Fabulous Find Friday: TFH Special Needs Toys

Today’s Fabulous Find Friday is TFH Special Needs Toys which is a great resource if you are looking for sensory toys for your children or patients. TFH Special Needs Toys has a wide variety of sensory toys that support children’s development through play. Some children struggle with sensory issues and other children need extra support when learning life skills, TFH Special Needs Toys provides the support that those children need. Their products range from sensory walls and bubble tubes to smaller items like fidget cubes and feelings cards.

Check out their full range of products at specialneedstoys.com.

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My Favorite Distraction….Theme Songs!

As some of you might have noticed, I always include a show’s theme song in my Crash Course posts. This is because one of my favorite distraction tools is the theme songs of children’s TV shows. There’s a couple reasons for this: 1) I always have my voice 2) All kids know their favorite show’s theme song and 3) Singing distracts and calms all ages.

1) They are always with me because I can sing whenever and wherever 

Sometimes I’m called into a room suddenly and I don’t have time to grab distraction toys. Other times we’re halfway through a procedure and the patient is distractible, but they have a short attention span so I need to keep switching up what I’m doing. And finally there are times when I’m using my distractions toys but they aren’t working. Although I’m not going to be joining any choirs or competing on American Idol, I can sing the Paw Patrol theme song well enough to keep a kid’s attention.

2) It’s something familiar for the kids because they all know the theme song of their favorite shows

The advantage to having a variety of distraction toys is that we often have something the patients haven’t seen before. Unique toys that the child isn’t familiar with or doesn’t have at home can be the best distraction because it keeps the child’s attention. But that doesn’t work for all patients and sometimes the new environment is stressful enough and the child wants things that they are familiar with, like a comfort person or favorite stuffed animal. The theme song of their favorite show can be a familiar thing that also engages them.

3) Singing distracts and calms all ages

The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages that media usage be minimal for young children. Because of this, I prefer to use toys to engage my toddlers in play during their procedures instead of playing a favorite show on the iPad. Because many young children do watch TV at home, singing the theme song can be a way to tie in their favorite show without using the iPad.

Check out all our Crash Courses to meet the characters of popular children’s shows and learn their theme songs! My personal favorite songs are Paw Patrol and Daniel Tiger’s theme songs! Comment below and let me know your favorite theme songs!

Crash Course: Masha and the Bear

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Today’s Crash Course is Masha and the Bear, a Russian children’s show that released a couple years ago in English on Netflix. Masha is a fun but mischievous girl who often gets into trouble. Lucky for her, she makes friends with a bear who works to help keep Masha out of trouble. While there are a variety of smaller supporting characters, the two main stars of the show are Masha and the Bear.

Related imageMasha is a 6 y.o playful and sometimes naughty child whose favorite pastime is playing with Bear. In her playtime, she often creates problems for Bear.

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Bear is a retired circus bear that lives in the forest. Due to his experience in the circus, Bear is very good at the performing arts like juggling and riding a unicycle. Bear is Masha’s best friend and also a kind of father figure for her.

Learn more on Masha and the Bear’s Wikipedia Page or check out Netflix to watch the show.

Crying to Cope

It’s okay to cry! We hear this discussed when talking about expressing feelings and coping and it applies to the hospital setting. There are many ways to cope with a stressful situation and sometimes crying is a child’s coping mechanism.

As Child Life Specialists, our role is to support a patient’s coping. Through play and relaxation techniques, we attempt to engage the patient and distract them during a stressful situation. But sometimes the patient isn’t distractible. Sometimes no amount of education will calm the patient or help them take their mind off what’s happening. When the patient reaches this point, we can still support them.

One of the most powerful things we as Child Life Specialists can do is hold a patient’s hand and let them know that it’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be scared. When a child is feeling overwhelmed, crying can be their form of communication. It can be their way to telling others that they’re scared, stressed and feeling overwhelmed. I was helping a preschooler with an x-ray the other day who chose screaming to cope. She allowed staff to position her for the chest x-ray and held still, but chose to let off short piercing screams to communicate with staff. Yes her screams hurt my ears, but she held still and got through her x-ray.

