Lily’s baguette pizza bites

Lily’s baguette pizza bites

Lily always enjoys baking, so I decided to try something different with her. So today we made some baguette pizza bites. A simple thing to make, that I knew she would really enjoy. Pizza is one of the few things that Lily likes to eat, always with pepperoni.

Ingredients

This is a very simple thing to make, which is why it’s always a popular one to make with the kids. All you need is:

  • a baguette
  • tomato sauce (we used a jar of smooth sauce)
  • grated cheese
  • choice of toppings

Making the baguette pizza bites

I cut the the baguette up for Lily, as it was too fiddly, and difficult for her to do. After that it was all Lily, and I just sat back and watched. After putting the sauce and cheese on, she wanted to get the toppings we could find out. So she could make a different one for everyone.

We had quite a few things, including pepperoni (obviously), chorizo, Salami, ham, and peppers. Unfortunately for Jack no pineapple, as he likes his ham & pineapple. For the record Mum also likes her pepperoni, whilst I like everything hah…though if I had to pick a favourite I’d say a “vegetarian” pizza.

Lily made some pepperoni ones, a “meat feast” one, one with just peppers on, and a plain cheese one for Jack. Here’s a picture of a couple before they went in the oven.

Baguette pizza bites
Before cooking

Lily really enjoyed doing this, and I really enjoyed doing what comes next. The eating part! So this is something we will definitely be doing again. Add in a bit of salad and Lily had made tea (dinner, evening meal, whatever you call it where you’re from), and was really proud of herself. Which was really lovely too see. So, now for the finished article.

Cooked baguette pizza bites
after cooking

I had a meat feast and a pepper one, and both were really nice. I loved how apart from the cutting the bread, and putting the trays in the oven, it was all Lily just doing whatever she wanted.

Which leaves me to ask the question, which one of the 4 would you have had? Or what would you have preferred as toppings instead?

Dad Does Autism

The Vincent Ehindero Blogger Award

The Vincent Ehindero Blogger Award

The Vincent Ehindero Blogger Award. I’ll admit I didn’t even know it was a thing, but today I was nominated. I have to say that I am extremely humbled to have been nominated by Tom at The Doubting Thomas blog .

Vincent Ehindero – Welcome to my big family! I make posts about ...

I have been following Tom’s blog for a short amount of time, but I really enjoy his posts. He says he only does it as a hobby, but he’s certainly talented enough to take it as far as he wants. Check out one of his recent blog posts, the brilliantly title, Cummings and Goings.

These are the rules to follow

1. Thank the person who nominated you with a link to their blog.
2. Make a post of the award (with a photo of the logo).
3. Post the rules
4. Ask 5-10 questions of your choice.
5. Nominate 10-30 other bloggers (or more) and notify them.

The Questions

1 – Who is your childhood hero and why?

Hmm, the only real answer I have is, Igor Stimac. A Croatian footballer who played for Derby County. A great player, a great leader, and when we randomly bumped into him during a tour of the stadium. He told someone who was working at the club to get a club flag, and signed it for us. A little extra touch that he didn’t have to do, that stays in the memory of a young boy.

2 – What is your biggest fear/phobia?

Being buried alive. And that is as much as I’m saying about that…

3 – Do you believe it’s healthy to have regrets?

Interesting question. I think it’s impossible to go through like without ever having any regrets. The important thing is not to obsess over them. Having regrets, but accepting them and even trying to do something about them, can be perfectly healthy.

4 – In your opinion, is social media healthy or damaging for the future generations? 

I read something a while ago that I hope comes true. I’m old enough (only just hah) to remember a time before social media. When it first came round it was a wonderful thing, where you just talked to your mates. Then it grew up a bit, and you expanded who you connected with. Then the trolls came, and now we are into the full on hormonal teenage years of social media. The theory was that it will eventually grow up and be more civilised. I hope so, because it is a great thing when used the right way.

5 – What is your favourite holiday destination?

We’ve not been abroad with the kids yet, it would take a lot of planning, and cause a lot of headaches. We especially don’t know how Jack would cope. So I will say Devon, which is my favourite place to go in the UK, with the family.

6 – If you had full disclosure, what would be written on your tombstone?

It’s not something I’ve ever thought about.

7 – What is your stance on religion?

Everyone’s free too believe in whatever they want to believe in.

