Monday, 7 January 2013

Chatting with Children - A review

I was really pleased to be given the opportunity to review a new activity pack- Chatting with Children helps adults support children in developing communication skills, and is aimed at 3-5 year olds.
I CAN, the children's communication charity, has followed on from Babbling Babies and Toddler Talk with this gorgeous Conran-designed pack aimed at enhancing speaking and understanding skills.

Squeaks loves the talk. In spite of this, in all of my children it is the ability I am most focused on ensuring they are up to speed with. My insecurity comes from spending my primary education being supported a speech therapist and additional classes to respond to my learning difficulties, as a result I am aware that there is a possibility that this could emerge in my children.

The activity pack contains a guide which allows the pack to be used as a six week programme, which is a great kick off to getting to grips with it. Due to the size of the cards (A5) they are great to carry around or use in the home.

The pack contains 30 fun and interactive activity cards which are themed by colour and animal:

The activity cards feature a variety of animal and that was where the fun started for us. Squeaks particularly likes the bear dressed as a pirate, and as a result is quite adept at thinking up ideas for her future (interestingly she classes 'mummy' as a job!).

So, the cards are really designed to prompt activities, they offer fun things to do with your children, with an added reassurance that they are enhancing speaking, listening and understanding skills in the process.


A really helpful aspect of the cards is as well as giving you the activity they also give options should the task be too difficult or too easy. This is really helpful in tailoring to your child, it has also given me a sense of how to tailor some of the activities for the boys, who are approaching 2, as it means I get a clear understanding of a learning path.

The great part of the cards is, mood dependent, you can choose an activity which needs as many or as few 'props' as required. This means it is as easy to use in the car, in the house, or even if you know you're going to be waiting around somewhere.
Obviously from Squeaks' perspective she loves the ones which create as much as possible, the activities including sound makers and those where she draws her images on paper. However these are equally dispersed with activities which focus exclusively on recognising vocabulary.

Babbling Babies, Toddler Talk and Chatting with Children are each available from I CAN in paperback for £7.99 or hardback for £12.99.
Additionally, Chatting with Children is also available as part of a brand new boxset: the Early Talkers Boxset (£19.99); the boxset contains the original Babbling Babies and Toddler Talk as well as the new Chatting with Children,  supporting children from birth to school age.

Whilst we lived in Yorkshire I was fortunate enough to have great support from my health visitor who understood my concerns and Squeaks had a speech therapist referral just after she turned 2. It was a great insight into what a parent should look for, and offered me a great deal of reassurance as to her development.

If you have any queries or concerns about your child's communication, please contact the I CAN Help Enquiry Service for a call or email from a speech and language therapist- visit www.ican.org.uk/help

Disclosure: I received a copy of the Chatting with Children Activity Pack for the purposes of this review. All views expressed are entirely my own.

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