Tag Archives: John Crane

The John Crane Memory Game, So Much More Than Just A Toy

3 Nov

If you read yesterdays post you will know that Paul, daddy of two girls and owner of “When I was a kid”  & ‘John Crane ltd’ are on a mission to uncover which of their toys are the most beneficial to a child, especially those on the autism spectrum or those with special needs. 

The idea is to make sure the toys are the best they can be and in a way that’s beneficial to all children, not just your “typical child” but also those who have developmental delays within a spectrum of areas, difficulties with sensory processing, occupational health, communication, etc.

I also wrote how I was sent a large catalogue displaying the current John Crane ltd toy range, which was just huge, yet extremely pleasurable to look through. There were some great toys, making it quite difficult to select just six off the them to which I would provide some feed back on. Well, as you may have guessed already, they liked what I had to say and that’s why today I’m going to share some of that feed back I gave on one of their products with you guys. 

  My first selection was ‘Memory’ part of the John Crane ltd GoGo range

 Below is the product description from the online toy shop ‘When I was a kid’

 Who didn’t love “Picking Pairs” as a child? I know I did, my dad and I would play for hours with a pack of cards – all 52 of them laid out on the floor. Heaven knows how we memorised them and picked the pairs!


One of our suppliers, John Crane toys has seen the fun of this traditional game and also the educational benefits too and come up with an up to date and colourful wooden version – called The Memory Game!

Little green and orange ‘mushroom’ shaped pieces fit into the tray and are easily lifted by little fingers whilst a number of cards fit below – offering loads of memory challenges on differing themes – such as insects, transport, food etc…

Memory games help with all sorts of skills in younger children, even early reading skills are enhanced!

 First Impressions 

I was instantly drawn to this impressive well made wooden game as soon as I saw it in the catalogue. I love educational toys especially those that benefit all children, while providing them with a fun activity in the process. 

As mentioned above, Memory is a game that has been played for many years and is normally done so with a few decks of playing cards. 

Well, this has the exact same concept as a game of pairs but instead its been transformed into a beautiful wooden game with insert-able brightly coloured cards that have images on either side providing lots of visual stimulation. Each card has a theme there’s animals, fruits, clothing, transport and more. 

The wooden board has two slots, one where cards are stored and the other for when in playing mode (where you slot your desired card) The pictures are then hidden with the help of the wooden lids.

 Playing time per game

Playing time per game, depends on your child and the amount of players (I would recommend no more than two or your game may be over to quickly). 

If your used to the rule, “For every pair you find, you get another turn” I would recommend you don’t use this mode of play! Remember, playing with a deck of cards results in a larger number of pairs needing to be found, which is why “When I was a kid” have introduced the toy in its toddler section. 

 Why I chose this game as one of my autism friendly six! 

 Many Children with autism or aspergers syndrome have exceptional long-term memory, especially when it comes to the child’s particular “Special interest” which is often true for the child with Aspergers. This could be anything from names, dates, specific periods of time, facts about space, or like little man, “Bus numbers and destinations”  However working memory (which is more commonly known as our short-term memory) can often be a weakness, which is why many children on the autism spectrum struggle to follow simple sets of instructions, especially if it involves doing things in sequence. Yes, its easy to become annoyed with a child when they seem to lack the basic skills required to follow basic sets of instructions, more so if the child is yet to gain a diagnosis. For me, it was the difficulty I had when trying to understand why my child was able to remember vast amounts of information that related to, “Buses” but couldn’t carry out the smallest of tasks, like sending him to brush his teeth or put on his shoes, having only just reached the top of the stairs he would have forgotten what it was he was meant to be doing?

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What is Working memory?

Working memory is a process that most of us engage in without even releasing it. An example would be your boss giving you a set of instructions on a project that needed completing. We listen, process and store the information we’ve been given! We may jot down notes later but still need to recall the information in our heads and do so in the appropriate order.

If you’re a parent of a child on the autism spectrum, there is a pretty good chance that your child’s teacher has reported that your child has poor attention or refuses to listen to any instructions being given. This is an all too common assumption, when in actually fact the child is listening extremely hard but the amount of information being given in such a short time frame leads to the child’s confusion, they become muddled within their own heads simply because they didn’t have time to process the information. 

The above can then lead to a host of other difficulties for the child, like challenging behaviour and low self-esteem. The child could even be branded as naughty, another all to common scenario. 

It’s for reasons like those above, that children with autism work well with visuals. Its well documented how children on the autism spectrum are better at carrying out day-to-day task with the help of visual prompts. Maybe… think about it as a set of instructions you follow when putting  together a flat pack! This is how the child uses visuals. 

The John Crane ‘Memory’ game is the perfect tool to aid this area of weakness. Children with autism will have great fun memorising where each picture is on the board, they will learn the skills of patience and turn taking as well as the concept of competition, all while improving they’re working memory. 

Little man loves this game, but has now studied all the cards over a few weeks and now beats me far to easy (see this is where his talents come into play as once he wants to store information over a longer period of time he will set about doing it and does so very well) what’s great though, he still wants to play everyday. At 11 years old his working memory is still poor but improving all the time. Speech and language therapy as well as certain games we play and task I engage him in, such as asking him to remember things on a shopping list, are just a number of things I believe has brought about these improvements.

As much as Little loves this game, I would recommend to the younger child with and without autism, maybe a larger board with more pairs to match would be better suited to the older child.

