Toys for Kids who interact very little with other people

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Is your child with autism visually oriented? If so think about interesting visual toys. Motion lamps, liquid timers, and tops often please these kids. Does your child seek to touch lots of things? If so think about toys that are tactile. Good tactile toys for children with autism must be durable and interesting to touch. Some popular choices include massaging pillows, fidgets, and fabric items with lots of textures like the sensory pillow or textured squares.

Cause and Effect Toys: Children who interact very little with other people can benefit from cause and effect toys. These toys teach that our actions can cause something in the environment to change. They also work well for introducing the idea of turn taking and can create opportunities for positive interactions with autistic children and their family.

Developmental Ability
It may be appropriate to give toys that are at a younger developmental age. Some children may be in grade school, but have developmental skills at a preschool level. – A child who is beginning to notice their peers will do better with simple turn taking board games.

Toys Can Help with Social Skills and Language
Children learn through play. Play is essential for teaching social skills and language. We offer a wide selection of social skills games that are fun to play and can help develop this vital skill.

We hope these tips have been helpful for you. If you have any questions about choosing a gift for your autistic child feel free to contact us!

Toys for Your Speech Delayed Child

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The truth is that less is more. Your child does NOT need toys upon toys! In fact, too many toys can actually be a big negative. Believe it or not, children can get overwhelmed with too many toys and can end up moving quickly from one toy to another which can actually limit their play (and language) opportunities overall.

Pick Open Ended Toys

What are open ended toys? They are toys that have no beginning, middle or end. They can be used in a variety of ways and allow your child creative freedom in how to manipulate and use them. These toys tend to be the more basic and traditional toys. Which is NEXT on my list!

Go Back to the Basics: Pick Traditional Toys

As mentioned above, the more traditional toys also tend to be more open ended in nature. Here are some examples of open ended, basic traditional toys:

  • Wooden blocks
  • Legos
  • Cars, trucks, transportation toys (they do NOT need to make noise! That is what your child is for. Take the batteries out!)
  • Simple train tracks and trains (we have  wooden set with NO batteries. However, I do have a plastic set WITH and without  batteries to use with clients. Let’s be honest..it *is* fun to watch the trains go around the track sometimes!)
  • Play kitchen and play food
  • Farm Set (no noisy ones!) or other animal sets that suit your child’s interests (dinosaurs for example)
  • Doll House
  • Mr. Potato Head
  • Play Dough
  • Dress up clothes
  • Tool Set
  • Tea Set
  • Baby doll/baby blanket

Skip The “ABCs and 123’s”

On the subject of going back to basics…Go take a walk through Target or any big chain store’s toy department. There is this aisle (ok, several sometimes) with shelves stacked high with toys that say things like “Teaches the ABCs!” “Educational!” “Teaches Colors and Numbers!” and on and on.

Use Toys That get Them Moving

It is so important to get your kids moving! Even when indoors. Making forts and tunnelsare great ways to keep them moving indoors, without actually having to *buy* specific “toys” for that purpose. We also have some ride-on toys that we allow in the house (we have tile/hardwood floors) that keep our children moving as well as balls (yes, even inside).

Don’t Forget to Get Outside

You don’t have to *buy* outdoor toys. Heading to the park is great and FREE! But sometimes you don’t have a park near by or it is difficult to get you and the kids there…so here are some of my favorite outdoor toys:

  • Water table (A big bucket will do, or a small pool)
  • Buckets, cups, spoons (again, these can just be from your kitchen…tupperware works well!)
  • Small shovel/hoe for digging
  • Ride on toys
  • Play house– This one is a bigger purchase. We have one and it can provide HOURS of independent, creative play!

 

Tips to get that baby bash on the roll

Baby Bash

Birthdays are one of the most important events in our lives. This day signifies our arrival in the world and the celebration of it is a commemmoration of that first time we’ve ever came into the world. Most especially for our precious baby.

Here are some tips to get that baby bash on the roll and be the talk of the baby land for a week or so. One, preparation of the baby bash is extremely important! Create a theme that you would like to follow. Would you like your baby bash to be a sci-fi adventure? Or would you want your baby bash to be a costume party? Or rent even an amusement park complete with the merry-go-round and a clown or two. Whatever you decide, the baby bash needs to be well-thought of to keep it organized as well as the safety of the guests can be assured.

