Ghost Crafts

10 Ghost Crafts from The Weekly Kids Co-op

Ghost CraftsCrafts are really good for The Sensory Seeker. They help with meeting his Sensory needs in term of vision and tactile input. It helps with fine motor skills, hand-eye co-ordination, turn-taking, following instructions, speaking and listening and much much more. Sometimes it is good to just let him be creative and other times it is great to give him a guide. I do love the inspiration I have from the Weekly Kids Co-op so thank you each and every one of you who links up. With Halloween fast approaching I thought I would make some Ghosts with My Sensory Seeker. I love the variety of ghost crafts linked up and the many skills that making them brings.

10 Ghost crafts from the Weekly Kids Co-op

Ghost Feet & X-Ray Hands - Atkinson Drive
10 Ghost crafts from the Weekly Kids Co-op
Sensory Halloween - The Sensory Seeker
10 Ghost Crafts from the Weekly Kids Co-op
Halloween Crafts: Ghosts on the Light Table {Read & Play} - Where Imagination Grows
10 Ghost Crafts from the Weekly Kids Co-op
Halloween Science: Ghost Balloons – Preschool Powell Packets
10 Ghost Crafts from the Weekly Kids Co-op
Milk Jug Ghost - Crafty Journal
10 Ghost Crafts from the Weekly Kids Co-op
Ghost Symmetry – Three Ghost Friends
10 Ghost Crafts from the Weekly Kids Co-op
Toilet Paper Roll Ghosts - Plain Vanilla Mom
10 Ghost Crafts from the Weekly Kids Co-op
Halloween Ghost Finger Puppets in 4 Easy Steps - Mum Bo Jumbo
10 Ghost Crafts from the Weekly Kids Co-op
Halloween Rock Garden - Dabbling Momma
10 Ghost Crafts from the Weekly Kids Co-op
Dryer Sheet Ghosts and a Tossing Game - The Stay at Home Mom Survival Guide
10 Ghost Crafts from the Weekly Kids Co-op
The Weekly Kids Co-Op

tree fu tom big spell

Halloween Fun with Tree Fu Tom: Tom’s Big Spell

Tree Fu Tom: Tom’s Big Spell

This Halloween children can be spell-bound with Tree Fu Tom in his new DVD Tom’s Big Spell. Based on the hit CBeebies show the DVD has seven magical stories set in the enchanted world of Treetopolis. The action-packed adventures encourage children to join in with the magic and copy the actions.

tree fu tom big spell

HALLOWEEN FUN WITH TREE FU TOM: TOM’S BIG SPELL

The hit CBeebies show is set in the enchanted world of Treetopolis where movement creates magic and viewers are encouraged to join in the fun and interact with the show through physical actions. Tom appears to be a normal eight-year-old boy but when he puts on his magic belt and performs a special sequence of movements (known as Tree Fu) he transforms into a tiny but mighty, magical super-hero.

tree fu tom big spellIn the DVD Tom is off to the castle for an exciting day at Spell School with Treetog. A drop of Magic Motion Potion brings some familiar objects to life but Tom finds the new spell quite hard to master. A flying book, a naughty broomstick and Zigzoo’s wagon run riot around Treetopolis when they become enchanted. Tom needs you to help him perform Big World Magic to restore calm to Treetopolis.

This was great for my Sensory Seeker who doesn’t like to sit still, and whilst watching tv he is usually upside-down or tapping his feet – so it was great that he had a way to channel this energy. Plus his older brothers (ages 7 and 11) also really enjoyed it and it was lovely to see them all joining in together. As there are seven stories it is easier to manage if our Sensory Seeker is struggling with his attention span: Although so far this has not been a problem as it really held him captive.

Find out more about how the spells have been designed to help children with movement difficulties and conditions such as dyspraxia on the CBeebies Grown-Ups Section.

Certificate: U

For more information about Tree Fu Tom you may also be interested in the Tree Fu Tom Ranger Utility Belt Review.

