Thursday, October 12, 2017

How to Create a Calm Down Space for Your Kids

One thing we have worked really hard on with my son J over the past couple of years is self-regulation and coping skills. He has made great gains in this area through a variety of methods, but one thing I swear by is creating a dedicated calm down space for kids in the house.

While our basement looks like a full blown occupational therapy sensory room, J's bedroom, on the other hand, is where he goes when he needs a safe space to go to calm his body and emotions. He can crash into a bean bag chair or squeeze his stuffies for some deep pressure or draw some intersections (he loves traffic lights!) or Geometry Dash levels on some old printer paper. The kind with the dotted strips along the side that you have to rip off. Yes, that really old printer paper that's practically see-through.

I've shared my favorite resources and tips for creating a calm down space for your kids so that you can create a safe space at home for your kids too!


This post contains affiliate links.

Tips for Creating a Calm Down Space for Kids

I've talked a lot about calm down kits recently as a great tool for helping kids learn to self-regulate their emotions and bodies. I especially love that you can make a calm down kit as portable as you'd like so that you can take it on the go with you. 

However, I really prefer having a dedicated calm down space in our house for J to retreat to when he is overwhelmed and anxious

It is the first place he goes as soon as he gets home from school, which has drastically cut down on the number of after school meltdowns.

J's calm down corner is a space in his bedroom that includes a large whiteboard for doodling on, a desk filled with plenty of scrap paper and pencils, a bean bag chair, books, chewies, and, of course, his beloved Pikachu from Build-A-Bear. He also has the board game Rush Hour in his corner and finds playing some of the hard levels calms him too. Usually he just needs some quiet time to write and draw in order to self-regulate, which is why we have included so many things to draw with.


Awesome Free Printable Calm Down Resources for Kids

If you need some inspiration to help you build your own calm down corner for kids, then you'll want to check out these free printables in addition to the tips I have shared over at CBC Parents.


Tips for creating a calm down corner for your kids from And Next Comes L
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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Dragon Themed I Spy Game {Free Printable for Kids}

Dragons have always been one of the most fascinating mythical creatures to me. They're just so neat, I think. I'm hoping my kids will also be in love with dragons too. This free printable dragon themed I spy game for kids is totally adorable and should hopefully win them over to become dragon lovers.


The Benefits of I Spy Games for Kids

I Spy printables like this dragon themed one are great for providing visual sensory input to kids, making them a great choice for visual sensory seekers. They also help develop a child's visual tracking ability and improve visual discrimination. This printable requires kids to visually scan through the objects and find ones that are the same.

Playing I Spy with your kids is also a great way to improve speech, language, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. I've discussed how playing I Spy games with kids can improve comprehension in kids with autism and hyperlexia before.

These types of I Spy games also encourage math learning by asking kids to count how many of each object they find.

Download the Free Printable Dragon Themed I Spy Game

This printable includes one I Spy game sheet and one answer sheet to record the number of objects found. The answer sheet uses the written word as well as an image of the object to search for to help improve comprehension - something kids with hyperlexia struggle with.


Other Ideas You'll Love

More Free Printable I Spy Games for Kids

I Spy Bundle Packs

Free Printable Dragon Themed I Spy Game
Read More

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Super Mario World Perler Bead Projects (Part II)

Anyone who knows me well, knows that my favorite video game of all time is Super Mario World for SNES. These Super Mario World perler bead crafts were created during a time of extreme boredom and stress earlier this year (read the full story in Part I here) and I'm obsessed with them all!

Here you will find a collection of Super Mario World enemies!

Super Mario World perler bead crafts from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links.

Super Mario World Perler Bead Crafts: Enemies!

Be prepared to get your craft on because there are a lot of projects here to inspire you! There's so many designs that you can find more over in Super Mario World Perler Bead Crafts (Part I).

Here's what you'll need:

Awesome Super Mario World perler bead crafts and patterns from And Next Comes L

I have provided images of all the finished designs below so that you can use them as patterns to recreate your own at home.

