Tag Archives: play

Educational Games Can Be Fun

16 Sep

When I was younger my mother only had to mention the words Education and Play within the same sentence and I’d be rolling my eyes while saying to myself… “whatever!”

So, it doesn’t much surprise me when my own kids do it to me. I used to accidentally on purpose forget to relate the two aspects when offering my children something to play with that was remotely educational. It was only once they were enjoying it that I’d slip it in.

The kids are getting older and wiser and can’t be easily tricked anymore. The good thing is that my eldest child, Little man is now more inclined to give things a chance. Education is much less scary than it used to be! Now little man is in a school that meets his needs his learnt that the two (education and play) can be tied together nicely.

Little man has just started secondary at his independent special school for children on the autism spectrum. His adjusting to a timetable that is split into different lesson slots. Within these slots you’ll find the subject of History and this is one subject his keen to learn more about.

So, when we were contacted to see if we’d be interested in taking a look at a new history game, we were happy to oblige.

Harry Hastings History Heroes is the first in a series of card games developed for both children and families who love to learn.

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One of the games within the series is that of “How well do you know your monarchs?” a brilliant new card game designed to test the whole family’s knowledge of British monarchs from William the Conqueror in 1066 to today’s reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II.

To some that description may just have them yawning with the thought of it! Others will want to discover more just like little man did.

The game has been created by Harry Hastings and what better person to create an educational game than that of a school teacher from Sussex.

What I loved about this game was how much fun and interaction could be gained through a packet of cards and not much else. There is no board, counters or even that of a dice, yet, children can play in more ways than one! There is 6 ways to play, children can be challenged to identify monarchs either from a series of facts, from a portrait or from the dates of their reign, thereby capturing their opponents cards in the style of Top Trumps.

Admittedly Little man knows quite little on the subject of monarchs and neither do I really! This at first lead to a pretty useless game. We therefore enjoyed discovering each card and as we did we both learnt more along the way. We have since had lots of fun playing with the cards and little man couldn’t wait to take one of the two games we were sent into school so his class could enjoy them with him. He told me that his History teacher was most impressed and even used them in one of his lessons.

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Children and adults alike can have so much fun while learning some interesting facts about the history of our kings and queens.

The illustrations in this game are beautiful. They are by the well-known cartoonist Bill Stott and are really impressive. The actual cards themselves are also really good quality. They are strong and durable and should last the test of time given they are well loved by their owner.

I’d recommend the game to history loving families, those wanting to improve their own or their child’s history knowledge and that of teachers in both the primary and secondary sector.This is a game that would provide teachers with a fabulous teaching resource that children would be much more inclined to engage in. Little man’s teacher is now very much a fan.

History Heroes is the first of a series of similar games created by Harry Hastings, covering famous Battles, Shakespeare, Inventors, Scientists and Explorers.

Harry Hastings History Heroes is priced at £7.99. For stockist details, or to buy direct, email Harry at harry@historyheroes.co.uk.

Check out the site at www.historyheroes.co.uk

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post we were sent the games free of charge in-order to share our honest opinions which we have given in this review. We donated one of the games to the school for all its students to enjoy.

Orchard Toys New Monster Catcher Review and Competition

29 Aug

We love Orchard toys, they are a brand who symbolise the importance of learning but also the importance of having fun! They have this talent when it comes to designing games and puzzles that are both educational yet fun to play.

Earlier this year little man along with some of his classmates at his special school for children on the autism spectrum, reviewed a couple of games from the Orchard toys range.This review did a fab job at highlighting the importance of learning through play and all the children involved had a great time testing the games.

So, I was delighted when the guys at Orchard Toys sent us one of their newest game releases, ‘Monster Catcher‘.

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The game is targeted at children aged 3 to 8 years, and although Harley is not 3 in-till the beginning of December I figured his big sister Alice-Sara could show him the ropes of play, which she was more than happy to do.

Packaging:
This game comes in a nice strong but compact box for good easy storage.

Game contents:
20 monster head cards
20 monster feet cards
6 full net cards
4 empty net cards
Six monster Cachar cards

There is a total of 56 cards altogether. Cards are strong and durable so will last the test of time I’m sure.