My Questions

Now I’ve answered those questions, it’s time for me to leave some questions of my own. Then nominate at least 10 bloggers for the award.

  1. What is your favourite sport?
  2. What would you have for your “last meal”?
  3. If you could ask for a miracle, what would it be?
  4. What is your favourite book?
  5. Cats or Dogs?
  6. If your life needed saving, which superhero would you want to save you?

That’s it, I can’t think of anymore. Truth be told I had a hard enough time getting to six. The following are the 10 blogger I nominate for the Vincent Ehindero Blogger Award. I highly recommend checking them all out, they are all great at what they do. Keep doing what you do!


Love, Em

Jenny in Neverland

The Emily Dyson

Cask Ale & Brewing

Mornings on Macedonia

Nin Chronicles

Lisa’s Notebook

Diffusing then Tension

Unwanted Life

Yorkie…not just for Dads

Enjoy!

Dad Does Autism

Things not to do in a pandemic

Things not to do in a pandemic

It’s been an interesting day. If I was going to advise you of things not to do in a pandemic. Snapping your tooth clean off at the root, would be right at the top of the list. That’s exactly what Lily did today, whilst simply eating a cookie. Normally it wouldn’t be a massive issue. You’d ring up for an emergency dental appointment, and get it looked at.

Of course, these are not ordinary times. Dentists aren’t seeing patients, and it has taken all day. Just to try and sort out getting a prescription for some antibiotics. The dentist have told us they will ring us, as soon as they are seeing patients again. Until then we just have to hope Lily is alright.

Jack struggles to cope

Lily spent most of the morning crying, Jack stayed out of the way and seemed okay. I took him out for our usual walk, and things didn’t go to plan. Jack gets very anxious about flies, bees, wasps etc.. There was a lot about today, and in Lily being upset all morning. Plus the unusual and distressing situation we are all in anyway. It all got to much for him.

He had a full blown meltdown at the side of a busy road, and then got angrier because it was so busy. I don’t know how long it took to calm him down, but it felt like an age. We had a couple of people ask if I needed help, which is a nice thought. In reality it just makes things worse, as it sets Jack off. Eventually he calmed and we walked back calmly.

At home he said he was scared by the traffic. The traffic seemed much busier, than it has been in some time. Perhaps Jack had got used to the roads being so quiet, and couldn’t cope with the change back. Plus the the other stuff happening, it was just too much for him.

A nice evening

This evening I sat with Jack and we matched the movie, Shazam. Which we both loved, so the day finished well. I’m just going to have to think about what we are going to do for a walk, as I don’t fancy risking the same thing happening tomorrow. That won’t be good for either of us.

Things are calm as the day comes to a close, Lily seems okay and so does Jack. Breaking your tooth is definitely up there on the things not to do in a pandemic though.

Dad Does Autism

My 5 favourite autism quotes

My 5 favourite autism quotes

Today I decided to pick my 5 favourite autism quotes, and then using Canva to display them in a image. I’m still fairly new to using Canva, but I think I’ve done alright with these.

1.

My top 5 autism quotes

This one is such an important thing to remember, even with children like our Jack & Lily who are able to talk. They still often communicate in other ways, especially on times of distress.

2.

Quote 2

This really is so true, the things I have learned from Jack and Lily are incredible. I have grown as a person so much because of them.

3.

Quote 3

This one is probably my favourite one, and is the way to look at your autistic child’s learning. It might not be the conventional ways that work, but if you work with them they will find ways to learn.

4.

Quote 4

This is a nice one that gives a simple explanation of what autism can be like.

5.

My 5 favourite autism quotes

This is the one that everybody needs to understand. No one autistic person is that same, the spectrum is so wide and varied. Some have additional diagnosis as well, such as learning disabilities and some don’t. Which is why I always say that I’m no expert when it comes to Autism. I only know my 2 children, Jack and Lily’s needs.

They were my 5 favourite autism quotes. Which one is your favourite? Are there any others that I’ve missed, that are your favourite? Leave a comment below and tell me.

Dad Does Autism

Meet the Family

A Dark Lords Tale – Origin Story Part Two

A Dark Lords Tale – Origin Story Part Two

Here is part two of my “short story”, A Dark Lords Tale – Origin Story. If you haven’t read part one yet, may I suggest you read that first, by clicking this link. If you have then let’s get on with it….

