Tag Archives: tactile

Tutorial For Making Your Own Tactile Sensory Buddies

4 Jan

Children on the Autism spectrum can often have sensory processing difficulties, so much so that it affects their day to day life considerably. I’ve written plenty of material on this subject over the past 4 years but if you want to find out a little more on the subject just click HERE to be taken to one of my most detailed posts.

If you follow my blog you will already know that all my little mans senses are somewhat sensitive especially that of his tactile sense (touch). This can often make life very difficult for him. He can only wear certain material and practically lives in jogging bottoms (I can’t remember the last time he wore a pair of jeans). However, its not just his clothing that he finds difficult to tolerate but everyday things that he needs to touch such as pencils, or certain plastic and more besides. Little man explains that by touching certain objects he is left feeling “Fuzzy” his whole body goes cold, his hairs stand on end and his skin tingles endlessly. He describes such an experience to be painful even.

Nonetheless, there are certain textures little man wants to touch. He will seek such textures out and cannot rest In till his got a hold of them. This combined with his constant need for movement has resulted in me buying many types of sensory toy. When buying such items I look for toys that not only provide a pleasant tactile experience but also ones that double up as a fidget as well as stress relievers to help avoid meltdowns.

We have discovered some fabulous items online and many of them costing very little money. However, we can go through such high numbers that this can actually work out rather costly in the long run. That’s why I’ve taken to making them myself.

Today I want to share a really easy to follow step by step tutorial that shows you how you too can create easy handmade tactile sensory buddies with nothing more than some thread, felt, buttons and dry rice.

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So… Here it goes…

To make a tactile sensory buddy you will need the following materials…

A piece of felt in any colour you wish (measuring 17 by 11 cms)

Pen or pencil

Ruler

Sharp scissors or craft knife

Dress pins

Some tread in the same colour as your chosen felt.

Needle

Two medium size buttons of the same colour and size.

One Small pink self adhesive button

Four small red self adhesive buttons

Dry uncooked rice

How to put your buddy together…

1: Firstly cut your felt to size so that it measures roughly 11 cms across and 17 cms in length. Use your ruler to measure and your pen or pencil to clearly mark out where it is you will need to cut (don’t worry about pen marks as these wont be seen when finished.

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2: once you have cut out your felt fold it in half and with your ruler and pen draw a line about half a centimetre from the edge of the felt on all the open sides of your fabric (not the folded bottom section). Hold in place with a few of your dress pins.

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3: Now take your needle and thread in the same colour as your felt and start sewing along the 2 lines located at the sides (not the top section this comes after). Don’t worry to much if it looks a tad untidy with dangly loose ends etc as this will form the inner body of your tactile sensory buddy once you’ve turned it inside out.

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4: Now sew along the top line but stop and tie of your thread once you hit the halfway mark. This section will be sewn later once we have turned the buddy inside out and sewed on all the accessories and filled it with rich.

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5: Now turn your felt inside out so once closed no traces of tread can be seen.

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6: Once you have done this turn your felt so that the smallest part becomes the top and the unstitched section is now at the side.

7: Now sew the two medium buttons on as eyes. Sew these on just one side of your buddy and sew them on from the inside so the ties are hidden. Do this by accessing the inside from the area you have yet to sew.

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8: Now fill the buddy with dry uncooked rice and sew the remaining area. You could also use material glue to keep things tidy.

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9: Add the pink self adhesive button for the nose.

10: Add your four red buttons as a mouth.

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Finished!

This is a really simple addition to the collection I plan on creating. Be as creative as you like. Add funky feathers, painted spots, stripes and more.

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The rice provides a very satisfying tactile experience and can be squeezed and played with easily. A great homemade sensory toy that doubles up as a fabulous stress toy… Sick! (Little mans words not mine by the way!)

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The Silly Soft

29 Sep

 I was quite excited when I was contacted by the guys at Gander Kids and asked to test a Silly soft. I had never heard of anything quite like it. However I was up for discovering what it was all about.

 The Silly Soft, made by P’kolino is a real smart toy, not only is it designed in three pieces that enables your child to puzzle together a big brightly coloured friend, it’s also multifunctional! 

 The ‘Silly soft’ can become a cosy toddler chair, table, foot-rest and more, the possibilities are endless.