As mentioned monster Catcher is one of Orchard Toys newest releases, so I had no idea what others thought of the game and knew very little about it up In-till it arrived. Believe it or not, I also like to read reviews before purchasing products as well as reviewing products myself.

Setting up the game proved a bit of a mission as the toddler insisted on constantly grabbing a hold of the cards and doing a runner.

Finally, once the initial excitement had settled down a little we were then ready to go catch some monsters.

The Object of the game is for each player to match the coloured monsters feet to that of the correct monsters head all while avoiding the monster catcher who will swipe all the players cards leaving them with none. The player with the most complete monsters at the time the monster catcher is completed, wins!

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It’s a simple enough concept, though smaller children may need some help along the way.

What’s more this is a game that is so easily adapted. Kids seem to do this without even thinking about it! Harley asked to play with the game yesterday but he didn’t want anyone else disturbing him, preferring to play alone. This is actually a game for 2-4 players, So, play alone is impossible right? Not for Harley it seems. This little clever clogs placed all the cards facing upwards and one by one he matched up all the monsters, placing the catcher cards etc to one side.

I love how he adapted it to work for him, treating it as a puzzle as opposed to a game.

Monster Catcher has done well to help harley develop his colour recognition as-well as his matching and pairing skills. He used a lot of logic when trying to place the pieces together correctly (not only match the colours but ensuring he had placed them the correct way around, etc).

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£7.50 is fabulous value and a really reasonable price to pay for this game.
Monster Catcher will be sure to provide children with years of fun while teaching them a thing or two. The educational benefits to this game make it seem a very little price to pay.

Educational information
• Develops matching and counting skills
• Encourages social interaction
• Develops instruction following and turn taking
• Links to National Curriculum and Early Learning Goals.

Orchard toys have been great and offered me another Monster Catcher for one of my readers to win right here on the blog. Here’s how….

Compulsory action: Leave a blog comment below telling me your child’s favourite board game.

All comments should be left with a means of contact (twitter or email).

You can earn additional entries by doing any of the following….

Tweet: “I want to win Monster Catcher with @clairelouise82 and @OrchardToys” comment to let me know who you are on twitter.

Subscribe via my rss reader (top of the sidebar) comment to tell me the name or email u are subscribed under.

Follow my sister blog Mummy of many talents then comment below to tell me the name you follow as.

Follow me on pinterest then comment to say who you are below.

Use any of the share buttons below commenting to tell me which ones (email exempt)

Competition will close on the 25th September 2012 at midnight.

Terms and conditions: UK only please, all comments should be left with twitter or email contact. Prize drawn a random, winner has 72 hours following winning notification to claim prize. Prize will be sent directly from PR/Brand. Winners name maybe published on blog with winning notification if author decides.

Summer Garden Play to Chilly Christmas days

15 Aug

With the Olympics 2012 having had its ‘closing ceremony’ many have been left feeling a little lost. After all, what are we going to watch now? Ok, we still have the Paralympics but this is also due to become a memory (a great one but a memory nonetheless).

I’ll be honest when stating that yes, I’ve done a lot of sitting while watching the games at home. Sadly this meant the children failed to have my full attention and family play was done around the TV. However, there was positives too! It was nice to see how inspired the children had become following each event & awards presentations.

Then I remembered about a certain press release I was sent a few weeks before and the realisation started to set in! I’d not done much at all and with this release I could go about changing this.

The Press release was sent by them lovely lot over at Argos, a great brand that I’ve worked with on my blog for almost a year now. This time Argos were promoting their latest play campaign where they aim to encourage British families to swap a sedentary summer for one of a Playcation.

This was of particular interest to me given I’ve recently blogged about the alternative ways one can entertain the children on a low budget during the school holidays.

As I mentioned before, money isn’t exactly flowing out from my purse in the form of twenty pound notes. We do have some trips line up (more so over these last coming weeks of the holidays) but I love gaining new ideas of ways to entertain the children.

Argos has teamed up with television presenter and exercise enthusiast Laura Hamilton to create a ‘Summer Playcation Guide’ full of games and tips.

Argos sent me a copy of the guide along with some outdoor toys for the kids. The toddler in particular has had lots of fun playing with these.

