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Info Exchange Magazine Apps Alert & Sensory Surprises No. 33

22 April 2014

___________________________________________________________________ Free or Lite indicates that the app is free today. Some apps may be for Android devices, as well as for iPads. Editor: Florence Longhorn - or

Car Match It Games for Kids - Free   A really simple but interesting matching game with a range of different cars and trucks. Swipe down and see which halves of the car eventually match. When they do there are hoots and stars on the screen and the game starts over. Swipe with a finger or hand, the images are nicely large. From the same developer comes the car wash.

A Funny Cars Wash for Kids Free Now take a car to the car wash and clean up the mud and dirt. Hear and watch a child describe how to wash the cars on YouTube at:



Get even more adventurous and wash a plane! Same techniques as washing a car, but much more hard work. Watch on youTube:

Peekaboo - Find hidden fun UFO characters This is a very classy app with a jazz music background and really elaborate and interesting images. There are seven alien characters from a far away planet The player has to find them in a range of different exciting scenarios including the big city, night forest and on a country road. The aliens hide and when discovered squeak and make a little speech. The background noises are unusual and appealing. I like this app and will play it again! The peekaboo feature will be useful for students who are at this level of enjoyment yet need some extra push into generalising the hide/seek factor. Watch it being played on youTube:

Duckie Deck Collection Ignore the toddler description; this is glorious for repetitive, simple problem-solving games with a sense of humour. The sequence is the same throughout so adds confidence to the player that they will not fail. Tap a subject, a little duck quacks and appears then wait a second   and the game appears with quirky noise The light bulb one shows a darkened screen with a partially hidden light bulb and the most peculiar monster noises. Find the light and tap! A crazy space monster appears and squeaks. Then he disappears, so repeat. Find the light bulb again. Such fun and easy-peasy to follow. Watch the youTube video at:

And a quickie …

Tadpoles For tapping and tracking and taking a tadpole home … aaaaah!



INfo exchange Sensory surprises



Hide and Seek Tunnel This is a lot of playful fun - crawl or slither under an improvised tunnel! Just take:   strings of fairy lights (use battery operated ones), a set of chairs to make a short or long tunnel, see-through net or a white sheet. Now darken the room and get set for the thrill of crawling through a sparkling tunnel, on and on until the end is reached! Extend the activity by: moving quickly or very slowly, using it as a den, hang some dangly objects in the tunnel that need avoiding, anticipate with ‘1, 2, 3 and go!’, place a sheet over the end so the crawler has to problem-solve and push the sheet aside to get out. Go and join the youngster in the tunnel for some cooperative play!

Sensory Ideas from Mike Coleman Mike was a valued contributor of sensory ideas and homemade equipment to the original Information Exchange magazine. Mike published a super book on his sensory materials and ideas a while ago. He is now retired but still busy working in special places such as children’s hospices. Thanks Mike!

Dust Pan Golf! Why not use a colourful and robust dustpan for carpet or lawn putting? Novelty and toyshops sell small golf clubs and balls. The dust pans can easily be washed in soapy water or mild  disinfectant for hygiene purposes. This is excellent for practising more controlled body movements. The contrast of a coloured dustpan, with the coloured ball, encourages eye tracking for a youngster who does not see very well. You can also vary the size or weight of the ball.



For a wheelchair user, try a brush pan and brush with a long handle.  

TK Maxx have brightly coloured ones for a

reasonable price.

Biscuit Tin Magnetic Base The familiar place for magnets is the fridge. This may not always be safe or available. For a portable fun alternative why not use the metal lids of chocolate or biscuit tin lids? The magnetic novelties are easy to buy from local pound shops. If you use the base of a large deep biscuit tin then there is a good opportunity to have quick bang, bang on it, too!   Send a note home to families and beg for redundant fridge magnets, it is amazing what will turn up! If a youngster has a particular topic they like, such as trains or the famous Thomas the Tank,, then build up a collection of magnets depicting them. For students pop groups are great, New Direction springs to mind. Make your own magnet pictures too, using magnetic tape that can be cut to size, glued on a laminated photo. There are lots of apps for the iPad with magnetic letters, to generalise skills. Have a look at this one to try it out.