Super Koopa

Super Mario World super koopa perler bead craft from And Next Comes L

Ghost Boo Buddy

Super Mario World ghost boo perler bead craft from And Next Comes L

Goomba

Super Mario World goomba perler bead craft from And Next Comes L

Wiggler Caterpillar

Super Mario World wiggler perler bead craft from And Next Comes L

Skull Platform

Super Mario World skull platform perler bead craft from And Next Comes L

Goomba/Enemy

Super Mario World enemy perler bead craft from And Next Comes L

Piranha Plant

Super Mario World piranha plant perler bead craft from And Next Comes L

Swooper Green Bat

Super Mario World swooper bat perler bead craft from And Next Comes L

Rex Dinosaur

Super Mario World rex dinosaur perler bead craft from And Next Comes L

Wait, there's more Super Mario World Perler Bead Crafts!

I couldn't squeeze 30 pictures into one blog post, so you can find a bunch of other ideas in Part I.


Super Mario World perler bead crafts from And Next Comes L
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Super Mario World Perler Bead Projects (Part I)

If you were to ask me what my favorite video game of all time is, then I would say, hands down, the best game ever is Super Mario World for SNES. Seriously, I could play most of this game with my eyes closed and even years later, still tell you where all the secret exits are.

So when we, as a family, got into making perler bead crafts, I knew that making some Super Mario World themed perler bead crafts would be at the top of my list. 

I kind of want a whole elaborate magnet wall full of them so the kids can design their own levels, similar to what they do in the Mario Maker game for WiiU. And I'm going to make that happen eventually...

Back in January, my husband was away for work for like 15 straight days (in an unsafe country too!) and, of course, huge issues cropped up with J's school. My stress level was maxed out. I started making these Super Mario World projects as a way to cope with the stress and the lonely evenings without my husband.

And I couldn't stop making them, I was so addicted...so I amassed a lot of different designs during that time!

Super Mario World perler bead crafts from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links.

Super Mario World Perler Bead Crafts: Characters & Items

Be prepared to get your craft on because there are a lot of projects here to inspire you! So many that I had to break this post into two parts.

I made a lot of these based off of images I found on Google and some I designed myself. Unfortunately, since I'm blogging about these nine months later and my kids like to close my open tabs on my iPad, I don't have the links to the original designs I followed in order to give them credit. But, alas, I did not save the links anywhere. And honestly, I made so many I kind of forget which ones I designed myself anyways.

There's so many designs that you can find more over in Super Mario World Perler Bead Crafts (Part II).

Anyway, here's what you'll need:


Awesome Super Mario World perler bead crafts and patterns from And Next Comes L

I have provided images of all the finished designs below so that you can use them as patterns to recreate your own at home.

It's a me, Mario!

Super Mario perler bead craft from And Next Comes L

Blue P Switch

Super Mario World p switch perler bead craft from And Next Comes L

Question Block

Super Mario World question block perler bead craft from And Next Comes L

Mushroom

Super Mario World mushroom perler bead craft from And Next Comes L

Green Shell

Super Mario World green shell perler bead craft from And Next Comes L

Brick

Super Mario World brick perler bead craft from And Next Comes L

Exclamation Block

Super Mario World exclamation block perler bead craft from And Next Comes L

Star

Super Mario World star perler bead craft from And Next Comes L

Coin

Super Mario World coin perler bead craft from And Next Comes L

1-Up Mushroom

Super Mario World 1 up mushroom perler bead craft from And Next Comes L

Trampoline

Super Mario World trampoline perler bead craft from And Next Comes L

Green Pipe

Super Mario World pipe perler bead craft from And Next Comes L

Super Mario World Landscape

Super Mario World landscape perler bead craft from And Next Comes L

Create a Scene!

My kids love to assemble the different pieces to create different levels and scenes, kind of like below.

Awesome Super Mario World perler bead crafts and patterns from And Next Comes L

Wait, there's more Super Mario World Perler Bead Crafts!

I couldn't squeeze 30 pictures into one blog post, so you can find a bunch of enemies in Part II.


Super Mario World perler bead crafts from And Next Comes L
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Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Free Printable Pirates Barrier Game for Speech Therapy

Arr, mateys, this free printable pirate themed barrier game for kids is a perfect way to work on a variety of speech, language, and social skills. From pirate vocabulary to prepositions to turn taking and more, the kids are going to love decorating this little island with this adorable pirate clip art.

Free printable pirate themed barrier game for speech therapy from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links.

