So this week... I was researching things to entertain and engage my four year olds brain, something stimulating. As I will be homeschooling her, and she LOVES learning - I dug around for something to fit - that would also equal a quick pack away in case our seven year old came over to "play". Miss seven has autism and is awaiting an ADHD diagnosis this coming week. Her attention span is SHORT. Her ability to sequence is poor, and doing tasks by herself is almost a no-go as it equals a lot of things out, hardly played with and a big MESS.
I looked over a few things and found something which looked really do-able for us... Something with lots of tasks to keep interest and stimulation but also easy enough to pack up and store "in case", these are called Task Boxes.
As per the website www.merakilane.com describes the task boxes as: "Simply put, a task box is a container – or box – that contains all of the materials needed to teach a child a certain task or skill. Since individuals with autism tend to be visual learners who thrive on routine and order, task boxes offer an effective strategy to teach and build upon important life skills. By providing a schedule of tasks for each activity, and listing them in the order that they ned to be completed, task boxes for autism provide a structured way for children to learn independently. Tasks boxes can be as simple or complex as needed, making them an excellent learning tool for all stages of development."
So, after a few online shopping blunders - I finally managed to track down 20 of the same plastic container at the right size because I can not stand mismatched containers and lids and I began finding cheap second hand and free education resources locally.
This was coming together. I got all my containers and all the education resources packed into their individual boxes and stacked on a cube shelf. I also hunted down a little table and chairs for our newly labelled "Learning Station".
It has been up for a few days now, my four year old LOVES it... and so does my seven year old. These where designed with kids with autism in mind, and it shows. Miss seven so far has been super excited about her younger sisters learning station and most importantly, she has been respectful of all the items in it!
I am very proud of this little Learning Station, and I am pleased its working so well. On the other side of the room that the learning station is in, is a set up mainly for my son to work on coordination and balance. He's two and a half with cerebral palsy effecting his lower limbs, ankles, balance, foot and leg posture etc.
It's full of soft blocks, two mini trampolines - one with and one without a handle and a half balance ball. ps. Don't mind the mess on the floor! (In this house you tidy one thing while $80 worth of product gets tipped out, things get thrown over the neighbours fence and the area you just cleans get trashed! 3 messy areas for the price of one clean is not a good pay-off)
Miss four has hacked into these making the whole area one gigantic obstacle course workout for her and her siblings. She is such a good leader.
To read more about task boxes: https://www.merakilane.com/hands-learning-special-needs-kids-30-task-boxes-autism/
While researching as I so often do - apparently for a multitude of different items.... I came across Sam the Lamb a nightlight sheep made by Zazu. (We named ours Zazu because I didn't fully read the title, only the important bits!)
Let me just post a little video here to demonstrate how awesome it is. Don't mind my totally unprofessional video >.<
So Zazu is currently green here, with his eyes open - demonstrating to the kids its day time, play time!
I set the bedtime to 7:30pm and at 7:30pm Zazu went red and closed his eyes. Demonstrating to the kids it's time for sleep. I love this feature - most night lights are blue and blue light actually disrupts melatonin (the sleepy hormone!), where as red light enables melatonin to be produced!
In the morning, 30 mins before wake up time, the light changes to yellow on the clock face - signalling to the kids that its ok to play quietly in their bedroom, but Zazu's eyes remain closed. I LOVE this because it clearly demonstrates its okay to be awake but some people may still be sleeping.
My kids are upset tonight as the red light turned off too quickly. I thought I put it on for 120 mins but I must have been in the wrong setting.
So excited to try this and see if it works well. The concept is SPOT on for what I love - the right pictures and the RIGHT language. Here its just the right visuals (opening and closing of eyes), and the RIGHT colours for human hormones!
Definitely a wait and see, but it looks very promising.
Zazu was brought off of amazon here: https://www.amazon.com.au/ZAZU-Lamb-Sleep-Trainer-ZA-SAM-01/dp/B00U898D2A
He is also available online with a simple google search, so shop around.
If you are like me and need physical instructions... I spent about 5 minutes working this out it's THE QR code!!! (Am I seriously THAT old? hahaha!) but there is also a link. Go to the link and download the instructions and TURN it but keep your hands on its body or head and away from the screen or you'll end up making it bahhhh for 10 minutes while because you set the alarm to go off while trying to put the battery case on. It does also come with a cord, so thats always an option. I like having both as an option.
I am not affiliated with these companies above, I receive nothing for rambling about their ideas or products. I simply share the post above because I LOVE a great idea and have a need to share it with other parents who also are needing GREAT ideas also.