A Dark Lords Tale – Origin Story – Part Two

A dark lords tale - origin story part two


I was in some sort of waiting room, not like any place I’d been before though. It was like a long corridor, with the walls painted black. 6 black leather chairs lined up down one side, all facing a black door at the end of the room. It’s glimmering golden handle, the only thing brightening the room.

It felt strange to me that no one else was here, I am I the only one in the frame for the position? I might actually have a chance. It felt like I had been waiting for ages, and then as I stared into space. I began to daydream, I began to remember. The day that changed my life.

**************

On a Bright summers morning. Dylan and Timothy are making their way through Black Woods. It is only a small wooded area at the edge of a sub urban area. It does not really deserve the forbidding name it is given. The sunlight dappling on the path they follow. Timothy is skipping along showing all the youthful exuberance of his 8 years. He looks gleefully happy to be out and about with his older cousin, both with matching blue football shirts on. Over exuberant, Timothy knock the blue cap off of his head and has to stop to pick it up. 

Dylan is ambling along behind. A unzipped black hoody covering most of his football shirt.  He takes his hands out of his jeans pockets to sweep back his hair.

“Nearly Fourteen years old, and having to spend a nice day like this babysitting. Should be against the law.”

“Come on Dylan, I want to find the Witches’ Den.”

“ Grandad made that story up.” Dylan shakes his head, but Timothy isn’t listening. “We could be at your house paying computer games.”

The wind is carelessly blowing through the trees, and blowing Timothys fairly long hair around his head. As he brushes it clear from his face, he catches a glimpse of something. He suddenly stops still, and gazes into a thick mass of trees. Dylan looks around not seeing whatever it is he has seen.

“What is it Timmy?”

“We’ve never been through those trees before. That’s where it will be.”

Timothy walks toward the trees, he looks back at Dylan who is stood still and beckons him to follow. Dylan sighs and shakes his head, before jogging to catch up as Timothy starts disappearing into the trees.

He has to push himself through at first, letting out a small yelp as he is scratched by sharp branches. Dylan looks worried as he quickly forces his way through the branches to get to his little cousin, without a care for what the sharp branches are doing to him.

“What happened?”

“I just got scratched, that’s all.”

“This was a stupid idea, we are going to get cut to pieces.” Dylan grimaces as he rubs at a nasty scratch on his right elbow. “I said I’d look after you, and I’ll be taking you back covered in cuts.”

“You’re silly.” Timothy forces his way into a clearing. “Look just a few scratches.” As Dylan follows him through, Timothy holds out his arm for him to see. There are just a couple of scratches, Dylan seems to have got the worst of it in his rush to catch him up.

“Mum won’t get mad over a few scratches from playing.” Dylan dusts himself down, puffs his cheeks and shakes his head. “Where’s your sense of adventure? This would be a great place for a witch to hide.”

If the story is true, she was a crazy lady who escaped from the mental hospital, that used to be on the edge of the village. Then she hid in these woods, and no one ever saw her again.”

“Because she was a witch.”

“If you say so. More like that’s what people said because she was a bit crazy. They probably said she was devil worshipper, trying to lure the local children to Satan as well.”

“So she was here? That means we can find her.”

Dylan looks around at his surrounding, the trees seem like they are closing them in. He can’t see out to where the footpaths are, he frowns as he turns back to his cousin. “That was over 100 years ago. If she did happen to be here, I really don’t want to find some old bones.” Timothy has spotted something and goes through some more trees to another clearing.

“Look! There’s bricks on the ground”

There are bricks on the ground the further into the clearing they go. Timothy rushes off following the trail of bricks, whilst Dylan is looking around puzzled by the odd sight of these bricks that are completely out of place. He looks up and realises he can barely see the sky, the foliage is so thick overhead that it started to get quite dark, despite it being the middle of the day.

“I don’t like this Timmy. We should get out of here.”

“Thought you didn’t believe in witches?”

“There’s no witch here, but there could be someone.” Dylan looks around the ground for any signs that people have been here. “A tramp or some older kids, drinking or taking drugs. We don’t want to bump into people like that in here.”

“A house!” Timothy points excitedly towards it, and sure enough there it is. The remains of a little house hidden away in the woods. It looks old and not well made. The wall to one side has fallen away, it’s only high enough to be one level, and there don’t appear to be any windows. There is half of a wooden door swinging open in the middle, the bottom seems to have rotted away. “Let’s go inside.”