We received a free DVD of Tree Fu Tom: Tom’s Big Spell  in order to review it. All words and opinions are my own.

writing for children

Writing – How children learn to Write and Ways to Encourage them #KidsCoop

In Literacy this week we covered WRITING. If you think that learning to write is easy then try putting your pen in the hand that you do not normally write with, then close your eyes and write your address. Was it as easy as you thought? There is so much to think about – not just the shapes of the letters, how to space them out, whether you have room on the paper, which directions to go from – plus any other distractions going on around you.

The Development of Children’s Writing Skills 

When you start to write you do not need to worry about things like having ideas and imagination, talking about feeling or having a good memory – that will all come later. First you need to focus on holding the pencil, hand-eye co-ordination, time to experiment and being allowed to draw and scribble.

writing for children

The writing journey

Writing goes through a journey, starting with mark making. I tend to not call it scribble as it is the first important step to writing. This then develops to tell a story. It may not look like it makes sense but it does to the child. Then comes the identifiable shapes and patterns – lines, squiggles and blobs. As control improves the shapes and letters become clearer. They learn the rules that writing goes from left to right, top to bottom. They leave gaps to show where the words start and finish. More letters will be used to tell the story. They start to spell. They begin to use their phonic knowledge. The write simple sentences. They learn about punctuation. They will write stories making sense phonetically, and they will learn about using the right word. Help to encourage extending their vocabulary. Spelling correctly comes later.

Encourage your child’s Writing

writing for children

  • Make a postcard.
  • Let them make a shopping list, or write a recipe.
  • Give them lots of stationery – fun notepads, stickers, post-it notes, fun pencils and rubbers.
  • Let them copy words.
  • Encourage them to make Thank You cards/letters.
  • Let them use technology – you can get games where they can write with a stylus.
  • Get a whiteboard or chalk board – where they can wipe off what they have written.
  • Play family games that involve writing – like the Silly sentence game (where you write part of the sentence, fold it over, and pass it on for the next person to add their bit)
  • Start a scrap book and they can write underneath what the pictures are.
  • Let them draw a picture for the words you tell them.
  • Write yourself – be a good role model.
  • Remember that writing does not have to be with pencils/pens – you can use all manner of things to help them achieve the correct letter formation – sand, shaving foam paint, etc.

Dino Supersaurus Build and Play

A great way to encourage reading and writing is through play and interests. We were delighted to review Dino Supersaurus Build and Play from Parragon. The kit comes with 3D dinosaur that you have to push out and build yourself. This was a bit fiddly but good for following visual instructions and fine motor development. You can then play with the dinosaurs as you read through the activity book.

writing for children

There were great activities that help pencil control – including drawing skycrappers, colouring in dinosaurs, observation skills, pattern matching, mazes and other great puzzles. My 7 year old really loved the activities (although he did spot a mistake!), whilst my Sensory Seeker loved to join in playing with the dinosaurs and listening to his brother read to him.

writing for children

PenPals at Home Range

Different children progress at different levels. We were sent a couple of wipe clean books from Cambridge University Press to help our Sensory Seeker with his writing at home. The first thing I noticed (and liked) was that they did not have an age on them. I think this is important for my son’s self-esteem as he has not met the National Curriculum levels he should have been the end of his reception year. He CAN read, and understand numbers (up to 10) though so would say they were for “babies” if they had a number younger than his age.

Getting Ready for Handwriting

This book was just brilliant for what I have talked about above. It helped to encourage the marks and then patterns needed to help form words. He found this relatively easy and confidence boosting. It was good that it did not need a massive degree of accuracy, could be wiped if not done correctly and the whole book is colourful and fun. There is also plenty of advice and ideas for parents too – such as looking for the patterns in everyday life and activities to make the pattern formation fun. There’s advice on letters and how the patterns help too. There is also an app.

writing for children

Forming Letters

The forming letters book is quite a bit harder. I (stupidly) started with this book. Again there is plenty of advice for grown-ups, such as how to write the letters (where to start etc), and again there’s an app. There’s a gradual build up, first with the children writing the letter(s) in the air, then tracing the letter and saying the sound. As children progress at different stages it was at the point where you write it by yourself that my Sensory Seeker struggled with. The book gradually increases with complexity, again being colourful and fun. My Sensory Seeker isn’t quite ready for this and so we are going back to the other book.

writing for children

For another review of the PenPals at Home from Cambridge University Press then visit ClearlyBex

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

Here are some great ideas that all help in the writing process from last week’s Kids Co-op – do you have any more ideas please?

