Archives for posts with tag: Building blocks

One of my favorite things to do with my children, when they were younger, was to build things. I think I loved it so much because it was time spent just sitting with my kids, no T.V. on. Nothing but us just talking and building. What we were building did not matter and if I am being truthful, sometimes it was an unidentifiable thing we created, but the fun was being together.

Emily loved play dough and clay to create things.

Michael was more of a Lego kind of man.

And for our beautiful Elizabeth, due to her sensory processing disorder, she did not have a favorite but we were always encouraging her to participate in all of the above. Sometimes she did and it was great and other times she did not wish to participate and we tried to understand.

So when I came across these learning blocks, I immediately knew who my go to person was for help to tell you about them. And it is my beautiful 11 year old son, Michael.

He is my side kick and my assistant for toy reviews. What follows is a combination of his thoughts and mine about the building blocks called: Elemenosqueeze

They are alphabet blocks but so different from any you will find.

First off their colors are not in the primary realm of red, blue, yellow and green, but come in orange, moss green, pink and red. So this is something that, right away, caught my eye. Partially because the colors are different but mostly because the colors are soothing. It is a nice change from the traditional color options in most children’s toys.

The Elemenosqueeze blocks come in interesting shapes. Not just square, triangle or rectangle but in curved ones like a bridge, long ones like pillars and ones with rounded corners. So the building will be easy with these choices and allow for more creative play. 

But aside from that, on each alphabet block there is a letter, hence the name, as well as a raised imprint of a word that starts with the letter and an animal image. Thus, the Elemenosqueeze blocks help with letter, animal and color identification while promoting fine motor skills and imagination through building. 

Nice! Right? I think they feel nice in your hand and come with a zippered carrying case to take them with you. The only thing I have to say is that the case requires the blocks to be put in in a certain way to get the zipper to close. So to be realistic, it might be a good idea to take them out of the container they came in and put them in something that will allow your child to throw them in. It would just make it easier. Also, the letter “X” has an imprint of a fish on it with its ribs elevated. So just know I think they are going for X-ray here. But you may have to explain it to your children.

But other than that, the Elemenosqueeze is a perfect addition to the toy chest or the classroom, especially for sensory seekers! 

Now here comes Michael.

He opens the bags and takes out some of the blocks. He immediately squeezes them and when they make a noise, he looks up at me and smiles. “Listen to this!” he says. “I love that they do this!” So the sound made is a high point in 11 year old land.

And because he is a chewer, think shirts, pillow cases and the like, he reads they are PABA free and puts one in his mouth. He is immediately happy with the fact that these can become “chewies” and continues to work with the Elemenosqueeze as he happily chews on the moss green pillar.

His final thought is actually a question “How cool is this?” And it refers to the fact that the b toys building blocks, when filled with water make some “really nice squirt guns!” “Mom, seriously these would be so fun in a pool”.

I then told him to squirt the remaining water out of the rectangle. Which he did in an unhappy fashion.

Michael gave the blocks a great rating on the fun scale!

Add the Elemenosqueeze building blocks to your sensory diet, bathtime fun, and/or  the sensory table today.

Ohh, and they were also rated Best Baby Toy of 2011. So there’s that too! 

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele

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Today we are honored to share Diane Cassellius’ advice on holiday gifts for children with special needs! Diane is the wife of a Navy officer and the mother of 5 beautiful children. She lives in a beautiful New England town where the quality of life is second to none. She holds a graduate degree in psychology with a focus on medical health psychology. One of her children, Sam, has special needs – both medically and developmentally. Her passion is sharing their story and educating and advocating for those who are parents of chronically ill children.

Diane

  1. Sensory Overload:

Your child is subjected to sensory overload on a daily basis; this provides anxiety, frustration and distress. School can be a stressful environment for your child, where they are surrounded by a multitude of stressors such as large crowds, bright lights and excessive noise. The classroom can be an over stimulating place for them with simply too much information to process.

Sensory tools such as “chewelry,” fidget toys, and stress balls are simple and inexpensive, yet valuable tools to help your child cope with sensory overload.

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Consider these tools as great stocking stuffers so that your child will have the tools he or she needs at home. Having these items will help improve their quality of life. They will not only benefit them, keeping them calm and happy, but the entire family as well.

  1. Autistic Spectrum Disorder and other Sensation Seeking:

Contrary to what many people think, not all special needs children, especially autistic children, are over responsive to stimuli, in fact, quite the contrary. Some children are actually under responsive; they are referred to as “sensory seeking.” This is because their need for sensory stimulation actually needs to be intense.

There are certain sensory tools or toys that respond to your child’s action. These are the tools that offer feedback (sounds, lights and movement). They can help children with a sensory processing disorder focus their attention, calm themselves and decrease hyperactive or impulsive responses. Building blocks, touch and feel items, and puzzles are also great examples.

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For children who are sensory seekers, it will be important to find toys or items they can relate to and that they are interested in. Otherwise, the items will not be used for their intended ways which are to provide the sensory input the child desires.

  1. Auditory Processing Issues:

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a complex issue, affecting 5% of all school aged children. Children with these issues cannot process information or hear things the same way other same-aged peers can. This not only affects the way a child hears but also the way a child speaks. For example, subtle differences between sounds and words are not recognized. Speech signals a sound that needs to be presented under optimal conditions. People with APD can miss parts of speech because it is too fast and too complex. When multiple sounds are heard, often-competing sounds can be missed. As a result, children miss or misunderstand certain parts of perceived communication.

181_1If a child plays with the right auditory toy or tool, it can help provide them with the ability to integrate sounds. My son, Sam used these all the time. The magic microphone can help a child amplify his voice, or even help a child who is non-verbal. When the child will be able to hear his voice thanks to this toy, this will provide positive reinforcement, which will encourage him to make that sound again.

Diane

http://5littlemonkeys.me/

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