Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

When planning a party for Halloween why not consider having a Scooby-Doo theme. Not only can you incorporate all scary monsters, ghosts and ghouls into it, but you can also feel protected by Velma and the gang. We were invited to a fantastic Scooby-Doo party as part of an exclusive screening of the all NEW original Scooby-Doo movie, Franken Creepy. Here I picked up some tips to share with you for hosting your own Scooby-Doo Halloween party.

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

Halloween Scooby-Doo Costumes

Halloween costumes are a must at a Halloween party, and that goes without saying, but my youngest son absolutely loved that he did not need to be a ghost but could instead be one of his favourite cartoon characters Scooby-Doo himself. The costume also went over his head which is really good for his sensory processing disorder.

Halloween Scooby-Doo face paint

If you have a child who does not like dressing-up then maybe they could settle with some Halloween face paint. There are plenty of ghosts, ghouls, spiders, bats, monsters in Scooby-Doo so there is plenty to pick from. Or it could add to the costume. Face-painting whilst at the party gives the children something else to do too.

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

I liked the idea of using a stencil to add Halloween designs to hands (or you could do it on their cheek). I think this is a great idea for children who are not keen on even having Halloween face paint on because they are tactile resistant.

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

Halloween Scooby-Doo Scenery

My Sensory Seeker absolutely loved all the visual stimulation at the Scooby-Doo party – simple to do really as it was just coloured paper, cobwebs, spiders, tomb stones, bats etc. All different kinds of pumpkins too – I loved the one made of Lego.

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

Halloween Scooby-Doo Balloons

There were plenty of Halloween balloons – with ghosts, skeletons, etc and these added not only decoration but gave him something to again appeal to his sensory tactile nature. There was also a Balloon Modeller there – once again providing a good source of entertainment for the children.

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

Scooby-Doo Snack – Biscuit Decoration

I loved the Scooby-Doo shaped biscuits* set up ready for the children to decorate. This also was good for my Sensory Seeker’s hand development as he had to squeeze the icing out onto the biscuit. It also utilised hand-eye co-ordination and creativity.

scooby_snack_biscuits

Of course he was also able to eat it!

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

Scooby_Doo Halloween Party food

There were some great ideas of how to turn everyday food into a Halloween theme. One of my particular favourites was by decorating a pot and filling it with fruit.

scooby-doo halloween party

I think the children’s favourites were the numerous sweets around!

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

Scooby-Doo Halloween Movie

Then we all went into the theatre to watch Scooby-Doo: Franken Creepy. Scooby-Doo and those “meddling kids” Shaggy, Fred, Daphne and Velma are back! With reference to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, we learn the reason why Velma is so intent on getting to the bottom of spooky mysteries. After the Mystery Machine blows up (as a warning) the gang end up going to Transylvania, Pennsylvania for Velma to claim a cursed castle she has inherited from her great-great uncle Dr. Von Dinkenstein: This mystery is personal!

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

It was great to see the original crew but now with a modern twist. There was lots of signs of the modern age such as laptops and referencing to social media. It held its same great charm it always did, and my boys were truly captivated as the mystery unravelled. I liked the educational references (such as Frankenstein was the doctor not the monster) and was really impressed with the sound and graphics.

Halloween Scooby-Doo Party Bucket

The boys then got to take home a bucket full of Scooby-Doo goodies and sweets and other treats. A great way to end the party and keep the fun going.

 

*Biscuits courtesy of Biscuiteers: Biscuit Boutique & Icing Cafe

We were invited to an exclusive screening of the Scooby-Doo movie Franken Creepy. My Sensory Seeker was provided with a Scooby-Doo costume and we cannot say thank you enough. All food and entertainment was provided free of charge and the boys took home a Scooby-Doo goodie bucket. All words and opinions are my own.

aspergers bullying

Bullying & Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Bullying is a problem for too many children, but a child on the Autistic Spectrum may be more at risk than their peers. They are also less likely to be able to make it stop, as they struggle with social communication. They might not even be able to tell those close to them. The National Autistic Society have written a guide on bullying for parents. In this post I talk about bullying and Asperger’s syndrome, as experienced by my son.anti-bullying week

Victims of Bullying generally are either:  Passive Targets – those with low self-esteem, shy, academic, on their own, smaller, weaker OR Pro-Active Targets – those with inappropriate behaviour, socially clumsy, perceived as irritating, attention-seeking and not knowing when to stop. Children on the autistic spectrum are more likely to be a target for bullies because they may be seen as different because they cannot always relate to the situation they are in – or communicate what is going on. Children with Asperger’s Syndrome are often perceived as being low in  social status & friendship – having few friends to defend them. They are naive, gullible,  & eccentric. They are neither cool, macho or popular and are perceived as ‘soft’

I remember my oldest son crying upset that he did not want to go to school when he was only 7 years old. Now granted, he was at a new school, where he had to make new friends and the rest of the children had known each other a long time – but we’d moved a lot and he was used to this. He loved  enjoyed school and has always worked hard, so it came as a bit of a shock. This actually was one of the first big moves to discovering that he has Asperger’s Syndrome.

aspergers bullyingThings can be very black and white.

