Archives for the month of: October, 2015

Edushape Play & Learn Mat - Special Needs Essentials (2)Colorful, safe play mats offer many important benefits for early development in babies and children. That’s why we stock a variety of play mats with interesting textures and shapes. An early development essential, play mats are one of the most versatile products on the market.

They encourage children to develop fine-motor skills, visual sensory development and hand-eye coordination. Play mats also teach valuable logic and reasoning skills. Plus, they are a fun way to spend parent/child bonding time working on communication and sharing skills.

Early Development

Play Mats are specifically designed to be educational and encourage child development. Most mats have interactive features like removable puzzle shapes, fun tiles and different sights and sounds. Well-designed play mats encourage children to develop fine-motor skills, visual sensory development and hand-eye coordination. They also contain vibrant floor tiles designed to encourage child’s logic, reasoning and motor skills. Children learn to recognize  letters, numbers, animals, shapes and colors. Play Mats, like the Play Mat – 6×6 Foam Letter Puzzle (36 PC), feature alpha-numerical tiles to encourage number and letter recognition.

Sensory Stimulation

Playmats incorporate bright colors and a variety of textured surfaces to engage your child for hours of discovery and play. These features provide your child with important sensory experiences. Your child will enjoy touching varied surfaces, removable puzzle pieces and friendly animals. Some play mats incorporate music or crinkly fabric that makes noise when a child interacts with it.

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Play Mats provide a soft, safe and colorful play space for the home, school or office. Our mats have all been tested for safety and made by award-winning brands like EduShape. They are made from non-toxic eco-foam that is hand washable, durable and great at insulating cold floors. Our play mats, like the Play Mat 3×3 Foam Floor Tiles, feature easy grip play and skid resistant bottoms. Our play mats are recommended for children ages 3 and up. They are not recommended for children under three due to a choking hazard associated with small parts.


Great in any home, play mats also make traveling with your child a bit easier. They allow you to set up a safe, comfy space anywhere, and the colorful tiles and textures help entertain children for hours. Most playmats fold up or break down easily for excellent portability. When you return from your travels, give them a quick wash to remove any germs or grime to restore their condition. These play mats are hand washable for your convenience. One savvy parent just washes them in the tub for easy clean-up without the mess.


Suitable for toddlers and children, play mats are adaptable for years to come. They are perfect for day care centers, play rooms, nurseries, and playgrounds. Play mats make great gifts for birthdays, holidays or baby showers. Though playmats are perfect for infants and toddlers, older children can appreciate baby gyms and the different toys for the sensory experiences they offer.

Want to tell us about your favorite use for a play mat? Drop by our Facebook page and leave us a note!

Special Needs Essentials promotes awareness and facilitates support of families and professionals caring for a person with special needs. For more information, please visit our website.

Halloween is the perfect holiday to transform a wheelchair into the ultimate Halloween costume. We’re inspired by creative parents who up the ante and make over their children and wheelchairs to be fierce superheros, vehicles, whimsical animals and more. Not only is it fun for the whole family, but it’s also a creative way to raise awareness for special needs children.

Awesome Pirate Ship Costume - Special Needs Essentials

Non-profit Magic Wheelchair thinks that Halloween is the ultimate holiday where being wheelchair-bound is an asset, not a limitation. This Oregon-based company makes elaborate costumes that incorporate wheelchairs into their creative design. Founder Ryan Weimer has three children diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, and he factors in both child and chair into his elaborate costumes. Past designs include an elaborate pirate ship, Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon, and a Mario Cart.

My kids are seen as superstars and not looked at with sympathetic eyes or sadness,” said Weimer to BuzzFeed News.

Even if you’re not a master builder, you can create fun costumes for children in wheelchairs using little more than what you have laying around the house. Use cardboard and poster paint to transform wheelchairs into ice-cream trucks, pizza delivery , animals and more. Halloween is all about transformation and fun. Celebrate your child with a costume that not only compliments the wheelchair but makes it the centerpiece as well.

Wheelchair Superman - Special Needs Essentials

Here’s 15 suggestions for Halloween costumes ideas for children in wheelchairs:

  • Fred Flintstone in his car
  • Snoopy in his doghouse
  • Viking in a Viking Ship
  • Hello Kitty in a kitty car (see directions below)
  • Batman in his Batmobile
  • Aladdin on his Magic Carpet
  • Bee in a Beehive
  • Cinderella in her Carriage
  • DJ at the turntable
  • Pizza Delivery
  • Ice Cream Truck Driver
  • Farmer on a Tractor
  • Hockey goalie guarding the goal
  • Drummer with Drum Set
  • Neighborhood trolley from the classic children’s show Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood

DIY: How to Construct a Hello Kitty Car Costume for Halloween

Hello Kitty Car - Special Needs Essentials


  • Cardboard
  • Poster board (pink, white and black)
  • Hot glue gun  
  • Glue sticks
  • Spray paint (pink, white, red)
  • Zip ties
  • 2 dowel rods


Start by sketching a design of one side of the car on cardboard, measuring the approximate length needed to accommodate the wheelchair. Repeat for the other side. Next, measure and cut out pieces of cardboard to form the front and back of the car.

Use a circular object to sketch circles on black poster board for the wheels and cut them out. Next, sketch out smaller circles on white poster board and glue them inside the black circles. Then paint the cardboard for the car body pink and glue it together. Make small red bows to decorate the wheels, mirrors and door handles and a large red bow to embellish the front of the car. Use cardboard to create tail lights and paint them red. You can also make a license plate and steering wheel to add to the whole experience.

The eyes and whiskers for Hello Kitty were cut out of black poster board and affixed with glue. White posterboard was folded and painted pink for the ears. White poster board, colored yellow, works perfectly to form the kitty nose. We also used pages from a Hello Kitty coloring book, colored and cut them, and attached them to the car for decoration. We sculpted a dash from a piece of cardboard Lastly, use white poster board or cardboard to construct the front fender and bumper.

When it’s time to don the costume, use 2 dowel rods and zip ties to fasten the car to the wheelchair. Glue the dowel rods to the cardboard car to keep it in place in the back. Then zip tie it to the handle bar. Lastly, use zip ties to secure it on each side of the wheelchair.

Feel free to use your creativity and build your Hello Kitty Car out of materials you have around the house. This Hello Kitty Car Costume will transform a wheelchair into mobile awesomeness.

Want to share your epic Halloween creation with us? Head over to our Facebook page and share the love!

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