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The guide features three original games alongside a whole host of activity and toy suggestions. Families wishing to download the Playcation guide should visit the Argos Chad Valley Facebook page at www.facebook.com/chadvalleyendlessplay

Staying on the subject of Argos, I also attended the Argos Christmas show last month with Harley. There was lots to do and see (not that I got to do much, what with the toddler finding it so difficult to remove himself away from the fab toys on display). Argos were great though and Harley and I had a really great time. It wasn’t just toys on show but everything from homeware to Emma Bunton’s new clothing range to see.

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During my visit I was able to see the Argos Top Ten toys for Christmas 2012:
· Furby – price available from September 2012
· Web Shooting Spiderman – £34.99
· Lego Monster Fighters Ghost Train – £59.99
· LeapPad 2 – £89.99
· Batman ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ The Bat – £34.99
· Cinderella Feature Doll – £29.99
· Star Doll Fallen Angel – £23.99
· Vtech Innotab 2 – £84.99
· Minnie Mouse Precious Pets Tour Van – £29.99
· Twister Dance – £26.99

The Furby was awesome, it’s come a long way since I was a kid.

The Top Ten Toys for 2012 are available in all Argos stores and online at www.argos.co.uk

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Learning through Play

7 Aug

It’s the 6 week holidays, time for the children to have some fun. But just because it’s the holidays this doesn’t mean we should reframe from education, after all education can be fun.

I don’t know about you guys but I like to keep the children’s mind stimulated. This can be difficult for Little mans, his interests are quite obsessive, a trait of his Aspergers Syndrome, I worry he will isolate himself, fallout of routine and have difficulties reintegrating back into school. Alice-Sara is also currently being assessed for dyslexia. She has been placed on the SEN register at school and I sadly wasn’t informed. Thankfully though things are improving with the school, it’s now my aim to involve Alice in lots of fun educational play throughout the summer. Lastly there’s Harley, his 2 with a mind like a sponge and as his mother I hope to help him to learn all there is to know during these early pre-school years.

As a blogger I receive a number of request from brands & PRs and one from RM Education ( a leading provider of technology for learning) has really helped me to undertake the above mission.

RM Education have a mission of their own, “To make learning fun” and as a result they have launched the fabulous online resource “RM At Home’ with the help of presenter Philippa Forrester.

I’m so pleased that I have been introduced to the ‘RM At Home’ website, it’s overflowing with great articles and resources for both parents and teachers.They also cover lots of different topics on different areas of Special Educational Needs (SEN) and have some lovely inspirational ideas for creating a sensory room.

As well as the above resources presenter and mum of three boys, Philippa Forrester, is helping RM At Home raise awareness among parents of the products that are available through ‘RM At Home’ that make learning enjoyable and effective outside school hours. It’s a few of these products that the children have been having fun discovering.

RM At Home have some excellent fun yet educational toys that both parents and child can experience together.

The Cannon Stomp: There is no other word but funky that describes this toy. Aim it then Fire it to see how far your ball can travel. Cannon Stomp is great fun and can easily be played together with others. When your child jumps or stomps on the silicone cannon a foam ball is dispensed with great speed, the harder you stomp the further & faster it travels.You can make it extra fun by making and setting targets for the ball to hit! You may wonder why or how a child can learn anything by playing with The new Cannon Stomp! But they really do as such an activity will better the child’s skills and development in ‘Reaction and agility training’ which is great for a child like Little man who is on an Occupational Therapy programme integrated into his school timetable as a result of his difficulties within this very area.

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This actually has come at a very convenient time. Have you noticed my blogging over the last few weeks has been a bit non existent when my life remains as chaotic? No, it’s not down to the kids being of school but the fact I’ve been unwell with flu and a horrid chest infection. Cannon stomp gave Little man something to enjoy while developing some important skills. Honestly, I’ve been laid up on the sofa and his been keeping himself busy with it in the garden for decent periods of time at a go.

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My tiny tot ‘Harley’ is only 2 but already his loving the Cannon stomp. Admittedly he spent sometime trying to figure out just how to get the ball out from the Cannon. However, when he did finally discover how from his big brother ‘Little man’, his Been non stop bouncing up and down on it trying his hardest to launch the balls… They fly out, he does this seriously adorable giggling and cheers with excitement.