While crying is okay, what’s not okay is for patients to pull away or fight the medical staff who are trying to help them. When my patients are tearful before procedures, I like to remind them that it’s okay to cry if they want to. But if they pull their arm away during the IV or they fight the positioning for their x-ray, it will take longer and be more painful. It’s important with children to set clear rules and expectations. Crying is okay, fighting with the staff is not okay.

 

Crash Course: Super Why!

Today’s Crash Course is Super Why! I love this PBS show because of it’s focus on reading and books. Set in Storybrook Village, the characters find the answers to their problems in books and through stories and invite watchers to learn to read along with them.

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Whyatt Beanstalk, or Super Why, has the power to read. As the leader of the group, he focuses on vocabulary and carries a Why Writer. Related imagePig’s super reader form is Alpha Pig and uses his Alphabet Toolbox to help the group learn the alphabet. Related imageLittle Red Riding Hood uses her Wonder Words Basket to help readers and the group learn using her word power. Red’s word power focuses on word families and rhyming.Related imagePrincess Pea brings the power of spelling to the team. Using her Magic Spelling Wand, Princess Pea has spelling power.

woofster.jpgWoofster is a Golden Retriever puppy that has the power of the dictionary when he turns into his super reader form. Using the power of speech, Woofster helps the team find the meaning to any word.

Visit the Super Why! Wikipedia Page to learn more about the reading superheros. And check out full length episodes on PBS Kids Super Why page

Fabulous Find Friday: Child’s Play

We all know how popular video games are and many of us have probably also read the research that too much video games can have negative affects on a child’s development. But for hospitalized children, video games can also provide many benefits. Besides the entertainment aspect for those children who can’t leave the hospital, these interactive games can also help patients cope with stressful situations and invasive procedures.

Child’s Play is an organization that provides video games and toys for hospitalized children and also domestic violence shelters. Through working with the hospital to create Amazon wishlists and also utilizing cash donations, Child’s Play creates play opportunities for hospitalized children throughout the world.

Visit http://childsplaycharity.org/ to learn more about this wonderful organization.

Also check out Child’s Play Therapeutic Video Game guide which offers video games suggestions based on related therapeutic goals.

 

 

Crash Course: Blaze and the Monster Machines

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Crash Courses are zooming back to Three Peas with Blaze and the Monster MachinesBlaze and the Monster Machines is a Nick Jr. show that focuses on teaching children more about the STEM field through the adventures of the living monster trucks.

Image result for blaze and the monster machinesBlaze is the fiery read monster truck and the star of the show. Blaze is a good hearted, brave and loyal racer whose catchphrase is “Let’s Blaze!” Image result for blaze and the monster machines ajAJ is Blaze’s driver and friend. AJ is a science and technology expert whose racing outfit has built in technology including Visor View in his helmet that helps him see things no one else can see, skywriting gloves that allow AJ to draw in the air and also has a wristwatch that he can use to call others. Image result for blaze and the monster machines gabbyGabby is a friend of AJ and Blaze. Gabby is a mechanic who fixes up the trucks when they get damaged and also drives her own Monster Machine, Watts. Image result for blaze and the monster machines stripesStripes looks like a tiger and has the abilities of a tiger, such as a heightened sense of smell and spike claws in his tires. Related imageStarla is a cowgirl monster truck who is a roping expert that runs her own farm outside the city. Starla is distinguishable by her strong Southern accent. Related imageDarrington is a fearless but sometimes clumsy truck that loves to do tricks and stunts. His catchphrase is “Daringtooooon!”Image result for blaze and the monster machines zegZeg is the green truck who is half triceratops and half monster truck and lives in a prehistoric cave. Zeg is known for his short vocabulary.