The baby bash depends on the age of the baby. For one year olds, clowns would do so that he or she can facilitate the party since the most important guests would be the little children. Magic shows and puppetry would be sufficient to keep the children interested and satisfied. While for two years old and older, since by this time, they are already mobile and have learned to walk, a costume party or an amusement park theme would be the solution to keep the kids happy. Balloons to keep them preoccupied, cotton candy to keep them busy and lots and lots of kiddie food.

Second, sending out the invites. It seems that babies are conversational pieces. Thus, your network of friends increase since you meet other moms and dads who have babies near your baby’s age group. They can become your buddies, swapping babysitting time when you need to unwind and relax. Their kids are your guests in the baby bash and not the parents. Thus, the baby bash must be geared towards the kid’s enjoyment.

Third, preparation of the food. Since this is a kiddie party, finger foods should comprise most of your menu. Kids easily tire of food and so small portions must be served at them. If possible, separate the food of the parents with the kids, if the parents were invited.

Sometimes, a baby bash becomes an adult get-together when there are no other babies that could be invited.

Whatever you have decided what the baby bash must be like, keep in mind that the baby’s comfort is more important. Sometimes, there are babies who are afraid of clowns. You must have an alternative activity in mind in case this happens.

Fourth, post baby bash activities. After all the food, the favors and trimmings gone, it is time to clean up. The most convenient way to finish all the food left is to ask mothers to take home a portion of the food served. This not only minimizes food spoilage, it would also keep the kids occupied during the drive home, in case they start asking for food. Because there are kids who play all throughout the party and do not pay attention to the food. But once they have settled down, usually during the ride home, then they start to feel hunger pangs. Thus, you would be helping parents keep the kids behaved during the ride home.

Then baby bash need not be a strenuous and nerve-racking activity that moms would rather not plan for. It could also be enjoyable for the parents as well.

Making smart Toy choices.

Toys

We hear it all the time, toys for my child are SO EXPENSIVE! And yep! They can be. But we’re here to help. Here are our top tips for making sure your toy choices are spot on.

Does you child love things similar to what you’re getting them? 
We mean are you about to spend $500 on an outdoor cubby house, but your child has never really enjoyed them when you’ve been at a park, play ground or if a friend has one? Then STOP! What does your child LIKE? And we don’t mean what do YOU like. Do they love playing with nuts and bolts? Then yes, invest in a lovely big work bench for them. Do they love playing dress up? No? Then don’t worry about that total doctors set, and see if they like a smaller kit maybe.

Take care of your toys! 
Don’t leave them in the rain, or the sun. Teach your child to respect their things (and your money) by making the pack away after playing. Put things away, keep them clean and they will last longer.

Ask them. 
If your little one is old enough to answer you properly, ask them their opinion. Show them a photo of a few puzzles and say which do you like. Or ask them if they’d prefer new stompers or maybe a sand pit set rather than assuming.

Quality, not quantity.
Don’t buy heaps of $2 toys that will break and cause disappointment. Spend your money wisely. Find toys that are high quality, will last and that little hands can’t destroy straight away.

Give them a range of toys. 
Have heaps of puzzles but no dolls? What about all the toy cars you have, but no art and craft supplies? Do you seem to trip over building blocks, but couldn’t find a sensory game in your house if you tried? Give your child something new (while remembering to take note of their interests) so they start to develop a range of skills.

 

What marks a successful after school program?

AfterSchoolActivities3

What marks a successful after school program? What are the things that you
should look for when enrolling your child into one such program? Other
than the obvious advantage of learning something new, successful programs
incorporate many things that help the development of the child.

Development of social skills is one of the more important objectives of a
good after school program. In a recent survey, parents indicated that
while they do want their children to respect others, they also wanted them
to imbibe skills like getting along with other children and getting used
to children outside the immediate circle of friends. Many children find it
difficult to make new friends and get along with people outside their
group.

Good after school programs place special emphasis on security and safety.
They keep children out of trouble and keep them safe. A good after school
program should be fun, especially when the children are young. If the
activity is fun, you will not have to worry about keeping him interested
or motivated. To be effective, programs should be organized and
structured. They must also suit the age of the child. The child must be
aware of the purpose of the program, and must be convinced that they are
attending the programs to accomplish something.

Imaginative and Creative Play Ideas

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Here are just a few ideas to help you get going with creative and imaginative play. There are many, many more ideas that you will likely come up with.

