Carddies Awards

What Are Carddies?

What are Carddies?

Raquel & Esther - Creators of Carddies

Raquel & Esther, creators of Carddies, tell their story

Carddies colouring in and play sets are Card People and animals who live in a box: you can bring them to life by colouring them in, giving them names and making up their stories. Carddies are perfect for outings and travel, as well as for play time at home. The toy is self-contained, very portable and durable.

Winslow kindly asked me to explain how the Carddies came about, and why they might be suitable for you and your child.

How did Carddies come about?

Carddies are loved by hundreds of children, typically aged 3 to 10, but they started off by chance. I used to make "cardboard people" for my three girls whilst on holiday. I would draw hundreds of little figures (on request), cut them out, and they would colour them in and play with them for HOURS AND DAYS, in fact over several years! They gave the Carddies names, made up stories, songs and games, and treasured them.

Carddies Creators StandingOver time, when I saw other children's reaction to Carddies, I realised they had wider appeal... The first set I made for other children, was a Victorian family at the request of a little girl; her older brother asked me for a football set. It so happens that the boy has autism and moderate learning difficulties. Although he has poor fine motor skills, he enjoyed colouring in his Carddies and it was good for his imaginary play when he used them to play a football game.

With the involvement and hard work of my sister Esther, we made sure that the Carddies retain all the principles we care about. We wanted the Carddies to be hand drawn (by us!), top quality, Made in the UK, with strong eco credentials; packaging that was compact and sturdy, yet attractive to children so that they would keep their Carddies in a lovely little home... pencils of artist quality... Basically we wanted a toy that as parents we would be happy to buy for our own children.

What is a Carddies set?

Carddies SetEach Carddies set has:
-A theme that appeals to children (Knights, School, Football, Fairies, etc).
- 12 double-sided card figures, 12 colouring pencils, 12 plastic stands, a fold-out scene that also doubles up as a naming card.
-In the case of the Carddies Football set, a little plastic sphere so the child can play a pretend football game.

Colouring in. We made the figures double-sided to extend their colouring-in value and to make them more realistic.
Play value. The stands facilitate play (we realised that although my own children were happy to play with the little people flat, or holding them up, the stands enabled children to move them around as they would other little toy figures).
Imagination. The idea of a fold-out scene to colour in and use as a backdrop came from one of my girls, making the toy similar to a mini-theatre.

Personalising. The idea of a naming card (on the reverse of the scene) first arose from my children always wanting to give the Carddies names.

What makes Carddies special?

We have been delighted to see how the Carddies have appealed to a very wide number of children, including, for example, where attention, verbal or motor skills might be more limited, and also in the case of physical disability.

These are a few of the reactions to the Carddies:

Storytelling/Imagination.

Rebecca, who reviews toys from a disability point of view, (mainly from a child's perspective), gave Carddies a big thumbs-up, and showed how brilliant they are for play (note the wonderful names she gave the Cavepeople!): http://critiquesandtests.weebly.com/carddies---cavemen-set.html

Educational

We have often been told that Carddies are a valuable educational tool, and could even be useful in therapy:

"These Carddies sets could easily be a great resource in the early years and primary classrooms, with the different themes allowing for a diverse array of storytelling opportunities. Adding the use of simple technology, stories can be developed, supporting language and literacy skills or used as a teaching aide so teachers create their own stories."

https://ukedchat.com/magazine/

Fine Motor Skills/Creativity/Communication/Sharing.

"I love the idea behind Carddies and feel they would be brilliant for creating social stories for a child on the autism spectrum while encouraging creativity and improvements in fine motor skills... The fact Little man was sent a football theme box of Carddies made all the difference and he had fun actually designing the kits for the players. It was a great way to unleash some inner creativity that he has and he remained on task for a little longer than usual."

(A Boy With Asperger's: http://aspergersinfo.wordpress.com/?s=carddies)

If a child needs a bit of help with colouring in, or placing the figures in stands, the toy can be used with the help of an adult, or siblings/friends:

"My son sat colouring for about 15 minutes but because he has poor pencil grip he tends to tire of writing/colouring for longer periods however his 2 1/2 year old sister helped by doing some colouring too while my son kept saying thank you A you good girl!"