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Little man loves his new sensory friendly toy which is easy to use. All you do is load the ball by pushing one of the two foam balls down the cannon and stamp to shoot. Simple, educational, yet extremely fun too.

I feel the the Cannon Stomp is a really good toy which is particularly great for those on the autism spectrum, children with Gross Motor Skills & coordination difficulties as well as those child who sensory seek.

Another product sent to us for testing was the children’s New Recordable Magnifier which allows a child to record and share a 30 second audio message about what it is they see, therefore introducing essential learning skills in a fun way.

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Where Alice Sara is Dyslexic she struggles with writing and spelling. However, My daughter is very vocal and is able to express herself in the most creative of ways (singing, story telling, vlogging, acting, singing etc) This would therefore be an assets for schools who have pupils registered with SEN and also those without SEN.

This recordable feature is a great way to get your child talking about their observations before they forget them without the pressures of writing. Or you can leave your own messages on the magnifier for a fun treasure hunt or tips on finding creepy crawlies etc.

The Magnifier can be brought as one (ideal for the parent) or in a pack of six (perfect for schools/playgroup etc). The Magnifier is a fantastic size, its bright and chunky yet extremely Lightweight which is perfect for small hands, it can also be attached to a lanyard.

Alice-Sara and my youngest Harley had great fun with this one! Little man however was sticking with his Cannon Stomp (the close ups of those creepy friends in our garden were freaking him out a little)! Alice-Sara spent a good proportion of her day on Sunday becoming amazed at the close ups she obtain of a number of creepy crawlies. I did shoot some awesome pictures but these are unfortunately still on my memory card due to my lack of living I’ve been doing while sick! However, don’t worry! I’ve included one of the RM At Home videos that shows you how the Magnifier works and why it can benefit your child. As for my pictures I’ll be adding these to an up and coming post on ways to education children with SEN at home.

Check out this video on YouTube:

All of RM At Home products have proven educational value – they are used and trusted by schools throughout the country so the quality is extremely high – it has to be to survive in a classroom!”

Commenting for RM Education, Senior Educationalist Kat Howard says: “You can buy fun stuff that’s not educational and you can buy things that are educational but not fun. We are fulfilling a need for learning resources that have proven educational worth while also being enjoyable for children to play with.”

“One product we’re particularly excited about is Easimaths. It’s an online maths tuition software for children aged five to 11 and it’s adaptive, which means as soon as the child masters something, they are immediately moved on to the next level. It’s bright, colourful and games-based and costs just £34.99 a year.”

RM At Home also offers another solution for parents – RM School Finder. There is currently no one place parents can go for information about their local schools – they have to trawl through several sources of data. RM School Finder, which is free to use, takes all available school data and presents it in a user-friendly format so it’s easy to see not just Ofsted reports, but exam results, extra curricular activities, what pupils achieve, plus softer information on the culture of the school direct from the establishment itself.

Why note check out this excellent video to discover a little more about this excellent resource or check them out at any of the links at the very end of this post.

Myself and the Children highly recommend RM Education (RM At Home) to all families of both pre-school and school age children. Its a brillent resource for the teacher/parent of a child with SEN but equally as fab for those who don’t. Visit RM At Home or like them on facebook follow on Twitter

When special interest turn deadly

29 Jul

I like blogging, you like reading!

I’m a bit obsessed with twitter, shopping and art! You really love football and Facebook!

Admittedly some of us over indulge our sense with our interest, we spend a little to much time tweeting or playing a computer game when we could actually be doing something much more practical. However, we are fully aware of this naughty bit of pleasure seeking and therefore find ourselves eventually applying some self discipline. A good example of this would be a person needing to go to work, they may want to stay home engaging in whatever it is they love doing but they understand that this won’t pay the bills (that is unless the work is their interest)!

As some may already know, little man has very intense interests and these are what one would refer to as a “Special Interest” when I write about little mans interest I struggle to find the right words, especially ones powerful enough to create a visual picture in the readers mine. For these reason I often worry that those who have such little understanding of Aspergers Syndrome and special interest, may only ever really compare this to that of the above.

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Today I’m going to try and change this by telling the story of my sons special interest! The intensity and love he holds for such a subject. The high intellectual knowledge which he has gained from self educating himself on every aspect this subject has to offer. The smiles & laughter it has created as well as the comfort and sanctuary it has given him.