5 Letter Learning Activities with Mega Bloks – Mom Inspired Life

writing mega bloks

Halloween Do-a-Dot Printables - Gift of Curiosity

Styrofoam Fine Motor Activity - Triple T Mum

Vowel Farm - There’s Just one Mommy

writing - teaching vowels

How to Encourage Writing with Young Children - My Big Fat Happy Life

Letter of the week Letter B - One Beautiful Home

writing letter b

 

I received the books mentioned in the post for free for purposes of review. All words and opinions are my own.

reading

Reading

This week in Literacy class we covered reading. Did you know that 130,000 children in the UK every year leaving primary school not reading as well as they should? We learnt about letters and sounds. It was explained that our school teaches reading by using phonetics. That it is really important that we make the right sounds when talking to our children and helping them to sound out words. We covered blending, digraphs (2 letters together that make a single sound, these can be at the beginning, middle or end of a word), trigraphs (the same but with 3 letters), split diagraphs (known to most adults as the magic E). We also covered the Year 1 Phonics screening test and tricky high frequency words.

Activities to help aid reading

Making the link between letter sounds and shapes – by point them out when you see them in the environment. Our Sensory Seeker recognises the letter M for McDonalds – but then thinks that the M in Morrisons is also McDonalds! We are currently explaining to him that they are different colours. If your child struggles to blend sounds then say the sounds yourself slowly. Flashcards are good for teaching tricky high frequency words. I show him on one page and say what the word says and show my Sensory Seeker the same word on another page so that he can see (visually) that they are the same – and ask him what it says. Reading, reading and more reading. Let your child pick their favourite books – they are easier to engage if they are interested. Teach them to write – then they will learn the letters shapes – and if you say them at the same time they will learn the sounds. It is important to let them talk about the book – and don’t worry if they guess the words. We did an exercise where we “guessed” what some of the missing words would be. This showed us how we rely on grammatically rules, the story etc to fill in the blanks.

Letter Game

All the children picked a letter and then they had to think of a food beginning with that letter. For each food the children got that was unique (no other child had it) they gained 2 points, and 1 point if another child had it. Our Sensory Seeker struggle with this a bit. I think a good idea for him would be to have pictures of food so that he could match the picture with the letter.

reading

Bookmarks

Then the children made their own bookmarks. This was really good for fine motor skills, as well as to help encourage a love of reading. I was really proud of our Sensory Seeker’s bookmark – I only made the holes (with a hole punch) for him – and he did the rest.

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

Thank you to everyone who linked up to the Kids Co-op last week. I am always on the look out for ideas that can help further develop my Sensory Seeker’s Literacy skills. Here are my favourites from last week:

speaking and listening skills

Speaking and Listening

This week in Literacy class we covered speaking and listening. We thought about all the situations during the school day that the child would need their speaking and listening skills. From the first time knowing where to put things and where to go, deciding and communicating what they want for dinner, taking the register, following rules, sharing/getting along with peers, asking to go to the toilet, in all lessons (reading/maths/PE, etc) – to pretty much all of the day. We then thought about all the things required for good speaking and listening skills.

speaking and listening skills

Good Speaking and Listening Skills

  • Speak clearly, at a pace that the other person can understand.
  • Use the right tone of voice.
  • Make sure that you have good eye contact – this will also ensure that non-verbal communication cues can be picked up.
  • Use NVC – most language is read through our body/facial actions (this is why it is harder for children on the Autistic Spectrum to communicate).
  • Respect the speaker – give them nods/smiles/say yes (at appropriate times) to show that you are listening. Do not interrupt. Do not have inappropriate responses (laugh when it is serious). Do not fidget or fiddle.
  • Ask relevant questions.
  • Ask for clarification/repetition of anything you did not understand or could not hear properly (do not do this too many times!)
  • Have patience and think before you speak.
  • Give the listener time to process the information – those on the spectrum may take longer to digest the information.