Remember that half the fun is setting things up or getting dressed up; the other half is playing out or acting out the various roles and creating the story itself. Stories can be continued from one play session to the next.

Doctor’s Office, Hospital or Veterinary Clinic

Use a play medical kit on dolls or stuffed animals as patients. Or a parent could be a patient. Find something to use as an ambulance. Send patients home with a prescription or a note to come back for a check up. Use a small box as an x-ray machine and draw the x-rays. Provide real bandaids, masking tape (for casts), popsicle sticks (for splints), cotton puffs and kleenex. Towels and facecloths can be beds; laundry baskets can be animal cages.

Medieval Times

Dress up as king, queen, prince, princess, knight, wizard, witch, fairy, elves, dragons, etc. Fun props include swords, shields, magic wands, crowns, hats, capes, and jewelry. Or use small toy figures as the characters. Set up different spots for castles, caves, hiding places or dens. Make up fantasy stories that include good and evil sides.

Outer Space

Dress up as astronauts and aliens. Or use small astronaut and alien figures. Find something to be a space ship. Set up different space stations on friendly and hostile planets. Set up various missions: to explore new worlds, to protect a vulnerable colony from dangerous aliens, etc.

Store

Set up items to sell. Use old wallets or purses. Use something for a cash register and make or buy play money. Write up bills and receipts on small paper. Customers can take items home and set them up at home.

Picnic, Dinner or Party

Invite stuffed animals, dolls, etc. Set up the place settings using plates, utensils, tablecloth, napkins, flowers. Use play food and empty food containers. Or, make food out of playdough, for example make cookies using cookie cutters, birthday cakes with decorations and candles. Find something to use as a stove or oven. Use old kitchen spoons and a pot. Have something unexpected happen such as: a storm comes during the picnic, someone spills the food on the floor, someone unexpected comes for dinner, someone has a surprise party, etc.

Restaurant

Use play food and empty food containers. Or, make food out of playdough. Find something to use as a stove or oven. Use old kitchen spoons and a pot. Set up the place settings using plates, utensils, tablecloth, napkins, flowers. Make up a menu. Use a small memo pad to take orders and to write bills for customers. Find something to use as a cash register and make or buy play money. Roles could be restaurant owner or chef, cashier, cranky customer, happy customer, clumsy waiter, clumsy or messy customer, etc.

Theatre Performance, Music Group or Orchestra

Set up a play or a show. Set up a small theatre or stage using fabric pieces for curtains. Puppets, stuffed animals, or kids can be actors. Create an orchestra with musical instruments. Use stuffed animals or dolls as the players. Someone can be the conductor. Have an audience of people, animals or dolls. Sell tickets to the concert.

Create Your Own Town, Farm, Fort, Space Outpost, Fantasy Land

Set things up on the floor. Use boxes, lego, or blocks for buildings or various structures. Find something to use for fences or barriers, mountains, caves or hiding places, water (such as rivers, lakes, or oceans), trees and flowers. Use cars, trucks, vehicles, airplanes, boats, etc. These can be the settings for unlimited imaginative play scenarios involving various roles such as vulnerable people, dangerous situations (natural disasters) or people (attackers, bad guys, monsters, etc.) coming in from outside, protective and rescue people, mastermind strategists and planners, teams or groups working together cooperatively, etc.

Create Your Own House or School

Use boxes for the buildings. Use a felt pen to draw the rooms on the inside of the box. Parents can cut out windows and doors. Use lego, smaller boxes, or blocks for furniture. Use fabric scraps for carpets, blankets, curtains. Put a family in the house and some children and a teacher in the school. Make an outdoor playground. Create various play scenarios such as a normal day at home or school, conflict and resolution in the schoolyard, moving to a new home, etc.

Make Up Your Own Games

Use items like foam (nerf) balls and a foam bat, indoor bowling set, ring toss, velcro darts, indoor basketball hoop for the back of the door, for example, and make up your own rules with these items. Be flexible and creative with the rules; rules can change and adapt as the play goes along. The idea is not to stick to one set of rules.

Drawing/Craft Activities

Determine where your art area will be and organize your art materials in this one place for easy access. Felt pens and crayons in one container. Glue, scissors, tape and miscellaneous other items in other containers. Have lots of sizes and colors of paper available. The easier it is to set up and clean up, the more useful this area will be.