Yet as great as the above may seem like everything there is a downside, and like most things associated with Aspergers Syndrome there is no in between!

The Little man happily unrolled the toilet roll around the entire house, he was making tracks for his invisible bus to drive along. Little man was that invisible bus. He could visualise this as long as he had one or two props to create a front and back to his bus. He would use a spoon held in one hand for the front, and a pencil in the other hand to create the back! Let’s not forget the sunglasses he would use to recreate the motion of the doors a long with the continuous beeping sound he would make. He would walk around and around for hours, speaking in a monotone voice as he recreated the destination announcements heard on both trains and buses.

I would feel a degree of anger when people stated a child like mine lacked imagination skills. This needed expanding on so those who had no idea began to gain a better understanding. Yes, little man played the same game over and over again. He was mimicking something based on fact not fiction, yet his creativity was seen when he used imagination to think outside the box. Rather than play with a toy bus, he was the bus! How many children would think to use a spoon, sunglasses and pencil in such a way?

From the age of around 2 Little man started to show an interest in transport. This started with Thomas the tank engine, but having quickly discovered the fiction that surrounds Thomas he turned his attention to the real deal. As he grew he would try to suppress his interest within the school setting making them much more intense once home. His great love for the subject meant it was hard to engage him in anything else. There were many sleepless nights, it’s easy to turn of your child’s computer and demand they go to bed, but I was unable to demand little man switched of his mind. He would go to bed and just lay in the darkness randomly running through bus and train timetables and destinations, often beeping and recreating the motion of the doors with his hands.

Despite the late nights, constant transport chat I embraced little mans interest! When he wasn’t allowed on school trips we had our own at the London transport museum. We took random bus rides around the city and went to toy fairs in search of old rare models. But when things become very bad at mainstream school I noticed Little man becoming completely lost in his world of transport, the only place he felt safe! When excluded from school he would sit studying the various routes of trains, tubes and buses, he would not answer when called totally ignoring request whenever I made them.

Bus trips were no longer fun, he’ll police the bus, demanding passengers picked up any rubbish they dropped or removed their feet from the seat in front of them. On trains he would jump from his seat every time the train came to a stop, pressing the button to open the doors for those passengers getting off and on.

I also noticed that he would continuously slide open and shut his wardrobe door that featured a sliding door. The banging was hard to cope with especially come 3am when siblings were sleeping.

What worried me more, was the more emotionally stressed things became, especially within school, the more he would confine himself to the bedroom where the slamming would commence.

We eventually had an appointment with his paediatrician, we were currently in the middle of a discrimination battle with school. I had now removed Little man from the mainstream setting but was still looking for a special school willing to take him. The stress upon the family was apparent. It was during this appointment that little man discovered that the windows within the paediatricians office were of the sliding type. Of course he couldn’t resist to play with them and for this reason the paediatrician was able to see just how obsessive his interest had become. She wisely informed me that this was not only due to his very intense special interest but also a stress reliever, coping mechanism. We also elstablised that to a certain degree the repetitive sliding motion of doors or hand mimicking was a sensory seeking behaviour too.

It was only on this appointment did we discover how serious this was. A practice fire drill went off, little man is very bad with the high pitched noise one makes. He panics and becomes very unpredictable so when he didnt even look up, just carried on with the window I knew Little mans special interest was now deadly!

A plan was put together and I was given the hardest task of my life, to reduce and limit the amount of time little man spends on his interest. OK, I couldn’t switch of his brain but I would need to limit the other activities, especially the sliding of the doors. It was hard to be consistent! In many ways I felt half to blame. I had encouraged his interest but this is what I was always expected to do, it was always said to be a good thing! I don’t feel guilty anymore. I now understand that it’s important to support and encourage your child’s interest, what happen to little man was not my fault.

As the stress faded, once he found his perfect school, things did start to return to a more acceptable level. Now he likes Lego too and even stranger WWE wrestling has actually become his interest of choice. Yes he still likes transport but WWE is his special interest and in my opinion it’s a welcome change after 10 years.

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#Silent Sunday

22 Jul

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Sensory Fun with Crazy Soap

26 Jun

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We have massive issues trying to convince Little man to jump in the tub.

