Archives for posts with tag: Special needs children

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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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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