 

Think #ToySafety

ToySafetyGuidelines

More than 120,000 children are taken to hospital emergency rooms each year for treatment of toy-related injuries. Evaluate toys for your children from the standpoint of safety. The following are some guidelines

• Choose toys appropriate to the child’s age. Some toys intended for children more than 3 years old may contain small parts, which could present a choking hazard for infants and toddlers. Toddlers should never play with any object that is smaller than a half dollar.

• Think BIG when selecting toys, especially for children under age three. Big toys without small parts can be enjoyed by youngsters of different ages. Keep toys intended for older children, such as games with small pieces, marbles, or small balls, away from younger children.

• Keep uninflated balloons out of reach for children under age 6, and discard pieces of broken balloons because of the choking hazard.

• Explain and show your child the proper use of safety equipment such as bicycle helmets. Studies show that helmets can reduce severe injuries from a fall.

• Check all toys periodically for breakage and potential hazards. Damaged toys can be dangerous and should be repaired or thrown away immediately.

• Store toys safely. Teach children to put toys away so they are not tripping hazards

Store toys safely Toy safety involves choosing the right toy, checking it regularly for damage, and storing it safely. One of the greatest dangers in toy storage is the toy chest with a free-falling lid. Children are injured when the lid falls on their head, neck, or arms. Upright lids in trunks and footlockers pose this kind of hazard.

Open chests or bins, chests with lightweight removable lids, or chests with sliding doors or panels do not present the hazard of a falling lid. Low, open shelves where toys can be reached easily and put away are a safer alternative and are often preferred by children. Small items such as building blocks or puzzle pieces can be stored in plastic tubs or boxes.

Using Puppets to stimulate children’s imagination

Puppet Toys

Puppets are an aspect of our history and everyday lives. From marionettes to the Muppets we see them on television, on videos or in live performances. In their different forms they appeal to both old and young alike, represent different customs and traditions and are valuable educational tools. Puppets are both entertaining and captivating. Children can believe and relate to them; they can enter and explore the fascinating inventive world that puppets create.

Learning through play is fundamental to our children’s education, helping them to develop the necessary skills in life. Puppets can stimulate children’s imagination, encourage creative play and discovery and are a wonderful interactive way to introduce narrative to even the most reluctant reader. They can be a powerful way of bringing story time to life; puppets can provide a focus for role play, encouraging the child’s imagination and involvement in activities and can play a fundamental part in the recitation of stories and verse. In addition, hand puppets with workable mouths and tongues are an excellent motivational resource to inspire the teaching of phonics within literacy.

Any puppet can encourage the quietest of children to start talking. Puppets can break down barriers and provide an effective means to initiate communication. The child trusts the puppet and doesn’t feel threatened by it, making it a perfect neutral medium through which they can discuss sensitive issues. The child can express thoughts, fears and feelings through the puppet that they might otherwise find difficult to voice to an adult.

Puppets can assist children with special educational needs. They can motivate and support children with difficulties in communication and interaction. They can help to develop their social and motor skills, and can meet the visual, tactile and emotional needs of the individual child. Large human puppets with glove hands and fingers can be used in conjunction with the different varieties of signing, adding a further dimension in helping children with both hearing difficulties and learning disabilities.

All puppets come to life as characters. They can portray different personalities and various traits and they cross all cultures. Puppets can share joy or sadness; they can be naughty or good, cheeky or shy; and when a child is engaged by a puppet they can learn lessons without even realising.

Puppets provide an essential link between learning and play which makes them wonderful teaching tools for at home, the classroom and in the wider community.

Ways to Boost Your Creativity

Be creative

Creativity is your birthright ­ but can often be hidden in the everyday. To facilitate your personal development and self growth, here are some creativity tips you can use to resurrect, refresh and enhance your creative faculties.

1. Look after yourself.

Sleep well/Eat well/meditate/do what you enjoy and do it more often (if it is life enhancing!). Creativity is reduced when your senses are dulled.

2. Do something different.

We do so much on auto – the route we take to work, newspaper we read, TV programmes we routinely watch. Vary one element of your regular routine for a while. If feasible, take a different route to work, read a different newspaper (especially one you would never read!).

3. Be curious about your world around you.

It always amazes me when people don’t see what’s around them. See the area you live/work in as a tourist would. How would you explore it if you were a tourist?

4. Read a book on something you previously had no interest in.

…and see if you can create interest whilst reading it. It is my belief that no topic is boring or uninteresting if it is enthusiastically and creatively presented. You know what you like – or you like what you know?