His very tactile defensive which can make the whole malarkey of washing something of a battle.

I use sensory play to help the little man get used to certain textures in order for him to cope with them on a daily basis.

Sensory play can also be really fun for the whole family especially pre-schoolers. I’m forever looking for ways to bring sensory fun into the bathroom, especially for the little man (no mother wants bath time battles after all).

This year I was really excited to discover that Crazy Soap would be the main sponsor of the inspire category in the Mad blog Awards. The guys at Crazy Soap have some really fun sensory bath time products that kids and grown ups alike love.

I’ve tried all the products out with the help of my three children, it was really important for me that this sat well with little man because as mentioned bath time is still a struggle for him.

Before letting the children loose with some crazy soap in the tub, I filled a huge bowl with water and with the children tried out the crazy selection as a team.

We did have some really good sensory fun with all the products we tested and each one has become a regular addition to the bathroom cabinet (especially for Little Man).

For Little man in particular the Crazy Soap bath time fun soap was really enjoyed. This pliable foam soap can be shaped and even bounced (no seriously this stuff does actually bounce). As we are a family who engages in lots of sensory activity we would normally use shaving foam for this type of play. However Crazy Soap has a much firmer texture and is more easily moulded into various shapes making it much more fun to play with. Plus this has a PH balanced formula to gently cleanse and moisturise delicate skin which all of my children have. We tried the Glorious Green and Original White which for me smelt very fresh and clean. Some wash products are far to over powering for little man but this was just right.

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Next up we tried the fabulous Crazy Soap bath paint which i thought would mean I’d be left with lots of mess to clean! So, I won’t lie… I wasn’t wrong, but it was mess that was easy to clean. The paint comes in a squeezy tube with a sponge on the end (perfect for little hands which meant my toddler of two had lots of fun). Children can paint pictures on the tiles around the bath to keep them entertained or even paint themselves (this counts as washing without actually realising it, great for kids with sensory processing disorders or autism). Again the product has a PH balanced formula to gently cleanse and moisturise delicate skin it rinses off the body and bath easily and is available in the colours Red and Blue.

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Crazy Soap Bath Goo… I loved this stuff! Thick scoopable bath gel that once added to water creates thick long lasting foam bubbles. This isn’t like other goo, it has an incredible texture to it. As mentioned Little man is mainly tactile defensive to lots of different materials and textures. However when he does find a texture he loves he becomes a sensory seeker. He absolutely loved the texture of this goo and we ended up going through one pot in just a couple of baths (Little Sister wasn’t impressed). Bath goo is therefore fantastic for any little sensory seeker and is a great way of making bath time fun. Bath Goo has a PH balanced formula to gently cleanse and moisturise delicate skin.

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So there you have it. At long last some fabulous bath products that are really great for all children including those that have difficulty with sensory processing.

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Crazy Soap isn’t the cheapest of kids bath ranges available but in my view there are certainly not the most expensive either. Crazy Soap Products range from around £2-£3 and are available in most big name stores and supermarkets such as Tescos and Sainsburys.

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Visit the Crazy Soap website to find out more or find them on Facebook

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This is not a paid review but I did receive some product samples to enable the children to try these out and for me to share our honest feedback. Crazy Soap is now a product I buy on a weekly basis.

20 ways to make summer a less stressful time for the child with Aspergers

19 Jun

Summer activities with a child on the autism spectrum can become something of a wash out, something many families dread. But who wants to spend an entire six week school holiday stuck in the house fearful of going out.

All children need entertaining, boredom is something that never goes down well in anyone’s book and although I’ve done the whole staying In doors thing In the hope it saves me from the public meltdown, I’ve moved on from this, there really is no point in hiding away and not dealing with situations head on.

Summer is much harder when siblings are involved, there’s places they want to go, ones you know the child with Aspergers just can’t cope with. But as a parent you want your children to be able to experience the things they want to, building a set of awesome memories throughout the way.But as a parent you don’t want any of your children distressed and unhappy.

I am lucky in the fact that I can sometimes leave little man with his father while taking the other two children out for the day and vis versa but there are times I don’t have this option and therefore need to weigh up the pros and cons.