What is a Barrier Game?

Barrier games are a way to practice speech and social skills concepts by creating and describing scenes to another player. For more information on barrier games, I highly recommend reading this article about how barrier games are great for language enrichment.

Barrier games can be used to target specific skills such as:

  • Following directions
  • Listening skills
  • Prepositions (on, under, above, beside, next to, etc.)
  • Expressive speech
  • Vocabulary
  • Turn taking
Or at least, that's what we're using these games to target with my son who has autism and hyperlexia.

How to Use the Free Printable Barrier Game

To prep this barrier game, you will need at least two players. Simply download, print two copies of both the scene and the items (one copy for each player), cut the individual items, and laminate all pieces for durability (optional).

To play this barrier game, have all players sit at a table and set up a barrier (a file folder or book works great!) so that all players cannot see each other's materials. Each player takes turns placing an object on the scene and describing to the other player where to place the objects. Each player should give specific directions on where to place the objects. The objective of the game is to have identical pictures at the end. That is, all players should have matching scenes with the items placed in the same spots for all players.

Please keep in mind that I am not a speech pathologist. I created these barrier games using ideas from our son's speech pathologist as well as from researching about barrier games, what they are, and how to use them.

Download the Free Printable Pirates Barrier Game

This free printable barrier game includes three pages, including details instructions on how to play, a landscape or scene, and game pieces.


Other Ideas You'll Love

More Free Speech Barrier Games

Barrier Games Bundle Pack

Free Printable Fairy Tale Barrier Game
Read More

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

8 Autism Myths

My son is autistic.

 - Um, I think you mean your son has autism.

No, I said he's autistic. 

 - But he doesn't look like he has autism.

Well, he is autistic.

 - How? He's too social. He can talk. And he just made eye contact with me.

Ah, I see you still have outdated notions about autism then. And clearly because your neighbor's cousin's younger sister has autism and you are now a certified expert in all things autism, you are compelled to perpetuate some of these common autism myths. Myths that continue to linger and harm the autism community. Myths that should have been ditched long ago.


You see, unfortunately, there are a lot of things about autism that one should never assume

Maybe some of these I even assumed myself before I really delved into reading about autism. However, I make an effort to read articles written by actually autistic adults during my daily reading when I'm perusing Facebook for the nine-hundredth time for the day. Their insights and experiences are important to me in order to help me understand the experiences of my own son. To help me be a better mother since, after all, I am not autistic myself and therefore, far from being a so called "autism expert."

I continually come across readings that challenge my current thinking and understanding of autism and that's a good thing. I'm always learning and trying to do my best as a mother to my son.

However, I also come across a lot of autism myths nearly every single day that, frankly, just need to be ditched. Tossed away into the garbage. Wished away with a flick of a wand. Given a good ol' avada kedavra really (Harry Potter, anyone?).

And I can almost guarantee you, if you are autistic yourself, or are a parent of an autistic child, that you have heard almost all of these myths before.


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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Circus Themed I Spy Game {Free Printable for Kids}

From monkeys to jugglers to lions jumping through hoops, this  free printable circus themed I spy game for kids is super cute! It makes a perfect boredom buster or even makes a great addition to a circus unit for preschool or kindergarten, if you're a teacher.

Free circus themed I Spy game for kids from And Next Comes L

The Benefits of I Spy Games for Kids

I Spy printables like this circus themed one are great for providing visual sensory input to kids, making them a great choice for visual sensory seekers. They also help develop a child's visual tracking ability and improve visual discrimination. This printable requires kids to visually scan through the objects and find ones that are the same.

Playing I Spy with your kids is also a great way to improve speech, language, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. I've discussed how playing I Spy games with kids can improve comprehension in kids with autism and hyperlexia before.

These types of I Spy games also encourage math learning by asking kids to count how many of each object they find.

Download the Free Printable Circus Themed I Spy Game

This printable includes one I Spy game sheet and one answer sheet to record the number of objects found. The answer sheet uses the written word as well as an image of the object to search for to help improve comprehension - something kids with hyperlexia struggle with.


Other Ideas You'll Love

More Free Printable I Spy Games for Kids

I Spy Bundle Packs

Free Printable Circus Themed Barrier Game
Read More