(Sarah's World: http://sarahandc.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/carddies-review.html )

Personal connection/collectability value.

A reviewer early on wrote this about her boy whose "attention span with this sort of toy can be quite limited":

"S has particularly enjoyed his Carddies. He coloured in the background really carefully and some of his characters, making sure that the colours matched on both the back and the front of their clothes. He talked about the different members of his family, and has named some of them on the back of the background, where there are pictures of each character and a space for their name."

This from another reviewer:

"I bought these Carddies for my 4 1/2 yr old daughter who was finding it hard to settle into school. She enjoyed colouring them in and name tagging them with the names of the children in her class, she has role played the time spent at school through her eyes with them and now knows all the names of the children in her class and is beginning to settle into school. A fantastic toy."

Relaxing and Absorbing. My friend (whose daughter has ASD) said:

"We were meeting a friend for lunch and L asked if she could take her Carddies with her. She sat yesterday and named them all and wanted to carry on... She sat the entire time in the restaurant colouring them in and placing them in the "ballet classroom". It was great in so many ways-so quick and neat to store away when the food came, such high quality pencils and colours AND she still has loads to do in terms of colouring and playing!! I will be taking them out with me on future trips!"

L wanted me to tell you "the Carddies are brilliant... I really love them. May many others love them too!!"

On that note, we really hope that you give the Carddies a go!

Carddies are available from Winslow Resources

Constructive Cutlery

Construction Cutlery for Picky Eaters

Construction Cutlery

Construction Cutlery

Unfortunately with toddlers, difficult mealtimes can be a given. How can parents possibly hope to make sure healthy options are included on the plate when some little ones won’t touch anything, let alone something green? With the Construction Cutlery from Constructive Eating, mealtime becomes a fun affair instead of a dreaded struggle when their peas turn into gravel and their pasta into building blocks. Adding a little fun to mealtimes gets kids to the table and encourages them to stay there longer, which gives parents an improved chance to fill their tummies with yummy and healthy goodness.

Construction Cutlery Set

Construction Cutlery Set

The folks at Constructive Eating know this because they’ve been there when the struggle was all too real. Parents Carter & Jackie Malcolm couldn’t get their toddler to stay at the table long enough to munch on anything before he was distracted by the draw of his construction equipment toys. The imaginary world where he was in control of building and demolishing anything his heart desired was so much better than the boring reality of eating his fruits and veggies.

He was absolutely obsessed with everything that belonged on a construction site, from cranes and bulldozers to excavators and jackhammers. The stage knew no boundaries. Anything and everything became focused on construction. Before long, their child was asking to put Cheerios on the floor to act as rubble for his bulldozer. This made them ponder...  What if breakfast, lunch and dinner could become "rubble"? What if forks, spoons and pushers were the "machines"? Carter and Jackie put on their entrepreneurial hardhats, designed the fleet of Construction Utensils, and began Constructive Eating.

Since those early days, Constructive Eating has added several award-winning products to

Construction Cutlery Plate

Construction Cutlery Plate

embrace creative play at and away from table. The focus has always been on fostering a fun AND productive mealtime for parents and kids. Especially in children with sensory and developmental disorders, a positive association with food and sitting at the dinner table can be key in overcoming feeding challenges.

What parents say about Construction Cutlery

"My 5 year old son has severe apraxia of speech and autism. We've done three years of feeding therapy, countless hours of exercises, and so much begging for him to eat. He has about ten foods he will eat, and that is it.

I ordered the entire eating set thinking it was cute and I figured, it's $35 let's just give it a shot. My son just ate yogurt. A food we've tried over and over again without success. He just ate it, by himself, no incentives.

Thank you guys so much for making Constructive Cutlery! I was worried it was a fluke or that the novelty would wear off, but it hasn't!

