Archives for posts with tag: Imaginative play

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

Advertisements

SusanToday we are honored to share the very valuable advice of Susan N. Schriber Orloff, OTR/L, FAOTA! She is the author of the book Learning Re-Enabled, a guide for parents, teachers and therapists (featured by the National Education Association), as well as the CEO/Exec. Director of Children’s Special Services, LLC an occupational therapy service for children with developmental and learning delays in Atlanta, GA. She can be reached through her website or at susanorloff@childrens-services.com, on TwitterFacebook or on her blog.

When thinking of playful engaging activities for “special needs” children it is important to know that everything can be adapted to meet the needs of any child within a play environment.KnobbyQ1-edited

It is more important to think how than what. A simple game of checkers can be made easier by putting strings in the directions the player is allowed to move, pick up sticks can be arranged to follow a pattern on an underlying mat so that the game includes color and positional matching, not to mention pincer grasp. Dominoes can be color coded on their dots so that the game turns into multiple matching tasks, not just one; and so forth.__1482976_preview

Parents do not have to spend a lot of money in special needs catalogues looking for just the “right” toy or game when all games can be “right” if used creatively and with necessary adaptations.

When selecting special toys or equipment think about versatility and how many ways you can use the item. Special Needs Essentials is just that, the “essentials” so think about the BEST pieces to buy that cover a range of opportunities for multiple functions.

For example a “chewy tube” can also be an in-hand manipulation toy; neon bracelets can hanheld dogbe adapted pick-up sticks; hand held massagers can be part of a relay race game; and puppets designed for increasing hand skills can be used for imaginative play to increase social skills.

There is also the Old Fashioned concept of making a game or craft together. Before all the left over Christmas wrapping paper is gone, make a sculpture with the paper, watered down with school glue and some ModgePodge. Think about making toy storage boxes that the child will be invested in using by covering them 099with the left over wrapping paper and making it shiny with the ModgePodge. Parent and child will get a lot more out of this activity than the end product—they will be talking to each other and this is an excellent time to use and build vocabulary and social skills.

The most important thing to think about is ‘how can this activity enhance my child’s total developmental abilities’: physical (hand skills and/or gross motor), neurological (thinking, reasoning and sensory) and perceptual (seeing and processing) skills.

Your options are endless and they are most likely to be already in your home rather than a fancy (and expensive) catalogue, or in a store near-by.”

Susan N. Schriber Orloff, OTR/L, FAOTA

%d bloggers like this: