Rainbow sensory gifts | My guest blog post

Our life has been filled with sensory exploration for around 7 years.

When I first expected that Harri had sensory processing disorder and autism, he was around 14 months old. He had no interest in baby toys unless they flashed, and hated anything that made noise, we found it increasingly difficult (and still do 8 years on) to find him anything that kept his interest longer than a few seconds, or that didn’t cause him sensory overload.

We started off with very basic light up toys, little flashing balls, changeable light bulbs, flashing bath toys etc.

Bath time used to be a really hard time for us, he absolutely hated water, hated having his hair washed or brushed, hated having his teeth brushed. And what many people don’t realise is that there are so many sensory toys and equipment that can help make these things easier.

Simple things like adding flashing lights to the bath or tap, toothbrushes and toothpaste that are made specifically for children with SPD and you can buy little sand timers which really helped as a visual aid, coral sponges are lovely and soft once wet and ideal for children that don’t like to be touched or get too wet. But not only that, one of the best ways to conquer a fear of water is to introduce it into play, same with sand, grass and dirt.

We had some amazing services involved when Harri was little, portage being the main one. Who taught us all the wonders of sensory play and the benefits for not only children with special needs but children in general of all ages, and when Harri was 3 we made him the most amazing sensory room complete with a bubble tube and fiberoptic lights, that were mainly supplied by a charity called Caudwell fund.

This was his own space, where if he was having a meltdown or a particularly bad day, he could go to relax amongst the lights and his little flashing toys and it would calm him.

During the time when he was a baby, there wasn’t much available like what Katie produces. No one did sensory packs, and the ones that were available from bigger sensory companies weren’t affordable, so we had to make do with things we could find or make ourselves, I would have been so grateful to have had a company like Rainbow Sensory Gifts, where I would know the things were safe and carefully thought out. I would have benefited from having Katie in general to bounce ideas back and forth and I’m so thankful that I have somewhere I can grab all these wonderful toys at such affordable prices to help Fraser learn and develop his skills.

Fine motor and hand eye coordination skills will always be big milestones for us because Harri didn’t learn to wave, point, clap until he was around 3, we’re still working on his pincer grasp and he’s now 8 years old.

Fraser with the help of Katie’s deluxe sensory bag, is already trying to do the open and closed wave at 6 months old, he can move objects between hands, pick some smaller objects up like her wooden rainbow blocks, spikey flashing balls and ribbon wands.

He’s been learning how to problem solve by hiding items underneath his scarfs and finding them, and pulling the scarfs through an Oball.

One of the big things for us is that Fraser has a flat head at the back, he had stiffness in one side of his neck and absolutely hated tummy time, this is why we originally bought the deluxe sensory bag, to encourage tummy time but also to use things like the flashing ball, mirror, visual cards and bells to get him to move his head from side to side.

This all helped immensely and whilst his head is still flat because he can’t sit unaided, he spends the majority of the day now on his tummy, rolling around the room trying to reach his sensory toys. And he can now move his head from side to side with no issue.

I also think when we have access to sensory toys like Katie produces, it encourages us to play more and educate ourselves more about learning through play and it’s benefits, which is so so important. You don’t have to spend an absolute fortune like I was led to believe, I spent hundreds of pounds all those years ago, and the equipment from caudwell, whilst absolutely amazing, was worth a lot of money and I could have never ever afforded to have bought it myself.

We’re lucky now that we have people like Katie, and resources more readily available. Instagram and Pinterest didn’t exist then. My ideas were my own and it was so stressful not really knowing what I was doing. Which is why Katie’s little information booklet which gives you ideas on how to use the items in the bags, is so amazing.

I’m not sure about anyone else but I find babies really hard work to entertain and not only that, it also meant that after we had played, he was quite happy to lie on the floor with a few bits from the sensory bag whilst I pottered on around the house or just had 5 minutes to myself and I never had to try and think of games to play or activities to do with the toys because I had them right in that booklet.

Fraser has been using Katie’s sensory toys since he was around 5 weeks old, and he will continue to use them into toddlerhood.

I really look forward to seeing what rainbow sensory gifts has in store for the future and will continue to support her every step of the way because without a company like hers I’d still be struggling to find what I need at amazing value, to help Fraser learn and

develop all these awesome skills.

Links for Katie’s Website and Instagram below

https://instagram.com/rainbowsensorygifts?igshid=61yt85lboaba

https://www.rainbowsensorygifts.co.uk

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Vatos Inflatable sensory tummy time mat | Review | Gifted

We were lucky enough to be gifted the most amazing sensory water mat from vatso toys for Fraser.

He’s 6 months old and hard to entertain at times, and not sitting unaided as of yet. So this is absolutely perfect for tummy time!

The bright colours engaged him immediately, he loves chasing the foam shapes with his hands and making the water splash inside. It’s great for developing hand eye coordination and fine motor skills, and will be great for any baby to develop strength in their upper body.

Fraser absolutely hated tummy time and this would have been a godsend.

We had a really hard time getting him to lie on his front for more than a couple of seconds and he actually developed flat head which has now started to rectify itself through doing sensory play.

Ideal for those none messy sensory play sessions, easy to transport around the house or to the garden and great to take with you on your travels!

We’re always looking for things that are easy to pack as we travel up north to visit family quite a bit.

This is so easy to prepare, you just fill the middle (we used luke warm water) and then inflate the edge, then you’re ready to go!

Suitable for 3 months upwards and a total bargain.

This is a great addition to any sensory collection or a great starting point. I’d honestly recommend this to anyone with small children.

We are so thankful to review this for you, Fraser is having a whale of a time (see what I did there)

Links for Instagram and amazon below

https://instagram.com/vatosuk?igshid=y0g0aboe88ps

https://instagram.com/vatostoys?igshid=k3n2o7cu8suh

https://www.amazon.co.uk/VATOS-Inflatable-Toddlers-Development-Activity/dp/B07PYQR4F2/ref=mp_s_a_1_fkmrnull_2_sspa?keywords=vatos+baby+water+mat&qid=1558524512&s=gateway&sprefix=vatos+&sr=8-2-fkmrnull-spons&psc=1

I cut my hair off for charity! 

  


Thought I would give you all a quick update on my hair! 

Basically if you have been following me for a while you will know that I dyed my hair black to blonde. Then purple and eventually grey. 

I tried everything to keep my hair grey but even the hairdressers couldn’t get it to last longer than a week. 

My hair was left in really bad condition, and along with my hair falling out due to stress my dermatitis on my scalp was pretty bad. 

So I decided to dye it back to black. Although this slightly helped with the condition. I felt my hair still looked and felt dreadful. 

As most of you know my little boy is autistic. So I decided to cut my hair off and raise money for the National Autistic Society. They have been such a great source of information since the diagnoses process started and I wanted to be able to give something back. 

So I went from this :  


 


To this :  


 


The hairdresser did get a bit scissor happy. And it was slightly shorter than I wanted which makes it difficult to style the original way I wanted too. However I really love it, I actually prefer wearing it in the pixie style. 

Now when my hair grows back eventually it will be in great condition! 

I managed to raise over £450 thanks to my very generous and wonderful friends. 

So just another shoutout to those of you who did donate. Thankyou so much for making this transition so much easier by donating what you could. It is massively appreciated and I love you all. 

Thanks for reading! 

Xoxo 

Toy review Tuesday! 

  



Fisherprice Disney Little People  



 



I absolutely adore this range and so do the kids. 

We started collecting them last Christmas.

We started with the Disney castle, Ariel carriage and Cinderella carriage.  
   

Then for Penelope’s birthday added in the Cinderella dance floor and the Tangled tower.  

 


As with all Fisherprice toys, they are sturdy, thick plastic. Colourful and fun, pretty much indestructible which is a big thing to look for In this house! But because they are Disney related the kids seem to show a lot more interest. 

And even though these were purchased for Penelope, Harri really enjoys them too. And it’s not often that he’s bothered with toys at all, unless they are sensory related, it’s also go them kind of playing together side by side. Which is a huge step for Harri. 

   
  


What I find great about this range, is that there is so much too choose from. Meaning that I can purchase bits to add to her collection every birthday/Xmas etc. 

We have already got her a few bits for Xmas, including the Aurora and the fairies package, Clip clop horse track and the Aladdin/jasmine magic carpet. 

   
 
Yes obviously, some of the toys are quite large. So storage can sometimes be an issue. Penelope’s room is super tiny, but currently we are managing well. I can’t say I will be saying the same come Christmas time!  

  

If you are struggling for ideas on Christmas presents, I absolutely recommend anything from this range. There is a massive amount to choose from (try Ebay for some of the rarer bits) and any small child that loves Disney will love these! 

Thanks for reading lovelies! 

Sam 

XXXX 

Sensory Sunday!

  

So this week instead of reviewing a sensory toy/product. I decided to share with you the wonderful and cheap world of DIY Sensory bottles! 

We’ve been collecting the cheap miniature pop bottles from the Asda own kids range. Which are a perfect size for this! 

You can fill them with absolutely anything. The water ones are great as they make the objects float. 

You can also make noise ones without water! This is one of the water ones I made for Penelope. Its just water filled to the top and then we put some of the craft Pom Poms in. She played with it for ages! 


 
I can’t take credit for this idea, it came from the fantastic world of Pinterest. Here’s a few we are going to make over the coming months.  
 
  
If you wanted some better bottles/containers I’m sure anything will do that is light and has a screw cap. I seen these ones on Pinterest and think they are fab but have yet to find containers like these.  
 
Here’s a quick list of things we have used, feel free to pop your own ideas in the comments! You can pretty much use anything. 