"He's currently eating lunch- I put yogurt and peaches on his plate today. Normally that

Construction Cutlery

Construction Cutlery

would result in him refusing to eat anything on the plate. He's actually ate his yogurt first because he loves the pushing tool so much! Seriously, this product is ingenious."

Stories like these from parents, caregivers, educators, and therapists overjoy the workers at Constructive Eating Headquarters. Knowing that a small company with an emphasis on quality products, good business practices, and top notch customer service can make such a positive impact on the lives of their customers makes every box that leaves the door with “Constructive Eating” emblazoned in yellow and orange special.

Where is Construction Cutlery Made?

All of Constructive Eating’s products are manufactured in the USA with only the best and safest FDA approved dishwasher and microwave safe materials, so parents can feel good about what they’re giving their kids. Specialty textured easy-grip rubberized handles make it even easier for little hands to lift and hold the utensils, which helps develop fine motor skills.

When parents purchase from Constructive Eating, they’re not just getting cleverly designed and cute utensils, but an entire experience of continually fostering development, fun, and healthy eating with their kids at the dinner table.

Narrative Therapy

Narrative Therapy – The River, Roads and The World of Trains

By Gali Salpeter - Creator of Narrative Therapy tools, The River, Roads and The World of Trains

Background

Gali Salpeter

Gali Salpeter

I am an Expressive Therapist with specialisation in Drama and Narrative therapy and a background in Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology.

My fields of study, work and life are closely intertwined; I have worked and volunteered as a therapist in a few countries and I feel blessed to have chosen this field of work, which enables me to connect with, support and be touched by, so many wonderful people across the world.

I live in beautiful Norway with my husband and 3 children (my most meaningful creation).

Projective cards – underlying concepts

I began to use projective cards as a psychological tool when I was working as a therapist with children having special needs. Combining the cards with art, drama and stories proved to be very useful and I realised it helped my clients raise and share the issues they were dealing with. It supplemented the verbal mode of communication in many ways.

However, with time, I felt that something was missing; putting separate cards apart from each other in order to tell stories, was in fact "losing" the idea of flow. It looked as if there was no connection or transition between the different parts of the stories that the clients were telling. I have started to search for ways to make the images illustrated on the cards "connect" so that the flow of the stories that the clients told will become visual as well.

Narrative Therapy

Joining up the cards to create a story

The metaphors of the river and roads, flow and paths, were metaphors I found enriching when speaking of processes that people are dealing with. People often speak about journeys they make, paths they choose, steps they take or a continuum of periods in their lives.

Both the metaphor of the river and the metaphor of roads enabled my clients and me as the therapist to relate to the "whole" as made of different parts. It helped clients realise that the stories they tell are built of certain chapters and to observe the processes they described as made of many stages or several sub-periods.

Thus, using the metaphors of rivers and paths matched my goals as a therapist; to help my clients tell, observe, work with, and retell their experiences in life in new ways.

The River Set

The first set I have created is "The River". Like most journeys, it begun with a personal experience. This time it was a sad one... My grandmothers died in a short period, I was a mother of young kids and as a way to cope with my grief, I wrote "The river story". It dealt with my interpretation of life and death, relationships, identity and memories, strengths and weaknesses. I often use writing as a tool to process the personal experiences I encounter in life so that story almost ended up "in the drawer" like many others...

Since I was working with projective cards I came to the idea of drawing the story in the form of cards. Derived from the story, the atmosphere I chose for the cards was one of - nature - as I have perceived it. I looked for subtle stimuli, and not too much fantasy in the images drawn.

One thing led to the other, "The river guidebook" kind of wrote itself, the ideas for ways to use cards kept on flowing from my experience and imagination, and then - after a long "pregnancy" - ״The River set״ was born. Like many wonderful things, it was born out of pain but it holds the strengths of sharing hope.

Roads Deck

״Roads״ was created several years later when I was living elsewhere. I like travelling to new experiences and I have lived in wonderful countries around our globe. My journey and the paths that I have chosen (and the ones which have chosen me) always led me to interesting places both within myself and in the cultures around me.