Developing Speaking and Listening Skills

The best way to help my Sensory Seeker to develop his speaking and listening skills is to just simply spending time with him – talking. We did two activities – the first was for him to draw a picture without me seeing it, then we had to talk to each other about it and for me to draw it (without seeing it). We sort of did this but he struggled with not showing it me, as he didn’t really understand that concept. Then we made a junk model together. He did a great job of discussing with me what he wanted to do, materials used. He absolutely loved what we created together and used lots of language to tell others about it. My boys really do seem to like “show and tell” sessions at school too. I think if they are passionate about something (especially if they are on the Spectrum) they find it easier to talk about.

speaking and listening

I am really enjoying this course together, and I was delighted when he told  me it was Monday (the day we do it). His face really lights up when he sees me come to collect him for it, and it has shown me how much I underestimate what he can do. We have homework too – finding the letters of his name in the newspaper, finding the score of his name in Scrabble, a punctuation hunt, a visit to the library – and lots lots more suggestions.


Suzie's dressing Up Day

Suzie’s Dressing Up Day

This is a review of the book Suzie’s Dressing Up Day by Charlotte Oslon and illustrated by Nicola Moore.

I love this series of books in the Suzie and Sammy titles. They are just great for my Sensory Seeker because they are very visual and help with every day life. The books are designed to help children cope with these situations by helping them become more familiar with them, in a fun and visual way.

Suzie's dressing Up Day

I like how there’s just a few sentences on each page. This means that there’s not too much to process at once. The words are not just all plainly written – some arch on the page, wiggly, bold, italics – to make them more fun. Or to indicate a different way to emphasis them. There’s plenty of opportunities to discuss things with My Sensory Seeker throughout the book. It gives him chance to think, images to give him cues – and when he was able to answer the questions I am sure this helped boost his self-esteem.

Suzie Dressing up

I think it is great to show children what fun dressing up can be – it’s actually one of my Sensory Seeker’s favourite activities. It is great for his imagination and helps develop his social skills with the use of role play. Beautifully illustrated with examples of how the child can use things when dressing up.

To Buy this book or any of the others in the series visit the Suzie Books website, where you can purchase a PDF or order a hard copy.

I received a free pfd in order to review it. All words and opinions are my own.

University with a Disability

University with a Disability

When my son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at aged 10 I never in a million years thought that I would be having to help him think about University. But he has come on so far in that time it really has been amazing. I shall not embarrass him by listing all the things he couldn’t do – I am sure if you are reading this you may already know yourself. But what now? Will he really be able to cope at University? Will he eaten enough, clean himself enough, not get into trouble with other people? Are these not the thoughts of any teenager about to fly the nest – is he really any different anymore?

University with a Disability

The following information are things that I have gathered about disability in relation to my son with Asperger’s syndrome; there may be relevant information and links for other disabilities but obviously there is more to think about and this post may only be a starting point.

Going to University with Special Needs – UCAS

The first hurdle we are struggling with is UCAS. My husband and I did not go through UCAS when going to University it is our first time dealing with them. Of course communication is the first big issue here. I really am not sure whether our son is not being told the right information or not at all. He is not doing General Studies (timetable clash) and according to him there does not appear to be any way they are making up the fact that he is missing what they are being taught about UCAS forms. UCAS is the Universities and Colleges admissions services – basically he will need to fill out one of their forms saying which Universities he wants to go to. The deadline for UCAS is January 15th 2015 – my son just thinks I am being a pushy organised parent.

