Frozen, Planes, and Marvel – oh my!

The Wonder Forge provided me with these games to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own.

If you’ve been hanging around this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I LOVE reviewing board games, especially when they are made by my favorite board game-makers, the Wonder Forge. I used games a lot when I was helping Sophie with her developmental delays, and thanks to this review, I’ve now started using them with Jonah to work on speech. Yeah! I was excited to see that two of the Wonder Forge’s newest games are matching games, which are perfect for his age, and that they are two of his faaavorite themes, Frozen and Marvel. Jonah looooooves Frozen (we don’t let him watch TV in general, but we went on a bit of a Frozen bender after we got it on DVD and whoops…he now pretty much has it memorized. Whoops! Mom Fail.) and he also loves the Marvel Superheroes – Spiderman, Ironman, Wolverine, and the Hulk especially.

Disney Frozen Matching Game

Marvel Matching Game

Jonah and I have been having great fun with these games (and Sophie is ga-ga over the Frozen Matching Game as well.) These are your classic, uncomplicated matching games, but the graphics are wonderful and there are 72 cards each so there are tons of different pictures. Here is how I play these with Jonah to work on speech. I take out about 20 or 24 of the cards so we’ll have 10-12 matches – that way the game will be a reasonable length of time for a lively 3-year-old. These games teach some great concepts in speech: turn taking, same, and different. So before each turn, I have Jonah say “my turn” or “mommy’s turn” and then no matter who’s turn it is, when the two cards are turned over I say, “Are they the same?” And he will answer either “yes” or “they are different”.

I need to note here that before we started playing these, Jonah already had the concept of “same” down pat. But we did use this for him to learn to articulate “not the same” or “different” and he caught on REALLY fast! I’m so pleased!

Frozen Matching Game Collage

Other ways to use matching games for therapy: have your child name the object on the cards he or she turns over. You can say: “Who is that?” or “What is that?” and encourage your child to answer. If you’re using cards that aren’t people, you can also use them to teach function. For instance, if the matching game is of common objects, and your child turns over a picture of a swing, you can say “What do we do with a swing?” and encourage/teach him to answer “We play on it.” or “We swing on it.” For the matching games like the Frozen game, you could teach gender by asking “Is Queen Elsa a boy or a girl?”, etc.! Just some suggestions! 

Jonah Frozen Matching Game

Jonah likes these games so much he will even “play” by himself sometimes! His favorite cards are “Olaf Snowman” and “Monster Snowman”. :)

The next game I reviewed from the Wonder Forge is for the slightly older set, ages 4-10, but I imagine I will be able to start playing it with Jonah within 6 months or so. In the meantime, the big kids and I really enjoyed it! It’s the Disney Planes Sky Race game.

Disney Planes Sky Race game

Like many of the Wonder Forge’s games, this is extra fun because it requires the players to be active and move about the room. I LOVE that! You set numbered markers around the room, and lay out an instruction card for each – it will tell you how you need to throw your plane – laying on your belly, between your legs, with your eyes closed, etc. It makes for some funny and silly plane racing!

sophie planes game

planes game card

Another feature I love about this game is that the game is won through part-skill and part-luck – if your plane lands closest to the marker, you get to keep that instruction card, but the cards all have differing point values, so even if you have the most cards, you might not end up with the most points – that gives the game a level of excitement because you really don’t know who the winner is until you all tally up your points at the end.

When Jonah is ready for it, this game is going to be awesome for working on following multi-step directions. In the meantime the big kids and I will keep enjoying it!

Do your kids need some new games for spring or Easter, or just because? I highly recommend all three of these! Thanks as always to my friends at the Wonder Forge for allowing me to share them with you!

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Such a Turn-Off


I’ve always been a kind of “everything in moderation” Mom, so what I am about to say may shock you.

A couple of months ago, I stopped letting Jonah watch TV. Like, at all. For awhile previously I had him down to one show a day, and used that mostly as a reward for potty training. But soon I realized even that was too much. Even though he was only allowed to watch one a day, he obsessed over that one show, and he talked about it all day long. He has a really good memory, and he’d memorize parts of shows and walk around reciting those parts instead of talking and interacting with me and our family.

For a language-delayed kid, this is just not healthy.