The metaphor of "Roads" for me means that I have a road that is mine, with the obstacles I encounter and the "gifts" I find along it, my own beginnings, the steps I take and the ends. However, it is also a road that goes in amazingly different surroundings, with interesting people I was lucky and maybe brave enough to get to know. So perhaps "Roads" for me is this journey as a whole – a journey that is one and unique and "mine", but it is also many meaningful journeys, stories, paths and periods which I have experienced with others around me.

I believe that although each of us have a unique path in life, we are changing in many ways along it. I decided that the stimuli will be clear in that deck, I wanted to use fantasy and include obvious objects. The colours and atmosphere was completely different than the ones used in ״The River ״so as the method of painting used.

In a sense I think that the sets complete one another. Hopefully having these different sets enable clients to choose the most suitable tool and image they would like to work with, in each given moment.

The World of Trains set

״The world of trains” set is being edited for print in these days. I am not objective, but I think that it is a very special set. The set is designed for therapeutic work with children in settings of individual therapy and group therapy. It contains a deck of illustrated cards, a deck of story-cards and a comprehensive guidebook for therapists. The guidebook describes in detail numerous professional suggestions for application of the cards, according to the different settings and relevant issues children cope with.

Final Thoughts

It is my hope that every person working with the sets will enjoy the opportunity of telling her/his story and the wonder of discovering its rich layers and intertwining chapters.
We all have stories waiting to be told.
Thank you for reading a chapter of mine...
Gali

Supporting The Special Olympics 2017

Sensory Bus at the Special Olympics 2017

When the opportunity arose to provide sensory support at the Special Olympics GB National Games we couldn't wait to be involved. Our friends at Sparkle Sheffield arranged for us to bring the Sensory Bus to the Athletes' Village situated at The Edge in Sheffield.

Why are Rompa Supporting the Special Olympics?

Rompa are providing a Snoezelen® sensory space for athletes who may become anxious or need to relax and manage their sensory needs. We will be supporting the Special Olympics all week until mid afternoon Friday.

Rompa sell Snoezelen® Multi-Sensory Environments and products throughout the UK. These products are often used to help people with Autism and Learning Difficulties. We thought it would be great opportunity to give something back and support the Athletes throughout the week.

As the athletes were arriving yesterday we had a lot of people take an interest in the bus, some of whom explained to us how sensory products such as the Infinity Panel and Snoezelen® Bubble Tube Sensory Corner Kit help them to relax.

Is the Sensory Bus Available For My Event?

The Special Olympics is an amazing event to be a part of and a great launch pad for the sensory bus! If you are organising an event and are interested in Rompa bringing the sensory bus please get in touch!  Call us on 01246 211 777 or email: sales@rompa.com and we will give you a call to find out more!

Emergency Services Event

Children Enjoying the Sensory Bus

Our friends at Sparkle Sheffield invited us along to their Emergency Services Event at the Lifewise Centre  on Sunday and we had a brilliant time!

What was the Emergency Services Event?

For people with autism, the emergency services can be scary and resemble bad experiences. This could lead to them not approaching  police officers or fireman for help which could lead to dangerous situations . The Emergency Services event was organised by Sparkle to build bridges between the emergency services and people who have autism. We're pleased to say it was a massive success! The children were dressing up as police officers, being shown around a police car and fire engine (and trying out the sirens!), exploring the fantastic set of the Lifewise centre and of course enjoying the sensory bus!

Who are Sparkle Sheffield?

Started by parents of autistic children, Sparkle Sheffield exists to help families with autistic children meet the challenges they face, feel less isolated, less frightened and more empowered. Autism affects families in different ways but only the parent of an autistic child can truly understand what life is like for us.

Find out More on their website: http://www.sparklesheffield.co.uk

 

The Talkabout Series by Alex Kelly

Alex Kelly Talkabout Books

Alex Kelly

Alex Kelly talks to us about her Talkabout series of books and games for nurturing self estem, social skills and forming friendships.

Can you give us a brief overview of Talkabout?