Below I have included some ideas that may help you have a reasonably good school summer holidays, but remember every child is different and what may work for some won’t work for others.

1) Many children on the spectrum are not great with overly hot temperatures so try to visit local parks etc in the late afternoon early evening. This way all the children can enjoy the trip to the park.

2) Avoid massive crowds unless you are visiting a facility that caters for your child’s needs. Most theme parks do a wristband that means your can skip the queues and avoid sensory overload and meltdowns.

3) Cinemas are now doing autism friendly screenings which means all children can see the latest film release and no one is left disappointed this summer.

4) Try to have a least one day out where the activities are focused around your child’s special interests. My son likes transport so a visit to the transport museum always goes down well. If siblings are attending spilt the day into two doing something they want to do first (I say first as yes your child is likely to ask when are we leaving and going to the transport museum for example, but if they go to the transport museum first they have nothing left to look forward to and may not cooperate as liked.

5) To avoid boredom on the days your not going out, set up a schedule of fun activities in the garden. All children can get involved. Have some sensory play in the sandpit, burn some energy on the trampoline and why not have some fun sensory play in the paddling pool. This is perfect as your child has the option of coming inside when it all gets to much and other children can continue to play and have fun.

6) If like mine, your child is a fussy eater and wont eat anything that is A) packed in a cool bag and B) isn’t hot, than picnics are not really a suitable family activity. Instead of having children miss out completely why not opt for a disposable barbecue instead. This way the children get the experience of eating outside in the sunshine without any tears.

7) If going out for the day to the park or beach a potable pop up sun tent is a must. These can be brought at a reasonably good price and is a haven for the child who becomes overly sensitive to the heat.

8) As much as I love to do things on a whim I no longer get this option. Checkout what’s happening this summer, plan a scudule and try to stick to it. This way your child knows what activities and visits/days out are happening on each day.

9) The above is essential when going on holiday. This is likely easier in places like holiday camps etc as you can adapte there scudule to suit that of your own and your children can easily express what activities interest them.

10) Another great thing about holiday camps is the supervised activities meaning your other children can still go of and have fun even if the activities are not to the child on the spectrums liking.

11) If going on long car/train journeys over the summer break, bring something to entertain your child, an iPod, iPad, potable DVD player, book or handheld game console (a must for all children).

12) Try to keep bedtime routines the same (as much as possible). This avoids problems when the holidays come to an end and your child returns to school.

13) Talk your Aspergers child through any activities planed for the summer, especially new ones. Try to do this well in advance. Show your children pictures of the places you plan to visit or check it out on there website if they have one.

14) Give your child choices, letting them feel they have a certain amount of control over planed activities. Many children with Aspergers need to feel a certain amount of control.

15) Don’t overload your child, ensure there are free days at home where your child can relax even if the day is scheduled.

16) If going on holiday take your child’s blanket and pillow to make sleeping easier.

17) Expect difficult days and try your best to prepare for them. Lack of routine will always make things harder for the child with Aspergers Syndrome.

18) Educational play is a good way of keeping your youngsters brain busy during the summer. This is great for the child who doesn’t like homework as they tend to learn without even knowing it.

19) Use the summer months as a time to help your child build on their independence skills.

20) When a parent becomes stressed this has an undesirable effect on the child with Aspergers. If your finding the summer months difficult try to talk to other parents in the same situation. There are many online support groups and forums for parents of children with autism.

Fun in the Sandpit – A Review

11 Jun

When asked to review a beautiful wooden sandpit from Climbing Frames UK, I knew the children would be overcome with joy especially that of the youngest member of the family.

If anything I was hoping it would stop the little guy trying to sit and play in the cat litter… I know, not nice!

The sandpit we were sent is of the wooden type and Is from the
Fabulous Selwood range. It comes flat packed all within the one box and included with the sandpit is a waterproof cover and a canvas groundsheet to stop weeds and grass growing trough.

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I found the sandpit quite easy to put together, my 9 year old daughter even gave a helping hand.

What I found really great is that there is no maintenance required with this sandpit. It’s constructed from treated wood and there is no need for vanishing or painting.

The sandpit is designed as a standalone model, however our garden is so uneven that we inserted it into a small prepared dip which actually worked really well.

