Finding appropriate, open-ended games and activities for the classroom can be a struggle as a special educator. We want to keep our students engaged in activities without overstimulating them with toys that make a lot of noise or have lots of gadgets on them. I was fortunate enough to have Christen from My Hands On Games (@specialneedsgames on Instagram) send us some goodies to try out and they were such a hit, I couldn’t wait to share them with you all!
In the picture above, my *almost* 3 year old is creating his “self-portrait” using the Shapes Face Felt Activity and their Mirror for Kids (which is DRY ERASE and child safe!). We have used the mirror during block building activities, as a race track, as “water” for our town, and so many other ways in the short time we have had it! We also used the Shapes Face to practice identifying different parts of the face, colors, shapes, and emotions.
We had a blast with the “Move With Me” Game! Board games are still a little difficult for Rhett, especially if there are multiple directions. This game is very appropriate for any kid that needs practice with using a spinner, taking turns, following simple directions, and identifying body parts. How perfect would these be as a group activity or a brain break in the classroom? I can’t give this game enough praise!
We are absolutely in love with their Winter Wonderland Felt Scene. What a perfect activity for enhancing communication and pretend play. Whip this out and let the kids go to town. It actually makes me a little excited for snow to start falling!
Here is their “How Do I Feel?” Emotions Game in action!
What I love about their products is that they are simple, yet so perfect for kids with all abilities. Each activity is open ended enough to target a variety of skills! I also love the story behind their company, which is why I asked them to share about their background and how they came into business below.
From the Creators of My Hands On Games
Creating and launching a product line from scratch is definitely not easy or cheap. So why did we decide to risk so much to start our family business? We are passionate about helping kids through hands-on play.
We started working on ideas years before we created an actual product. We wanted to create products that would be helpful for kids throughout life. When we, Christen and John, realized it was time to move forward with our products, we invited our good friends, Caroline and Brad, to join us in creating them. We create developmental hands-on games that help teach practical life skills to kids of all abilities.
We have been personally involved in the special needs community since high school, and now we have a son with Down Syndrome as well as a son with Hyperlexia. Caroline and Brad have a son with Autism. Our families both know first-hand about loving and teaching our own kids with special needs, which has taught us a lot about how to help others. We both have kids without special needs as well, and our games are helpful and appropriate for them, too!
Growing a new business takes a lot of time and attention. We care so deeply about creating fun, quality products that truly help the people who use them. As our business grows, we plan to employ adults who have special needs. We are working on so many new games right now that we truly believe will help families, therapists, and teachers help others with challenges in life.
And guess what? You can help us spread the word! Since we don’t have much of a marketing budget yet, we rely almost entirely on social media and word-of-mouth to spread the word to people who don’t know about us yet. If you like what we have created, please share us with your friends! There are people we need to connect with who need our games, and you can help connect us! Many of our customers have become friends, and we are so proud of the community that is forming around what we have created!
John is an Air Force veteran and a speaker on topics related to play-based learning and other special needs topics. Christen is a violinist who has 25+ years teaching experience in elementary music, early childhood, special needs classrooms, church classrooms, and as a homeschooling mom. Brad is active duty in the Air Force. Caroline has a degree in elementary education, with a focus on special needs, and is currently a stay-at-home mom.