Talkabout is a complete programme that develops self esteem, social skills and friendship skills. It is based on teaching children in group settings either in school or college but can be adapted to be used on a 1:1 basis or at home. It uses a hierarchical method of developing skills where basic or foundation skills are taught before more complicated skills.

How did Talkabout come about?

The original Talkabout book came about because I was working in a FE college with a large number of young adults with intellectual disabilities and after a year of social skills interventions, and with pre and post assessments on all the students, I noticed a pattern in who was responding well to the social skills groups and who wasn’t.

It all centred around the hierarchy of self awareness coming before non-verbal skills and non-verbal coming before verbal and assertiveness coming last. I decided to put together a programme of intervention for this college based on this hierarchy and thought the name TALKABOUT was quite good!

3 years later and lots of testing and piloting, I decided it was worth publishing. Later on I noticed the link with self esteem and friendship skills so these were added to the hierarchy about 5 years later. After that I realised that what people really want are resources that are right for a specific client group, so we started with writing a Talkabout book aimed at secondary mainstream children and then wrote the Primary series Talkabout for Children because you need very different approaches to different types of children and adults.

What makes your books stand out?

They are the only social skills books that I know of that work through a hierarchy from self-awareness and self-esteem to assertiveness (and now sex and relationships). They are a total package and include all the games and worksheets to work on these skills. they also have term plans which make them very easy to use in schools as they are a scheme of work designed around academic years (I am married to an ex-teacher! So I know what teachers need to make it easy to embed into school life).

Alex Kelly Talkabout Books

The Talkabout  Series

Which features do you think will be most useful to users?

As a busy therapist or teacher, I think the fact that each book is written with them in mind so the sessions are planned, the games are ready to make up and the books are therefore pretty easy to use.

What is the one message you want reader to take away with them?

The Talkabout books have developed over 20 years to be resources that work and that children enjoy. Please don’t dip in and use activities randomly. All of my research and experience has shown me that a hierarchical approach to teaching skills is the most effective. So if necessary start at the beginning and work through for as long as you need to. In this way we are setting children up to succeed not fail.

What are the benefits of using your book in schools and private practice?

Teachers like the Talkabout books because they can work as schemes of work for a whole academic year and the planning has all been done for them. similarly in private practice the fact that it is all planned out, is obviously attractive as it cuts down on planning time.

Are there any factors or adjustments needed for Talkabout to be introduced into a school or private setting?

You  just need a group of people who need work at the same level or who will work well together.

How do you think your books help address SLCN?

Many children with SLCN also struggle with their social skills and with making friends and they can also struggle with their self esteem. So even though my books are not specifically aimed at improving Speech and Language, they are often appropriate resources for children with SLCN.

What are your future plans?

We are writing the second volume of the sex and relationships book this year. We are also doing some research into the effectiveness of Talkabout within schools Finally I am busy writing my theory book on social skills which will cover all the theory behind this subject!

Sensory Van

The Rompa Sensory Bus

We recently did our first out door show and decided that we needed a new way of showcasing our product range. To enable us to bring a Rompa Sensory Room to you, we have created the Rompa Sensory Bus!

The bus contains all the typical components of a normal Rompa sensory room but this one is installed in a large vehicle that we can take to shows and events up and down the country. The sensory bus has:

  • Rainbow bumpers
  • A tactile wall
  • A sensory room projector
  • A waterless bubble tube
  • An aroma panel
  • An interactive floor
  • An infinity and beyond panel
  • A colour changing panel
  • Fibre Optics

We think this will prove a great way to bring the concept of Snoezelen sensory environments to a wider audience and demonstrate the immersive quality of a Rompa sensory room.

Write a Product Review and Get a Voucher

When you leave a review of a product on our website, be it positive or negative, we will send you a voucher for 10% off your next order.

Simply visit the page of the product you want to review and scroll down to the description section.

1. Select the "Reviews" tab
2. Click "Write a Review"
3. Write a review in the box provided

Write a Review

Review your purchase

Guest Blog – Emily from PAN reviews more products!

