As if the last few weeks of the school year aren't busy enough with sports days, end of term shows and assemblies, prize givings and fetes, for journalists and editors they are even more crazy. It's 'Christmas in July' season and we are all frantically rushing round the preview shows put on by stores and companies to introduce us the their Christmas collections so we can review and write about them. It's a busy time of year but it's great fun too - especially for a big kid like me. I'm having a fantastic time looking round the shows looking for ideas and products that would be especially good for our children. What do you buy a young boy with Asperger's Syndrome, who has a higher than average intelligence but needs instant stimulation and repetitive play and needs his toys to be simple enough to operate to prevent frustration escalating into a meltdown? What about children with sensory disabilities? What is there out there for children who want age appropriate toys but struggle to use their hands or for those who spend lots of time in hospital and need activities that will keep them going for hours but can be done in bed? These are the kind of things I'm looking for.
Last week, I went to the Mothercare and Early Learning Centre show. There are some fantastic things in both stores. I was really impressed with some toys that would be fantastic for children who enjoy sensory play - I'll be coming back to them.
All of my children have loved playing with the Early Learning Centre HappyLand. It's a fantastic range with lots of interactive buttons to press on the buildings and people and cars to take through the HappyLand world the child creates for them. There are lots of sets at various prices so children can build their collections up. I can vouch for how hardy it is, our set lasted through all three of the children and each added to their older sibling's collection.
William has poor fine motor control in his hands. He still struggles to write and things like lego have always frustrated him because he can't control how hard he grasps and presses so the things he is carefully trying to build get broken. He has outgrown HappyLand now but he spent hours with it as everything is so easy. It's all designed for the little hands of toddlers so the people are easy to grasp and to put in and out of cars and buildings. William played with it regularly until he was around five. Our set is now at my parents' house and he still plays with it when we are there - in fact his big sisters join in with him too but don't tell anyone!
Happyland Sunflower Schoolchildren set. This competition is an easy one. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post or on our facebook page and, on Friday, we'll pick a winner at random. Good Luck!