UCAS can be done online, and saved and tracked. There’s a 10 digit personal ID number – and this can be shared with people who help fill out the form. Some of the form can also be shared with the student finance company. Tuition fees loan can be borrowed regardless of family income/situation. 5 choices can be made. It costs £12 to apply for one course and £23 for two or more.

This will include a Personal Statement – that is talking about himself, selling himself telling the places why they should pick him to go on their course over anyone else. It has to be a minimum of 1,000 characters This in itself is proving difficult as it is hard to get him to do anything to put on the statement, and also because things are so black and white he does not understand the whole, because I can do x then y. For example, when applying for a job as a lifeguard he put that he could swim a length under water and knew how to deal with children. To him these were the qualities he had to be a lifeguard. They said this wasn’t enough. We then talked about how he was studying science and was therefore good at observing hazards – he did not see how that was related to being a lifeguard because the hazards were not the same.

Universities must make reasonable adjustments to account for the disability. Disclosing the disability can show evidence of character and achievement (see why you should disclose that you have a disability). This may be something like learning the ability to manage money, or that the disabled person has learnt to cook their own meals. This shows determination and using skills to sort things out.

Deciding on a University

The amount paid back each month for a Student Loan will be the same whether the tuition fees are 6,000 as they are 9,000 (a year). Institutions that charge more than 6,000 in tuition fees have to put in place measures to help students from poorer backgrounds. Waivers and Bursaries – if there’s an option then it is better to have the Bursary as it is more likely to be higher and meet the costs of the basic needs. UCAS has a guide on helping disabled students find the right course for them.

Students with Asperger’s are likely more difficulties socially and with life skills. These may include understanding and processing language, sensory issues, diet/fussy eaters, working in groups, struggle with changes to routines, independent study, taking things literally, understanding jokes, and so on. So it is pleasing to hear that several Universities are offering summer schools to help those with Asperger’s adapt (including Birmingham, Bath, Cambridge and Aberystwyth.

Open Days

It is best to attend the Institutions before putting them down on the form. Have a look on their websites for when they are holding their open days. Some will require you to book them in advanced, others you just turn up on the day.

The Course:Selecting the place of study will depend on what you want to study. Check out the league tables to see which are the highest rated, and what others are saying about it. Think about whether future employers will be influenced by the institution choice. Depending on the course some careers are determined by health and have rules called ‘fitness to practice’ set by professional bodies to ensure people can do the job – this does not mean disabled people are automatically ruled out though. Does the course require an admission test to be sat? The disability officer (see below) can help with this. Tutors can provide advice on the course options -what mix of lectures, number of assignments, seminars there are.

The Requirements: Make sure you have enough UCAS points to secure a place, and see what typically they accept. Just because there isn’t enough UCAS points does not mean that a place cannot be obtained. If the offers received are not taken or none are given then students can go through Extra. From February 24th courses with vacancies can be applied for, and the personal statement can be amended. Then if no offers in June then they can go through clearing.

The Location: Is the place near to home. Therefore, all the support of living at home is still available. If moving away think about the accommodation and any additional difficulties that may need extra help.

The Support: Each University will have a student support or Disability Officer. Speak with them to determine what additional help can be provided. They will be able to advise you on whether they could provide support/help/advice to meet needs. This might be just someone to meet with once a week to talk about academic/care/financial needs – so have a think about what it is that needs additional support. If contact is made before the open day then it gives the disability officer a chance to find other disabled students wanting to do the same course, and/or those already on the course to be able to meet up with. I think this also will give an indication as to what level of support the disability officer is likely to provide. This may give an insight into other difficulties that may be incurred that had not been thought of. Social services can also be involved to help with personal care needs.

Financial help for Disabled Students

All students are able to apply for loans for tuition and living costs. On top of this there is the Disabled Students Allowance –  The support depends on individual needs and not income. It’s paid on top of other student financial income and does not have to be repaid. This can be up to a maximum of £27, 678 for the academic year 2015-2016 (most students get less). They do not cover disabled costs that would be incurred if not attending the course, or that any student may have. Things covered would include specialist equipment, non-medical helpers, extra helpers, and costs related to the course/disability. Cuts have been proposed for 2015 that DSA will be only be given for specific learning difficulties if their needs are considered complex. It will no longer pay for standard computers for disabled students or note-takers and learning mentors.

