Archives for posts with tag: Parenthood

Toys aren’t merely devices made to keep your busy little bee while you finish folding laundry. True, some do just that, but many toys are created as educational tools to teach your children and help them develop better physical, organizational, emotional and social skills. For example, introducing your child to puzzles early on is not only a great, essential way to ensure he or she get the hang of figuring out fun stuff now, but that they also succeed in the great puzzle that is life.

More benefits of playing with puzzles include the development of great hand-eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills, plus shape recognition and problem solving. Puzzles also help children learn about their place in this world and their surroundings while they also become socially confident creatures.

Puzzles also encourage little ones to set goals and achieve them, which then promotes the emergence of self esteem —and lot of it. And maybe, one day, they’ll also do their own laundry! Til then, let’s do some puzzles.

1. First Puzzle – Treehouse

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Great for building self-esteem, this puzzle is large, which is great for sweet little hands, and it’s foam, which makes it easy for wee fingers to grip. Encouraging hand-eye coordination and visual sensory development, it’s designed to really get into the brain and improve cognition, logic, and reasoning.

2. Sensory Puzzle Blocks

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Nice and vibrantly colored, these puzzle blocks help develop fine and gross motor skills while improving hand-eye coordination. They’re textured, too, so as to provide tactile and visual sensory input. Stack, build, and assemble the foam pieces with friends and family to improve social skills.

3. Tot’s First Chunky Pegs

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Again, here’s a puzzle that’s made to help your child develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination. This 20-piece set is designed for tots 12-months old and up to stack, sort, match, and build away with the chunky pegs and pegboard.

4. Edushape Play Mat

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Now here’s a cool concept: use six-by-six foam alpha-numerical puzzle pieces to get your little darling’s logic, reasoning, and motor skills running AND build a fort! With 36 pieces to play with in total, it’ll be easy for your sweetie to get lost in a little world of numbers, letters, and learning. Creating a whimsical box full of fun, this colorful, soft, easy-to-clean floor mat has endless learning possibilities, not to mention it’s also a great insulator for cold floors. Once assembled, the mat is 72”x72” big and is perfect for designating a specific play area in the home.

5. First Puzzle – Fun Forrest

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This large foam puzzle has 10 pieces that are easy to grip so they work wonderfully with little fingers. While building self-esteem, this puzzle also encourages hand-eye coordination and visual sensory development and improves motor skills, cognition, logic and reasoning. And when joined by friends and family, it can also do wonders for your child’s social skills. Did we mention it features all of your favorite forest creatures?

 

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What will be your kid’s first or next adventure in the wonderful world of puzzles? Leave us a comment or drop by our Facebook page to tell us all about it!

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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

Materials:

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

Assembly:

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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