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All three children loved it and my niece Amy who is 2, the same age as the toddler couldn’t wait to come round with her bucket and spade and play with her cousin in the sunshine.

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It’s made a lovely addition to the garden and is a real sensory haven for Little man who is 11 and has a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome. Little man is very tactile defensive and I’ve been using the sandpit to hide different objects then giving him the opportunity to dig around and find them. This really helps him to get used to varying textures and is a great idea as part of a sensory integration plan.

Sadly when the sandpit was delivered the best of the british sunshine had been replaced with grey skies and lashings of rain. Thankfully the sun did return and the children have therefore been making the most of it!

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For me the included cover is a godsend. We have cats from all over visiting the garden on a daily basis. The sandpit looks most inviting and my own Tom was very tempted to use it as a Giant litter box (till I ran out like a mad woman yelling him out). For this reason I’d recommend that anyone thinking of getting a sandpit ensures it comes with a protective cover or orders one at the time of purchase. This is not only for weather proofing but avoiding the odd fluffy visitor trying to bury his toilet!

Climbing frames UK stock a huge range of good quality garden products from climbing frames, playhouses, trampolines, sandpits and more. The range is really extensive and reasonably priced. What’s more Climbing Frames UK offer a price match guarantee service, insuring you get the best price available.

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I do love watching the children having fun in the sun, the sandpit will do well to keep my children fully entertained. This is perfect for those summer months when relaxing in the garden or maybe having friends and their children over for a barbecue.

The Selwood Sandpit measures 1 square meter and is currently on special offer for £29 instead of £50 which makes it amazing value money.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and I was not paid to write this review. However I did receive a sample of the product in-order to share my honest opinion with my readers

#HAWMC DAY 16 – The brilliance of Pinterest

16 Apr

I have to admit that when reading today’s #HAWMC writing prompt, I smiled a big fat cheesy grin.

The prompt was to create a pinterest board surrounding your health focus and then pin three things and share them here within this post.

There was no need for me to run off and try to open a pinterest account, I already have one and yes… Like many I’m already a bit of a “Pin Head”

Of course, having been actively using and engaging in Pinterest related activities, I had already created such a board (one surrounding my heath focus).

The board is titled, “Autism and Sen” its one of a hand full of boards I have surrounding autism and sen related issues.

This actual board focus a lot around creativity, supplying its followers with ideas that could help make life a tad simpler (visual prompts) as well as lots of ideas for sensory play, ones designed to help your child’s senses develop or give them that sensory seeking pleasure they crave!

Unsurprisingly, I also didn’t feel the need to zoom of and start pinning, the boards adequately filled and continues to grow most days. I did however actually find it quite difficult to decide which three pins I wanted to share, so of course I broke the rules a little and have shared a few more for good measure (sometimes rules are there to be broken)!

My first pin I’d like to share is this awesome visual chore chart which I thought would be a great resource for parents trying to encourage children on the autism spectrum engage in household chores or even as a prop to help teach independence skills. The original content came via the blog moneysavingmom.com.

I love this next pin that links to the blog growingajeweledrose.blogspot.com where some fabulous ideas can be found for sensory fun. This particular image is home-made glowing bath paint. I have tried this and it works 🙂 If your child, like mine is tactile defensive and isn’t to keen on the bath tub, this could be the thing to help.

Staying on the issue of sensory processing and that of tactile defensiveness, this next pin demonstrates a great way to encourage your child to experience and recognise different textures therefore learning to tolerate them. The home-made tactile board below is also great for the sensory seek who just has to seek out different textures. The pin shows a really effect and cheap way to combat such issues (tactile boards that of shop brought are often very expensive products). The pins original content is from the awesome blog makeadoandfriend.blogspot.com.

As mentioned I couldn’t stop at just three, so, here’s a few more…

This pin is from handsonaswegrow.com and demonstrates the beauty in sensory play. Dish or shaving foam is both a cheap and effective play idea for the child who sensory seeks.

Lastly I had to share this pin that displays a badge displaying a quote many of us can relate too…

Pin from hugsnstitches4u.com

You can find my Autism and Sen board along with some other fab boards, over on my Pinterest  just click HEREFollow Me on Pinterest

This is post 16/30  of the Wego Health #HAWMC

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