  • Beads
  • Ribbons 
  • Sand 
  • Water 
  • Glitter 
  • Pipe cleaners 
  • Pom Poms 
  • Googly eyes 
  • Food colouring 
  • Foam shapes 
  • Foam letters 
  • Foam numbers 
  • Rice 
  • Pasta 
  • Glitter glue 
  • Glow in the dark paint/glitter/shapes 
  • Buttons 
  • Dice
  • Water beads 
  • Fake flowers 

Hope you have enjoyed this blog. These are so easy and cheap to make. My kids both love them (Aged 4 and 2). Harri has sensory processing disorder alongside His diagnoses of Autism. So he absolutely loves anything like this. 

They are also great for baby sensory play! 

Thanks for reading! 

XXXX 

Sensory Sunday! 

Wooden Sensory Blocks 

I’m a little bit obsessed with looking for really funky sensory toys for the kids. Amongst making some of our own and buying things other people have recommended, I search the net trying to find the next best thing. 
What is slightly irritating is the price ranges. Sensory toys are most certainly not cheap, but sometimes you can find some really great things that are totally worth the money.  

Harri attends a nursery specifically for children with Autism. So as you can imagine they have some of the most amazing sensory toys/areas and so we often find ourselves purchasing bits and bobs we have seen him interested in within school. He’s not into toys really so when we don’t find something he seems to enjoy we generally buy them. 

On a parents morning we noticed these on one of the tables and I thought they looked great. Not just for Harri but Penelope too. 

They were £40.80 inclusive of VAT, plus postage. And I know that might seem a tad expensive but the kids really do love them. 

You get 16 natural hardwood blocks with liquid, beads, glitter and sand centres all with different colours. They are great for sensory stimulus. You can shake, stack, build and hold them up to the light. And are ideal for shape recognition and simple block building tasks. 

Harri does play with them when he’s not fixated on his cars/books etc. But Penelope absolutely loves them and can play with them for a good hour before moving onto something else. 

They are available from the following website 

http://www.sensoryplus.co.uk/products/wooden-toys/sensory-blocks-set-of-16/SE826

Thanks so much for reading, I will be trying to make Sensory Sunday blogs every week, hopefully adding some DIY bits along the way. 

Xxx 

     

Toy review Tuesday: Sensory space station

   

  

 Alongside Harri’s Autism, he also has sensory processing disorder which is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses. 

There are so many toys on the market designed specifically for sensory issues. Some very expensive and some not. You can find a wide range of small sensory toys on eBay and several disability websites online. Fiddle toys, flashing lights/light up toys seem to be among the favourites. 

We have a small range of different lights to create effects on the ceiling of Harris room when dark. Not only does it soothe him but they also help to reduce his meltdowns/stress levels to a minimum. 

The largest bit of sensory equipment we have is the Space Kraft space station. Complete with colour changing bubble tube and fibre optic strands, and a small light box with 4 shapes and 3 rattle tubes as well as some colourful plastic fiddle tubes. It is a pricey but of equiptment, in fact it nearly made my eyes bleed when I ordered the catalog. But fortunately enough for us, when Harri got given his diagnoses we were given some information about the caudwell children fund. 

You have to fill in some basic information online (will include the link below and what section to apply for) and then they will send a further form out to you in the post. How much they may fund you depends on your expenditure and income. They either fund 100% of the sensory package or 80% and you fund the further 20% of the package. 

There are a few packages you can apply for and you will be sent this information along with your forms, please read and choose carefully. You can also ring them and tailor the package. So the package we applied for included the following: 

Space station, projector, sensory den and weighted blanket. 

However, we rang them and asked them only for the space station and projector which they were happy enough to do. Which brought the price down. We paid the 20% of the package we wanted. However, I do not recommend getting the projector. It’s not very good compared to most on the market which are actually cheaper it’s really quite poor. 

The sensory station however is absolutely AMAZING. My kids are facinated by it, and any of my friends children that have been over have enjoyed it too. It keeps them calm and helps them focus. It’s a great addition to any sensory room. We tried to make the Sensory area a special and peaceful place that has a range of equipment to help stimulate and enhance both learning and relaxation for the kids.
Not only has it helped with interaction between Harrison and Penelope but it has also benefited all the other children who have been to play, especially the younger children who learn through play as they can explore and develop their skills and senses. 

I hope this blog has been useful. Please leave any comments down below if you need anymore information about this equiptment or the funding aspect and I will try to help as much as I can. If you are not already, please follow me on Instagram : babbajazzlebeautyblog  

http://www.caudwellchildren.com 

Apply under section: http://www.caudwellchildren.com/how-we-help/apply-for-support#  for the equiptment. Please be aware that they will ask you for information regarding your child’s disability. 

You can also request a catalog from space krafts website if you want to cover the cost yourself. But they are pricey. 

http://www.spacekraft.co.uk/shops/sk/Default.aspx

Another website that we use regularly alongside eBay is : 

http://cheapdisabilityaids.co.uk