 The Silly soft is aimed at children age 1-3 years. It comes in a range of  funky designs and in five different colours (orange, red, green, blue and purple).

 We were sent the orange Silly soft via speedy next day delivery.

 The Silly soft was well boxed, but easy to unpack, no horrid plastic twisty things to get through! (God I hate them things, a mothers worse nightmare)!

 It was much smaller than I first expected! However this was only because I had the image of a huge chair stuck in my head, I needed to remember this was aimed at toddlers, so, actually it was the perfect size!

 Harley was having a nap and when he woke he got mega excited when I announced, ‘mummy had a surprise downstairs’ bless him!

The outer packaging has a clear plastic window to allow you to view the toy in the box, Little H started clapping and then jumping around shouting, “Rab-bit, rab-bit” mimicking the sound of a frog. 

 Despite the colour Harley recognised that it was indeed designed to resemble a frog and he was now pretty keen to get it out of its box.

I took the three parts out the box, they were very spongy maybe made of some kind of foam that was covered in a fleece like material making them super soft, most tactile and light. Harley was able to pick each piece up with ease. He instantly got to work, puzzling where the pieces went to create his froggy friend, at just 21 months he did this with ease which left me rather impressed.

He had a huge amount of fun, throwing the pieces around the room then diving on them.

He sat on it and indulged in a little Cbeebies, jumped on it, throw it, danced on it, played on it, and finally slept on it! 

It would seem that Little H  rather likes his P’kolino Silly soft, don’t you think?

This is a toy/come seating area that’s extremely child friendly, it’s soft, comfortable, funky, bright and fun! Basically it’s all the things a toddler wants from a toy.

Oh, and don’t worry about Silly soft becoming a “Dirty Silly Soft” the covers are removable for washing ( please do check the labels care instructions).

I cannot give this lower than a 5 star *****  It put a huge smile on my toddlers face, is great for the development of gross motor skills, plus it’s different and we, at A boy with Asperger’s love different)

 The P’kolino retails at £39.99 and is available at Gander kids

Monkey So, Monkey Do

26 Sep

Ever heard of Lisa Edge? 

Well, if you haven’t you will soon!

 Lisa creates divine quilts, and accessories out of beautiful fabrics. She’s known for her gorgeous patchwork quilts that are all handmade and totally stunning. 

 She sells via an online store, but seems to add most of her products to her facebook page which is like an Aladdin’s cave of gems.

 Lisa creates these unique & beautiful pieces as part of her business Monkey Sew, Monkey Do.

 I was thrilled when Lisa asked if she could send Little Harley a bandana bib to review.

 We really were not disappointed, the black and grey pirate design was absolutely fab, a real tread-setter. 

 At first, little H looked at me as if to say,

 “No, way baby you’re not putting that think on me mamma” 

 I did the mummy blackmail, lowered my bottom lip and looked sad, to which he responded with an, “OK, mummy” (His new favourite words)

 Harley will not wear your every day standard bibs, he’ll pull at them almost taking his head off! 

Bandana bibs are smaller than your average bib, they suit a toddler so much better than the conventional bib, that can look a little odd as your baby gets over the one year milestone.

 These also work well to keep the neck warm making an ace replacement for a scarf. The fleece lining is really warm and also comfortable around the neck, no itchy wool, they are really tactile friendly.

 Once the bandana was on, Harley quickly forgot about it, which I think was down to the lovely fabric. It’s great for little dribblers and those that get a little mucky when eating out and about. 

 Lisa, is clearly very good at what she does, not only did she send me a beautiful well made product to try, but she also gave me excellent customer service via email, and made the delivery of the parcel that bit more personal, by adding a hand written note thanking me for trying the Bandana, and a few little care tips (how to wash etc.) as well as one of her pretty little business cards.

 If bandana bibs are not really for you, don’t write her off just yet! Lisa is a dab hand at all sorts and can do so much more than bandanas and quilts. Other beautiful handmade products include, pretty cushions, including awesome kids designs and personalised items.

 Little man (my eldest son who has a diagnosis of aspergers) would never wear bibs, which I now think was a sensory related issue! Maybe if Bandana bibs were around then (his almost 11 now) these may well have suited him better. He doesn’t really like stuff around his neck but the fleece material may well have been tolerated. 

 All in all, we were totally impressed with the bandana bib we were sent, the design was spot on and was a welcome change from teddy bears and sailing boats (which you often find on baby and toddler garments). The material was lovely and the product was really well made. 