The University will also have a hardship fund – for those experiencing financial hardship – one of the examples is if the student is disabled.

Other Sources of help for Disabled Students

Skill 

Disabled students helpline

This is, of course, lots more to consider such as insurance, helping them become independent (cooking/budget, etc), accommodation etc. If anyone has any support information on going to University then I would really appreciate it – disability or non-disability related. And if you or your child are thinking about it then the very best of luck to them.

This is NOT a sponsored post.

Literacy Development Ideas

Literacy Development Ideas

Behind in Literacy

My little boy is behind his peers academically in every area apart from technology. He has what is known as a Global Developmental Delay – or at least that’s what I think he has. I guess he’s one of the SWANS – that is kids without an actual diagnosis. They decided what he didn’t have and that was it. I guess he is currently being supported and that is the main thing. But his school don’t just support children like mine – they support all children. So currently they are running a course on helping the Year 1s with their Literacy. The tutor told us that most people think about Reading, but Literacy covers speaking and listening, as well as reading and writing. Some of the session is work with just the parents, and then we bring the children in.

Literacy development

First she read some of the story of “Max and Lara’s Amazing Travelling Space Circus.” Then we had to discuss with the children about what they thought about the two main characters Max and Lara. We had a sheet with ideas of what to ask them (hair colour, favourite food, etc). I was really surprised (and proud) of how well my son did at the task so it was nice to try a fresh approach. I loved how all the fun things we have done about the Gruffalo had obviously made a difference as he talked of Gruffalo crumble and scrambled snake. It really brought home to me that all I need to do to help my son with his Literacy is just to keep having fun with him with it. Then he was able to draw his characters – and I talked about what he had said about them (eg remember you said she had big ear lobes).

Literacy Development Ideas

Fun Literacy Ideas from The Kids Co-op

There were lots of fantastic Literacy ideas on The Kids Co-op last week so thank you for your inspiration:

 Sign Language Alphabet - Home Schooling with ADHD

Roll and say Fall ABC Game - Fantastic Fun and Learning

Alphabet Matching Activity – Sand in my toes

ABC Letters - LalyMom

Preschool Writing Activity - Letters to Family – Mom Inspired Life

Books for kids not ready for Harry Potter - What do we do all day?

Creative Alphabet Activities - Gift of Curiosity

Free ABC handwriting practice pages - Embark on the Journey

B is for Butterfly - A Little Pinch of Perfect

Spelling Activities - B-Inspired Mama

Sight Word Stackers - JDaniel4’s Mum

Alphabet Glass Gems - Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes

October books for 2 and 3 year olds - Planet Smarty Pants

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

Sensory Fall Activities

Sensory Fall Activities #KidsCoop

With the changing seasons I was keen to find some activities for my Sensory Seeker that would meet his needs. I looked to the Kids Co-op for Sensory Fall (Autumn) Activities that would also help him develop in other areas (fine motor, imaginative play, etc) – whilst meeting his need for Sensory gratification – (touch  different textures; sight – a ray of colours; smell – a variety of smells). That this would also lead the way into making it easier for him to understand this new season. I shall be continuing to look out for more ideas but these are my favourite linked up so far:

Sensory Fall Activities

Sensory Fall (Autumn) Activities from The Kids Co-op

Autumn Sensory Bin - Adventure in a Box

Sensory Fall Autumn Activities

Apple Scented Playdough – Danya Banya

Sensory Fall Autumn Activities

Rolling pin leaf painting – Fantastic Fun and Learning

Sensory Fall Autumn Activities

Pumpkin Cloud Dough – 123 Homeschool for Me

Sensory Fall Autumn Activities
If you do have any Seasonal Sensory projects please link them up I would love to see them.

The Weekly Kids Co-Op