5. Do something childlike once in a while.

…and you don’t have to have the children there as an ‘excuse’ to do it. Sit and play on swings/draw/paint ‘silly’ pictures – have fun. Children are incredibly creative and as adults we could learn a lot about how they view the world.

6. Create/prepare quiet time for yourself every day.

Not to do anything (unless it relaxes you), but just to clear and refresh your mind. We are human beings, not doings. There are times when our crowded schedule and minds don’t allow space and time for the creative to be welcomed in. Einstein liked to go sailing in the afternoons after working in the morning. Okay, most of us don’t have this opportunity, but you get the point.

7. Ask ‘what if’ questions.

Just for fun and see where the answers take you. What if that building could talk, what would it say, what stories would it tell?

8. We often make assumptions.

…about the people we work with (especially if we don’t like them!) Try treating someone you don’t particularly like at work as if you liked them (yeah I know…………….:.) What would you say, how would you act towards them?

9. Write and storyboard your life.

…as if it were a script you had to sell to a film company.

10. Talk to people you routinely ignore or dismiss.

Imagine their lives from their point of view, they often have viewpoints which you may never have considered before and ………………………… carry a small notebook with you to jot down new ideas / sensations / feelings as they come to mind.

Ways to Inspire Children

Grocery Items for a Pretend Play Kitchen Set

Walk through any toy store and you will see walls and walls of toys that are loud — toys that require batteries, have flashing lights, or that look like your child’s favourite movie character.

But, what about those of us who want to raise children with imagination and curiosity? I’ll tell you what we do. We choose to fill our houses with some of the following old-fashioned items.

Books
No house can have enough books. Make sure your house has a representation of great Fiction Books and non-fiction books. A mix of the two is very important. Most homes have a deficit of non-fiction books, so fill your home with Science, History and Art books. Children need to learn to read and appreciate non-fiction books in order to do well in research when they reach higher levels of study.

Felt Boards
Children love to tell stories with felt. You’ll need a felt board to start. You can make your own board from a sheet of felt or purchase a board from one of the suppliers below. Once you have the board, let the fun begin. Go to a craft or fabric store and buy sheets of felt in all colors. Then, cut out shapes in all colors and sizes. (You’ll be amazed at how quickly a child will make an alien, ship, house, or person out of nothing but a few circles, rectangles, and triangles.)

Blocks and Legos
Children can play for hours building towers, bridges, cities, creatures, and more with these toys that inspire creativity, patience, and small-motor skills. When the masterpiece is finished, have your child pretend to be a giant and smash through the blocks — or grab a few small cars and drive around the new city! Be sure to name the city and have your child tell you all about it.

Art Supplies
Give your child some crayons, scissors, junk mail, and glue. He or she will be entertained for hours if given encouragement. Please SUPERVISE closely if you don’t want your child to have a self-induced bad haircut or attach the dog to her artwork!

Puppets
Make puppets out of socks, paper bags, felt, cloth, or popsicle sticks. Make a stage and tell stories. Get out the video camera and capture your child’s brilliance!

Musical Instruments
Whether your musical instruments are home-made with a comb and wax paper or store bought, making music is a wonderful way to spend the day. Teach your child that music can be made from anything, from an old oatmeal container, to scratching two pieces of sandpaper together. Go on a walk and just listen to the sounds of the world — music is everywhere in our lives.

Dress-up Clothes
Get out old prom dresses, big hats, shirts and ties, old Halloween costumes (or buy extra pieces after Halloween for year-round fun!). Bring out a box of costumes and watch the shows with your children as the stars. Keep a camera handy to capture the fun. Also, keep an eye on the pets. Cats don’t always appreciate wearing a sombrero. Trust me, I have the scars to prove it!

Doll-houses
There is nothing more fun than watching your child make up stories as the family members move around in a doll house. Plus, if it is a wooden dollhouse, there is the added benefit of decorating it with some wallpaper scraps and carpet remnants! Your dollhouse could be a family heirloom if you put enough love into it.

In the Kitchen
Kids love to play Kitchen, whether it is mixing air, or getting to play with food. Give your child a great time by giving them safe kitchen utensils to play with in the bathtub. Mixing, pouring, and scooping bubbles and water entertains my children long enough for them to look pruny. Or for a fun alternative, give them puffed rice cereal and some bowls and utensils on the kitchen floor. Just plan to vacuum afterwards as there’ll be quite a wonderful mess!