  Myself and the little guy, highly recommend you check out Lisa’s designs over on the monkey Sew Monkey Do facebook page.

Are you ready for the next playground craze

19 Aug

 I’ve been seriously excited about sharing this review, but had my  instructions to hold of from posting till nearer the big launch date.

 Bumpeez are set to become the next big pocket money, playground craze  throughout the UK.

 Bumpeez are twin packs of fun collectable, pocket money toys priced at  just £1.99. These exciting new toys are all set to hit newsagents, toy  stores and supermarkets nationwide from the 24th August 2011.

 When I received the email back in the beginning of July, asking if the  children would be interested in giving Bumpeez a try, I knew these  would be an instant hit with Little Man.

 Bumpeez are aimed at both boys and girls between the ages of 5-11  years (though little man is 11 on the 1st of October, I think these  may appeal to those that little bit older too).

 Its fair to say that when it comes to collectable pocket money toys,  many children on the autism spectrum take to them like a duck to  water! Just look at Pokemon, (a game which is said to be created by a  guy with high functioning autism, likely, ‘Aspergers syndrome’) or  that of Yu-Gi-Oh cards, both have  been a hit with children on the  spectrum. This is not only for the appeal of forming a collection but  also the social aspect that surrounds these games,Just like Bumpeez  they offer the opportunities needed to better a child’s social  skills.

 Bumpeez go one step better! These are not cards but instead highly  collectable solid circular chips encased in a highly tactile removal  silicon ring that come in a variety of different shapes, colours and  sizes, (another appealing aspect for children on the autism spectrum  who may require lots of sensory/tactile input during play).

 The idea of the silicon outer ring is to allow the Bumpeez to bounce.  These can then be bounced against different surfaces to play tricks or  games. The different shapes of the ring mean each will require varying  degrees of skill to bounce.

 Bumpeez offer the child versatility in that they can be played both  with or without the silicon ring, either indoors or outdoors. There  are already a total of 25 games created, yet children are encouraged  to make up their own, improving the child’s imagination skills (an  essential tool for those with autism).

 Collectables

 Little man loved his packet of Bumpeez that contained the characters,  ‘Cloud’ & ‘Candy killer’ He loved how there were so many different  characters to collect, 100 in total. Bumpeez also have 10 different  colours to collect.

 The overall goal is for the child to collect all the coloured chips  with matching coloured rings. Each chip has its own character and  trading value. ‘Omar’ is the lead character therefore the rarest with  the highest trading value. Other characters include Omar’s friends,  Robot, Pam and Johnny-Q.

 Little man loves the whole trading concept that surrounds Bumpeez. He  told me that the fact you don’t know what bumpeez you’re getting makes  the collecting aspect more exciting.

 From a parental point of view, I found Bumpeez to be great value for  money. The fact that each pack contains two bumpeez is fantastic. I  have known other products aimed at children labelled as “pocket money  toys” priced at anything but pocket money prices. I can honestly see  little man collecting these from the time they hit the shops next week  till the day they disappear! I can easily vision my 8 year old daughter  following suit much to little mans “delight” (yes, that was good old  fashion English sarcasm)! Since early July when little man first  discovered Bumpeez his continually asked, “Mum, how much longer till I  can get some more Bumpeez?” I’m being driven loopy with anticipation.  He has already taken these into school (an autism special school)  before the end of term and told me his class peers showed a keen  interest his new toy.

 It seems that the fun that can be had with Bumpeez is limitless. What  with the chance to acquire special rear addition packs containing,  silver, swirl (Bi-colour) & golden chips resulting in the child  winning a fantastic prize makes the purchase of a packet of Bumpeez  even more exciting.

 “Oh, I almost forgot to tell you!” Bumpeez have an interactive  feature. The online element means kids can access cool game, tips and  tricks, plus lots of new and exciting features at the official website: http://www.bumpeez.com

 So, parents be prepared… in just 5 days from now Bumpeez will hit  the shelves of your local store, how cool will you look when your  child asks, “Mum, what’s these?” and your able to tell them with  confidence!

 Bumpeez will be available to buy at all good newsagents, independent  toy stores, (such as the entertainer) national supermarkets and high  street stores including WHsmiths & Toys R us from 24th August priced at just £1.99

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