I remember my son being confused as to why he was in trouble when one of the boys told him it was “a good idea” to bend another boy’s fingers back.

Those on the Autistic Spectrum are unable to distinguish between who are bullies and who are friends. They are unable to differentiate between friendly sparring and physical attacks.

Our son often kept complaining to the teacher that he had been hit so many times that they stopped taking him seriously – they said he complained as if he had been punched when someone so much as accidentally brushed passed him. Fortunately, the school was very supportive. I went in and explained the situation and they put things in place to help him. They made break times (when he was less supervised) more structured by introducing chess club. He also had a dinner lady buddy – that if he had ANY problems (even the seemingly most trivial) he could go and speak to them. They encouraged circle time sessions where children would focus on each other’s strengths.

I hear of so many children who end up being Home educated because of bullying. Do you have a story to share about bullying and ASD? I would especially like to hear any success stories.

Images maybe subject to copyright, used for illustration purposes only.

Vestibular Sensory Seeker - Movement and balance

Movement: Do you have a Sensory Seeker in the Vestibular Sense?

The Sensory Seeker: Vestibular – (Movement & Balance)

Vestibular Sensory Seeker - Movement and balanceOne of the areas of Sensory Processing Disorder is trouble with the Vestibular sense (that is movement to you and me). My Sensory Seeker is one of the ones who just cannot get enough movement (it also linked to balance but we will talk in terms of movement to keep it simple). One of the things people comment is does he have ADHD – because he is always on the go. Even when playing computer games he is constantly jumping (and I mean for ages), or if he has managed to sit down he is tapping his foot on the floor. He spins around on the spot or tips himself upside-down (usually a headstand on my sofa). He has always been an excessive risk taker – with no fear of heights and climbing really high even when he was really young.

How can you tell that you have a Sensory Seeker in the Vestibular Sense (Movement/Balance):

  • Rock while standing or sitting
  • Constantly fidgeting/tapping
  • Always on the go!
  • Jump & bounce a lot
  • Can’t sit still in the car/ on the mat
  • Rocking/ movement seems to be the only way to calm them (babies)
  • Seek out intense movement activities e.g. moving toys, merry-go-rounds, adult spinning, see-saws, hanging upside down
  • Take excessive risks with moving or climbing
  • Become overly excitable during movement activities
  • Runs rather than walks
  • Is fast but not always well-coordinated

Meeting the needs of The Sensory Seeker for Movement/Balance:

Basically provide as many opportunities for movement as possible. Big movements, not precise as your Sensory Seeker may struggle with this. Encourage movement throughout the day, star jumps, skipping, hopping,  dancing (musical statutes is good for the balance part), sing songs with actions etc – something that does not take long and can easily be fitted in wherever you are and whatever you are doing. Try to encourage back & forth movement rather than circular though, as it is more calming. Give them chores which require them to move around (setting the table, vacuuming, setting the table)

Outdoor Activities to encourage Movement/Balance:

outdoor movement opportunities for the sensory seekerOutdoor play is a really good idea – especially if they get a good chance to run. Before school my Sensory Seeker often goes on the trampoline (we have a 14ft so there’s lots of room for plenty of movement). I walk the boys to school – well I walk, my 7 year old rides his bike and my Sensory Seeker goes on his scooter. We found that a 3 wheeled scooter was much easier for him than a bike. Play games with movement – a favourite here is tag, plus we have a swing ball in the back garden. Go for walks – we like to make them more interesting for example by going at night and taking glow sticks. Give them a section of the garden to dig and tend to. Or you may want to think about getting a dog and have your Sensory Seeker take it for walks.

Days out or Activities to help the Sensory Seeker with Movement

I like to keep all my boys active anyway, so it is easy to incorporate movement into our activities.  Swimming is good for movement and our Sensory Seeker has a weekly lesson. This is not only good for meeting his movement needs but teaching him a life skill. Rock climbing is another good activity, our local center has special lessons for younger children as well as free climbing times. We love to visit theme parks and other day trips/activities that gives the Sensory Seeker plenty of opportunity for movement (spinning, being tipped upside-down, etc). Other ideas include bowling, ice-skating, canoeing. Our Sensory Seeker absolutely loved Go Ape – plenty of movement and balance.

I would love to hear about other ideas you have for encourage movement into the daily lives of children, to help my Sensory Seeker with his Vestibular sense.

This page was originally featured on Pinkoddy but has been updated for this blog.

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.