to the kitchen window to grab a peek and felt my heart leap with pride with every single trump of the ball against the rattling wall. He had a smile so huge, I melted… Deciding not to trigger any challenges I decided not to snap a picture in fear of being caught and didn’t even ask him to give any feed back on his new toy in fear of being told to sod off so I waited patiently just as I did at that OT assessment at Harley street. 

Day 8, I found this next to my bed…

“Dear Mangers of the woodentoyshop, thank you for sending me your cricket set. I really like it, its solid which is a good thing as I loath toys made of plastic, maybe that’s why mum thinks your a great toy shop. I didn’t like the colour of the ball and think you should make black ones. but that’s just an opinion rather than criticism. The ball did bounce off the way displaying amazing speed, I’m quite good and only missed a few times! My mum thinks I can’t do it because she has never seen me do it, she tells me I can do a lot of things and is always proud of me and my sister and brother but I’ve been practising for a long time with my school tutor who I miss because I now go to school, “The best school” The lady in London who mum took me to see, asked me to do this almost ruining my mum’s surprise! I even kicked her out the room, it was crazy! 

My score 1 Only joking 3… Joking again! 10 is my final answer, thank you WoodenToyShop Love XXXXXX XXXXX aka Little man.”

Shocked I grabbed my phone to call the OT but remembered it was the weekend which meant it wouldn’t be open! I checked my emails for her report  but was quite sure it wouldn’t be there as yet, it was to soon maybe! How could I possibly wait till Monday to make contact? Then right at the bottom of my inbox  I discovered an unopened email with an attachment, realising it was sat there unopened in my inbox… just like the cricket set and for almost the same length of time. 

I downloaded and opened it, It was the longest report I had ever read. My son had areas of difficulty in all seven of his senses, bilateral co-ordination, running speed and agility, fine motor precision, fine motor integration amongst others… I read that he had very low muscle tone, and was struggling to cope with his sensory processing mainly due to his extremely sensitive senses. This was of course a lot to take in as his mother I knew that this report was going to shock me and upset me a little… But then I noticed what I had first come looking for..

 “UPPER-LIMB CO-ORDINATION… This test comprised of eye-hand Co-ordination activities such as throwing and catching a tossed ball, dribbling a ball and throwing a ball at a target. XXXXXX displayed excellent ball skills and managed appropriately with throwing and catching a small ball using two hands and with one hand, and also managed well with dribbling a ball while alternating hands.”

This was said to be his strength, I was blown away! Yes, he will need a programme that is devised by his OT and implemented throughout his school day by teaching staff as well as six individual OT sessions a term from a professional OT each lasting 45 minutes each, Yet just this one thing above was all it took to prove that my little man had the ability to make me eat my own hat. 

For me it was fate, God delivered us this cricket set for my Little guy to display his skill while delivering my surprise (No, I’m not a big god person, but you have to admit this was as if he was being rewarded for all his hard work) If I could give this product a rating of 100 I would… The maximum ten is what it will have to be then. Perfect for any child who loves ball games, or just wants to improve and practice in the back garden. It’s simple design with just a small logo/image, but mostly plain… that for us was perfect, extreme colours or patterns would have sent Little man into a sensory overload. For all those artist, paint it, go crazy with a spray can, my daughter would! Of course the set allows you to Play alone or with others, it has four stumps allowing some good old-fashioned rounders. Little Man can build up his confidence and hopefully as his social skills improve he will start to challenge others. With the ability to build social skills, improve eye-hand co-ordination and healthy exercise… For under a tenner its got to be a winner.   The large wooden cricket set has an astonishing price tag of just £6.95 10/10

The woodentoyshop.co.uk is still right up there in my opinion and remains a 10/10 top marks for a site that is fairly priced, offers a discount day via a code from facebook page or twitter (Fridays) Best of all… A discount for nurseries and schools accompanied with the chance of winning all the returned but undamaged stock that can no longer be sold due to the fact its been opened (completely safe and usable condition, draw is done on a monthly basis)

 Be sure to return for the Competition to bag your child an awesome gift from the WoodenToyShop, while supporting my first ever give away!

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