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Monday, March 6, 2017

Mummy Must Have Review | The Happy Me Shop

When bub was about 14 months old we were referred for speech therapy because she had a few issues. She was considered to be behind in the number of words she said for her age at the time and she also wouldn't engage with many people other than me. They were quite worried that she had some sort of sensory processing disorder so we set about trying to improve both her language skills and getting her to engage more through various therapy activities.

A lot of the activities we did involved therapeutic play where we were deliberately trying to get her to interact and actively turn take during games or different scenarios to encourage her to engage with us. We tried various different play scenarios including sensory play, puzzles, imaginary play and lots of little fidget toys and gadgets. Over the course of 9 months of speech therapy and playing she transformed into an almost unrecognisable child, her language developed beyond her age level, she happily engaged with us and children she didn't know and she now won't stop talking {all day, everyday}.

It was during her therapy sessions, and seeing how much progress she was making, that my love of educational toys and sensory play really came to life and I took all the skills from therapy and applied them to our everyday life at home. Needless to say our house now looks somewhat like a cross between a daycare centre and a toy shop because I've filled it with so many educational toys and we're always doing learning through play activities. Even though T would argue we already have enough toys, I'm constantly adding to our collection, especially when I find awesome new products I haven't seen before. My latest little stash of new toys have come from The Happy Me Shop, which I discovered by meeting owner Rachelle in a Facebook group.

The Happy Me Shop is owned and run by Rachelle, a clinical social worker who's had her own counselling practice for over 10 years. Rachelle has experience treating many mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression and trauma, in both adolescents and young children. She also works with clients who have development issues such as autism, learning disorders and sensory processing issues. Throughout her career as a counsellor Rachelle has used many different products to help clients build new skills during therapy and it was witnessing the many benefits from using these products in her therapy sessions that inspired her to create an online store. She's passionate about sharing her knowledge to help others and wanted to give everyone access to a variety of therapist recommended products, rather than limiting their benefits to those attending therapy sessions, so The Happy Me Shop came to fruition.

The Happy Me Shop stocks a range of therapist recommended products including fidget tools, sensory play items and books for both kids and adults. Products stocked can be used to treat sensory issues, stress, anxiety, autism, to develop problem solving skills and also to naturally aid in fine and gross motor skill development through play. My favourite products for bub have of course been the sensory play items and fidget tools as we do a lot of sensory play and fine motor based activities naturally throughout our day. 

I chose a selection of different fidget and sensory items that I knew would be great for everyday play, and are also small enough to fit into the canvas busy bag we take to appointments each week. Being heavily pregnant we have to attend a different appointment almost on a weekly basis at this point in time and it's essential for me to have a few different play items on hand to keep her entertained, because as you can imagine doctor and hospital appointments aren't very interesting for toddlers. Our favourite items for the busy bag have been the 3d worm puzzle, magnetic maze and small elastic ball.

The worm puzzle and magnetic maze are both great for fine motor skills as well as increasing her concentration as she has to work through both activities until she gets to a desired outcome. They're also great for promoting independent play {which is necessary when I'm having important medical discussions}. They also both help with hand/eye co-ordination as she manoeuvres the individual puzzle pieces and magnetic wand, plus they're both fun!

The small elastic ball is a great tool for sensory input, even I can't resist twirling it around in my hands. It's great for pulling, scrunching, bouncing, throwing, catching {and especially good for chasing with our kitten when we're at home}.

Without a doubt both bub's and my favourite of all the items we've been playing with is the sensory dual drop timer. It reminds me of a lava lamp {which I was obsessed with as a teenager} but it's not hot or glass so it's great for younger kids. There's something so calming about watching the little blobs drop down through all the levels and the fact that the orange and pink blobs race against each other to the bottom makes it even more interesting. I could seriously watch it all day and bub is always going and grabbing it to watch the colours race. It's a great little product for quiet time or to help kids wind down for bed time {and it's just as good for adults, in fact I've considered stealing it for my room on numerous occasions}. You can watch a video of it in action here, it's sped up faster than it is in real life, but it's still just as mesmerising.

We've loved using all our items from The Happy Me Shop and I can't recommend fidget and sensory tools enough. They help build so many skills and promote calm and relaxation, plus they don't get boring as they're so interactive. Check out The Happy Me Shop online for more great items, we already own a lot of others that are also stocked such as playfoam, a magnetic fishing game and a jacobs ladder and they're all great for so many different play activities as well as busy bags. You can also follow The Happy Me Shop on Facebook and Instagram.

Have you ever used fidget tools or sensory items?

Toni x

Disclosure - I was gifted the toys shown above for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are based on our experience with the products. I did not receive payment for this review.

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