Related imageWatts is the magenta Monster truck that is powered by electricity. With Watts’ Electric Charge, she can also give electricity to anything that needs it. Image result for blaze and the monster machines crusherCrusher is Blaze and AJ’s rival in the show and cheats in most episodes to get his way and to win. Although Crusher does cheat in most episodes, he isn’t a a bad guy or evil and sometimes helps Blaze and the other trucks on a variety of missions and tasks. Related imagePickle is Crusher’s sidekick who likes to look at the glass half full. Pickle has a high pitch voice and a goofy personality.

Visit Blaze and the Monster Machines’ Wikipedia Page to learn more about the show and check out Nick Jr’s website to watch full episodes of Blaze and the Monster Machines!

Fabulous Find Friday: “Character Flashlights”

Today’s Fabulous Find is one of my favorite distraction tools, “character flashlights.” When I first found these at Toys R Us (days before they closed), I got them to try out and ended up loving them. I wasn’t exactly sure what to call them so I’ve said character flashlights for lack of a better word, but when I was googling them for this post I found out that they are called Projector Lights.

I work in radiology, so it’s important to keep my patients still. This means that while distractions need to keep their attention, they can’t be so engaging that the child wiggles around. What I love about these lights is that they keep the child’s attention and can help with positioning. By pointing the light in a particular direction, these lights have also helped keep a child’s head still without the need to hold them down. For those of you that work in radiology, these lights also show up really well under the fluoro camera. 🙂

Imperial Toy, Corp. Trolls Projector Light Novelty

I’d love to hear what your favorite distraction tool is? Comment below and let me know!

Crash Course: Thomas the Tank Engine

Today’s Crash Course is another one of the shows that I grew up with and is still popular today, Thomas the Tank Engine! Thomas recently moved to Nick Jr and full episodes are available online and through the Nick Jr app. I loved to watch Thomas as a kid, but I never really learned the train’s names. So check out their “headshots” below to get to know the trains better.

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Thomas the Tank Engine

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Edward the Blue Engine

VI

Henry the Green Engine

IV

Gordon the Big Engine

V

James the Red Engine

III

Percy the Small Engine

V

Toby the Tram Engine

II

Emily the Sterling Engine

 

 

Check out Thomas’ Wiki Page to learn more.

Crash Course: Shimmer and Shine

Today’s Crash Course is on Shimmer and Shine, two genie sisters living in Zahramay Falls.

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Shimmer is a sweet, lovable and energetic genie who is all about having lots of fun!

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Tala is Shimmer’s pet monkey that is a playful goofball. He often climbs up Shimmer and even sits on her shoulders and head sometimes. As a monkey, she’ll climb as high as she needs to so she can get the shiny object.

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Shine is Shimmer’s sister and “partner in crime.” Shine is courageous, confident and filled with words of wisdom. She is also known for always being hungry and granting snack themed wishes.

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Nahal is Shine’s tiger cub is ready to pounce on whatever catches her eye. She is feisty and silly most of the time, but also a little bit of a scaredy-cat who is startled by sudden movements.

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Leah is a sensitive human who loves having genies as her friends. She is patient and takes the time to think things through.

Parisa is Leah’s pet fox. Although Leah isn’t a magical being, Parisa is a magical pet who can camouflage herself and also talk.

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Zac is a human who is Leah’s friend and neighbor. Although he is a little quirky and goofy, Zac has a kind heart and a habit of telling funny stories.

Princess Samira is the most powerful genie in Zahramay Falls. As the most powerful genie, she is a mentor to Shimmer and Shine. As a believer in the power of friendship, Princess Samira is always available when the girls need her help.

Roya is Princess Samira’s pet peacock who walks around with elegance and would rather show off her feathers than play with the other pets.

Sorceress

Zeta the Sorcerer is Princess Samira’s rival and wants to be the most powerful person in Zahramay Falls. Zeta is a sorceress not a genie and she is quick to correct anyone who says otherwise. Although Zeta tries to be evil, her plans are easily thwarted by Shimmer and Shine.

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Nazboo is Zeta’s pet dragon. He is a little clumsy and goofy which often leads to Zeta’s evil plans failing.

 

Visit Shimmer and Shine’s Wiki Page to learn more about the genies and their group of friends.