Emily Brailsford

 

Hi its me again.  I've had the chance to play with some more products from Rompa and Winslow.

 

The first couple of products were the 'Soothersack' and the 'huggabuddies cat'. I loved the cat and so did my son.  Not only does is it quite heavy so it provides pressure, the soft fur is also a nice sensory experience.

 

The Soothersack is your standard pillow which you warm in the microwave and then can place on certain parts of your body to relieve aches and pains or across a child's knees again to help ground them. Essential oils can be added to the pillow to help with relaxation. The 'huggabuddies' cat was a lot better for me as I sat with it snuggled on my shoulder with the heat going where I wanted it too whereas the pillow, as I'm sure many of you know, loses its filling to either end of the pillow so there was no heat on the top of my shoulder where I wanted it.

These two pieces of kit are nice to help your child but also nice to have around for when you might (if miracles occur) get 10 minutes relaxation to yourself!

3stars

I would give them both 3 stars.

Tangle Therapy

Tangle Therapy

Another product which I looked at was the 'Tangle Therapy' toy. Again, a product which I'm sure many of you will have come across.  I particularly liked this version as it was a bit larger than others I have seen.  It is not recommended for children under 3 as the pieces can be separated and potentially swallowed, but with older children I have found they enjoy taking the tangle toys to pieces as it provides a nice clicking noise!  Some of the sections also had a clear rubber coating with small raised bobbles.  I did wonder if these would get picked off over time though.

4 Stars

 

 

On the whole I felt this deserved 4 stars

5 Reasons You Should Buy a Snoezelen® Sensory Corner Kit

Bubble Tube Corners

Since their launch last year our Sensory Corner Kits  have been extremely popular. If you are interested in trying sensory here are 5 reasons why should try our Sensory Corner Kits!

#1 It's everything you need to start your Snoezelen® Multi-Sensory Environment…

Designed with the customer in mind, the Sensory Corner Kits bring together the most popular sensory products to provide you with a perfect introduction to Snoezelen®. It's also suitable for any age or ability as the colours are neutral.

We even have 2 options to work with different budgets and preference.

The Original Snoezelen® Bubble Tube Sensory Corner Kit or the Snoezelen® Deluxe Bubble Tube Sensory Corner Kit

#2 In the bedroom, the spare room, the classroom, anywhere you can find a corner…

The space saving design uses a corner of any room meaning that you can provide the effects Snoezelen® Multi-Sensory Environment in a relatively small space. Perfect for bedrooms, spare spaces, classrooms and more.

#3 Easy to order with a massive £500 saving…

We wanted to make it easy to start a Snoezelen® Multi-Sensory environment. There are so many options available to you that in the past it could have felt like too much effort. We’ve selected the most popular components of sensory rooms put them under 1 easy to order product code and on top of that made it £500 more economical.

Check them out now: The Original Snoezelen® Bubble Tube Sensory Corner Kit or the Snoezelen® Deluxe Bubble Tube Sensory Corner Kit

#4 Easy to install without the need of professional help…

Providing you with products that take very little skill to set up makes it easier and less expensive for you to get up and running with little fuss.

#5 Rompa® quality that you can trust...

Rompa® have been providing Snoezelen® Multi-Sensory products for over 30 years. We've been established this long because our products have been built to last. Whilst there are seemingly similar options available on the market take a look at the reviews from our customers why you should choose Rompa®:

5 stars

Amazing

This product is amazing! Although it may be on the high side for price but it's well worth it! Very strong and beautifully made! If you want all of this equipment it's worth buying this sensory corner for a great affect.

Jade H - Verified buyer

5 stars

Excellent Product!

I bought this bubble tube for my son's bedroom. The bubble tube is stunning, very bright lights and plenty of bubbles. Installation was quick and easy.

Kirsty R - Verified Buyer (reviewing the 2m Bubble Tube).

Interested in finding out more about Snoezelen® Multi-Sensory Environments? Take a look at: https://www.rompa.com/interactive-sensory-room or contact us now to find out more