ABC Magnetic Board Free It has themes that can be added such as summer or night.  



Here is Hannah, who has Downs syndrome. She finds it difficult to write, but using the ABC magnetic alphabet she can pull the letters and make up a message. Lots of fun and see how she concentrates. Watch Hannah on YouTube at:

Mini Hot Water Bottles These can be bought from novelty and pound shops. They are colourful, tactile and have a strong rubbery smell. Half filled with warm water, they make pleasant feely objects. Wrap them in different textured materials or colourful pillow cases. Find a knitter to make some special covers as seen on Coco Rose Diaries website at:

Found on eBay! A furry sheep hot water bottle cover!



Sensory Lights to Delight


Three lighting effects found at: This Crystal Lamp is a rotating desktop light that projects kaleidoscope patterns onto nearby surfaces. Once activated, coloured lights shine on to the wall as shaped light piece begins to turn, causing colourful patterns to move around the space.The lamps is lightweight and portable so there are no wires. The Stunning visual effects could be used in a dark room environment, dark den or sensory den and also work in daylight. Cost: £8.00

Light-up Tambourine This is a musical instrument that encourages shaking and making colourful sounds. Lights, music and touch all add up to fun and creativity .The tambourine has a simple press button Off/On switch on the handle which activates the bright multi-coloured LED lights. There are multiple flashing mode settings. Cost: £3.59

Flashing Expanding Ball The Flashing Expanding Ball is similar to the popular children's toy ‘Expandaball’. The ball retracts when thrown and lights up when the ball is caught, or you can simply open and close it manually. The LED lights can also be activated if you bop them together, displaying a mesmerising LED flashing light sequence. Cost £13.00

See all of these at:



Massage Stories Books

MASSAGE STORIES Exploring Communication Through Touch

by Andrea Muir with Flo Longhorn

ISBN-10: 0-955900-82-4 ISBN-13: 978-0-955900-82-2

‘Massage Stories: Exploring Communication through Touch’ by Andrea Muir and available on Andrea’s book was especially written for special learners but I am so sure it would be a delight to use with mainstream children! Some of the stories have been used with older people with dementia, and have worked very well. Andrea has written the massage stories as a means of communication of ideas through touch. They are full of resources, themes and ideas that are open-ended so they can be used in a variety of situations. Andrea is a teacher in a special school in the UK, as well as the mother of two young children.



‘Once Upon a Touch: Story Massage for Children’ by Mary Atkinson and Sandra Hooper

This is an e-book that can be purchased on Kindle at It was written for mainstream children, so it is good to read that massage is seen as an important element in their curriculum, as well as for special learners. The massage is given as a story theme with a set of massage movements to use for every story. Well worth buying. The book is described here: Story massage is a fun and interactive way of introducing the benefits of nurturing touch through storytelling and simple massage strokes. The sun, for example, can be illustrated by drawing a circle on a child’s back with the flats of the hands. • •

Story massage can be enjoyed by children of all ages, abilities and backgrounds and used in different settings including home, school and the wider community. No preparation is required and the activity can be tailored to suit the needs of the individual child or group of children.

This innovative eBook includes practical and accessible instructions for story massage with specially commissioned video clips demonstrating ten basic massage strokes. These ten strokes form the basis of over 25 ‘tried and tested’ story massages written in consultation with children, teachers, parents, therapists and other health professionals. With supporting photographs and illustrations, ‘Once upon a touch story massage for children’ is an excellent resource for everyone interested in sharing the benefits of positive touch activities. “Doing story massage makes everyone happy. It feels good to do something nice for my friends.” Boy, aged 7. “Story massage sessions help the children to calm down so they can concentrate better on their work.” Teacher.



More information on story massage can be found at About the author: Sandra Hooper is a primary school teacher and an international trainer on the Massage in Schools Programme. Oops, and I forgot my own book!

‘Planning a Multisensory Massage for Very Special People’ by Flo Longhorn available from Flo Publications Limited and



Apps Alert No. 33  

Apps Alert and Sensory Surprises No. 33 from Flo Longhorn's Info Exchange online magazine for 22 April 2014

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