  Recommendations

Personally I’d recommend  Memory for children between the ages of 2-7 (note the recommend age is 36 months) However I would also recommend this to a child that bit older, who is seen to have greater developmental delays whether this is a child with autism or another form of disability

 Parental perspective, given by a mother of a child with Asperger’s Syndrome 

 This is both a toy and a great resource for a child with special needs. It would be a great if ‘John Crane’ were to bring out additional packs of cards. These could then be sold in addition to the game, meaning parents could buy additional packs of cards as and when they like. This would therefore provide the child with more off a challenge, and they would never become bored, while also giving them that aspect of forming a collection (which they love to do). 

I consider ‘Memory’ to be a valuable resource & toy that could be used in the home, at school or nursery, even during a speech and language session! 

 Overall Quality  

 As always, ‘John Crane ltd’ have brought us a beautifully crafted wooden toy that is hand finished to perfection. This is a toy that I’m sure Paul is pleased to have featured on his site. 

Memory is likely to withstand the test of time and could be passed down generations with a little love and care. 

 Where to buy

 So, there you have it! A perfect toy for a child with or without autism, that displays a friendly price tag of a reasonable £32.99

 Whether it’s your child’s working memory you seek to improve, or just the chance to have fun playing with a fun but educational toy, then I can’t see where you could go wrong when buying Memory!  

 Visit, ‘When I was a kid’ the online friendly independent toy shop, who provide its customers with fantastic customer service and an excellent delivery service (get it the next working day or within 2 working days via the fast track service) 

Just click HERE to get yours

Why not like ‘When I was a kid’ on facebook or check out the ‘John Crane’ blog    

 

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Winner of my first toy giveaway

2 Aug

So, It time to announce the winner of the competition, ‘My first toy giveaway’

Chocorangecitymum

You are now the proud owner of a John Crane wooden guitar courtesy of the, ‘Wooden Toy Shop’

Congratulations honey 

Please contact me via twitter @clairelouise82 or here on the blog to claim your prize

If you want to see the official report showing how the winner was randomly selected please  see the full report HERE

Prize ID Winner ID Public Info Private Info Random Sorting ID Weight
1: John Crane Wooden Guitar 10 Chocorangecitymum 9a9a23e1-0f17-49d5-b9f7-2754aee924e4

My first toy giveaway

17 Jul

I’m so excited to be able to bring you all my very first blog giveaway thanks to the lovely Jon over at the fabulous WoodenToyShop, as part of the new blog feature ‘Santa’s Little helpers’

This exciting feature, will see my three little monsters converted into elf’s from now all the way up till December. We plan to build a fantastic Christmas list that showcases some of the hottest toys on the market this coming Christmas as well as those that are great for children on the autism spectrum or those with special educational needs.

With competitions, guest post, money saving offers and tips, plus recommendations on Christmas events. The Santa’s little helpers feature is hopefully destining for success.

As some may already know the little Elf’s Aka my children have already put on there uniforms (Yes, Elf’s don’t only work at christmas) and have started to tell us what they think. This is all thanks to the WoodenToyShop who sent us some toys to review (free of charge) If this wasn’t nice enough they also let us pick something special for the readers. This wasn’t easy! I wanted to choose something that was unisex and appealing to all children especially those like my son on the autism spectrum. Though everyone is different I still struggled so appointed my chief Elf with the responsibility. Little man didn’t disappoint and I hope you all agree!

Win a John Crane Children’s wooden guitar in one of two beautiful designs.

Choose from pink flowers or blue stars.

The guitar is being sold over at the woodenToyShop for a very respectable £21.99 It’s a small but perfectly formed instrument that can be tune easily by little fingers as to allow maximum creativity. It would make a beautiful gift for any budding musician with its pretty pink flower design or its magical blue companion that is decorated with little stars. From age 3 years plus, this guitar is perfect for little hands and fingers and would easily convert your little one into an awesome little rock star.

How to enter this exciting giveaway

  • Follow me (@clairelouise82) & the @WoodenToyShop on twitter (compulsory)
  • Visit and like the WoodenToyShop facebook page and tell them I sent you, “A boy with Aspergers” (compulsory)
  • Leave a comment here telling me you have done all the above and the words PINK or BLUE as to indicate what guitar you prefer if you win. Be sure to leave me an email address or twitter id so I am able to contact you if you are lucky enough to win this fantastic prize (compulsory)

Optional extra entries

Please come back and comment for each action taken, be sure to comment separately as each comment will count as one entry. Maximum entries allowed three

  • Comment on another of my post, return to tell me which one
  • Tweet ( Great toy giveaway via @clairelouise82 http://tinyurl.com/3yjcukj ) comment to let me know you’ve done it.
For the full range of musical toys sold at the WoodenToyShop click here

Competition Is for UK residents only, closes at midnight on the 31st July and will be drawn on the 1st August 2011. The winner will be drawn at random and notified via email or twitter. The competition prize is curtesy of the WoodenToyShop and sent direct. This prize cannot be exchanged for any other product and there is no cash alternative. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE COMPETITION CLOSING DATE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO 1ST AUGUST MIDNIGHT DUE TO THE SERVICE I USE TO RANDOMLY SELECT A AWINNER IS DOWN. COMPETITION WILL NOW BE DRAWN 2ND AUGUST
Thank You for understanding

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