So, we pulled the plug. We knew it would be hard, and it was, at first. But it wasn’t hard for very long. I was surprised at how soon he just stopped asking to watch. I was also surprised at how soon we saw an improvement in his language. Very, very soon we were able to see that we’d made the right decision. After a couple weeks, Jonah stopped talking about his shows and started talking about the world around him. Instead of re-living scenes from a Leap Frog adventure, he reminisces about our special “Mommy-Jonah” speech time we have together every day, or about what happened at school. And he observes and comments more on what’s happening around him as it’s happening.

It’s been kind of a bummer for the big kids never to be able to watch TV or play Wii upstairs in our living room, so we created a play area for them in the basement where they can do those things (on designated days). When Jonah’s older and past his delays, we’ll all be able to do those activities together again one day, and I hope then we can keep it moderated.

Because now, honestly? It’s really nice. Sure there are some days when I have a TON of work to do and I WISH I could just plop Jonah down in front of Netflix and buckle down, but the truth is, and I have SEEN this with my own eyes, that even doing that once in awhile is not ok for Jonah. Whatever work I have to do, or think I have to do, what’s best for him is vitally more important. And so I work around the inconvenience of not having a digital babysitter. I make it work. I stay up later, work in small spurts instead of one nice big chunk if I have to, and I hustle hustle hustle when he is at school. I make it work. We make it work as a family.

Bobby was more hesitant at first, he said to me, “I feel like we are taking away everything he likes.” (Because some other things that had a screen, even electronic kids books on kindle or an app, were also a problem). And he was right. But even he agrees that we immediately saw results – and now Jonah has NEW favorite things that are better for him.

I certainly don’t think screens are evil – like I said, my big kids still use them. But I don’t think they are good for kids with language delays, and I DO think they are probably used too much among kids under 5 today.

I wanted to share this with you because this is working for us. It was a hard decision to make, but I am SO glad we did. Jonah still watches a movie with us when we have family movie night, but other than that, he doesn’t watch TV at all. And it’s pretty great!

So, if this is a decision you’re mulling over in your house, I encourage you to commit to it and give it a try. It may not be what’s right for every kid, but it sure was the right thing for ours!

Have you ever done a no TV experiment? What were the results in your house?

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Big boy steps



Yesterday Bobby and I made a big decision for Jonah. We decided that in January, shortly after he turns 3, he will go to preschool. It’s a decision that I am all kinds of mixed up about. He is currently receiving developmental services through our county’s arm of Help Me Grow; however, they kick you out of that when you turn three. And they start the transition process to the local schools fairly early so everyone has plenty of time to get ready for the next step.

So, about three weeks ago, Jonah was evaluated by a team of professionals from our local school district, and yesterday we got their results. They agreed with us that he is speech-language delayed and that he qualifies for services. He could either get services once a week at home one-on-one or go into a classroom where he’d be taught by and Intervention Specialist and receive speech once a week from a Speech Language Pathologist. Because we are able to get him into the same school and the same classroom with the same teachers that Sophie had, we opted for school. Starting in January, just three weeks after he turns three, my baby will be going to preschool 4 mornings a week!

I really cannot believe it. Part of me feels very nervous about sending him out the door 4 days a week at such a young age. Honestly, if I would not have been able to get him in that classroom, I might have opted for the home intervention. But I LOVED Sophie’s teachers and I feel genuinely happy that Jonah will get to be with them. And also? Jonah needs some FRIENDS. Not many of my friends kept having babies when I did, and Jonah has not had a ton of opportunity to interact with peers. He really, really, really needs that social experience and I think it’s going to do wonders for his speech.

Now, I have 3 months to get him to be cooperative in a classroom setting. Yikes! That is what I’m most worried about. He has class for one hour at Help Me Grow, and he does not like to go with the flow. He likes to do what he wants to do, when he wants to do it. But, he’s only been in the classroom setting 4 times so far, and one hour a week makes it hard for him to adjust. Twelve hours a week of preschool I think he’ll catch on to much more quickly. I’m praying fer-vent-ly that he does!!

In addition to all this, he’s still seeing his private speech therapist once a week and he’s doing really well with her. And, he’s doing great at home. He’s really starting to let the 3-and-4-word phrases slip out a lot now. He has made some great progress, but he still has a long way to go.

Thus, preschool!

I’m usually the mom who’s thrilled to kick her kids out the door to school, but I think this is going to be hard on me. I’m not ready to let my baby go out that door yet! I think I’ll be crying for a few weeks and nervous for a few more.

In the mean time, I’m going to enjoy the moments I still have with him at home, and keep working with him on his speech. I sure am proud of my sweet little guy!

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