“It doesn’t look safe.”

Timothy isn’t listening, he goes towards the house, and quickly makes his way through, pushing what is left of the door open. He steps into the darkness and out of sight.

“Tim! Come back! There could be anything in there.”

Dylan runs up to the house. He has a little moment of hesitancy as he gets to the door,  it he knows he has no choice. He has to go in after his little cousin. Without a single window to let any light in, Dylan can barely see what’s in front of him. He is clearly anxious about going further into the house, further into the darkness.

“Psst Tim?” There’s no answer. Dylan can feel his heart racing as he feels along the wall trying to make sense of his surroundings. He kicks loose stones on the floor; the noise seems so loud against the eerie quietness that surrounds. The house has a strange smell to it that is getting stronger, with every further step Dylan takes.

“Tim, where are you?” Raising his voice slightly this time, he gets a response.

“Over here.”

The voice seems just ahead, but Dylan still can’t see his cousin. Suddenly there’s a loud scream. It startles Dylan, who nearly jumps out of his skin. He then stands frozen to the spot, when Timothy runs straight into him, knocking them both to the floor.

“Skeleton!” Shouts Timothy pointing back in the direction he came from.

“Are you sure?” Timothy nods his head looking genuinely scared. Dylan looks around trying to run the situation through his head. “Okay I will take a look.”

Dylan creeps along the wall. He feels a cold shiver emanate from inside his body, as he felt something cold on his shoulder. As he slowly looks he realises it’s a drip of cold water running down the wall. He has a slight moment of relief, and prepares himself to peer around the corner. As the wall ends at some sort of doorway. He holds his nose, the smell becomes unbearable.

He takes in a deep breath and looks into the room, he can see into daylight as this is the side of the house where the wall has fallen away. The bones are there, right in front of him. The shock causes him to take a step back. Regaining his composure he takes another look. “Looks like a dog or something. Nothing to be scared of.”

“Are you sure?”

Dylan turns back to Timothy who has followed him up to the other room by now. He gives him a reassuring nod and smile. 

“Yeah, I’m sure.”

“I still don’t like it.” Timothy takes a step into the room, when he lets out another scream. “Get it off!” Timothy spins around waving his arms in the air.

“What’s wrong? I can’t see anything.”

“Spider!”

Dylan looks closely and realises all the fuss is about some old cobwebs, he brushes the web off his face and out of his hair.

“It’s only cobwebs.”

“I don’t like spiders.”

“Come on, lets get you out of here. I don’t like this place, and the smell is awful.”

“Could it be what witches smell like?”

Dylan laughs and puts his arm around Timothy, and carefully guides him back to the door. Only when they are outside does he answer his question.

“I’m sure Witches don’t smell nice, but that was the dead animal, and whatever else might be in there.”

“There could be more?”

“Maybe, but I don’t plan on finding out. Someone must have lived here once, how crazy is that.”

“So maybe it is the Witches house?”

Well out into the clearing and away from the house, both Dylan and Timothy show signs of relief. The clearing looks brighter than it did before, and both boys take in some welcome breaths of fresh air.

“Maybe. Grandad might have been telling the truth after all. I don’t fancy going back in for another look. Do you?”

Timothy nervously shakes his head, clearly shaken by the experience.

“Don’t worry, we’re alright now. Let’s go home.”

Dylan looks for the way through the trees that they came in, but can’t find it. Or any easy way through.

“The thing that puzzles me. How could they have built this here. How would you get the bricks and stuff through.

“Magic spells.” Laughs Timothy.

“I guess so.” Dylan smiles and looks back at the house. Something catches his eye. He frowns and shakes his head. “Must be my imagination.”

“What must?”

“Nothing. Let’s just go home.” Dylan looks back again. A shadow is starting to emerge from the doorway of the house. “We should hurry up. Dylan looks scares as he starts to hurry Timothy along. He turns to look back at the house again, and a look of shear terror comes across his face.

“Run, Tim! Run!”

What does caregiver burnout look like?

What does caregiver burnout look like?

It’s a phrase that I hear quite a lot, and after a weekend where I really felt burnt out. I thought I’d look at the question, what does caregiver burnout look like? First of all, I’ve never viewed myself as a carer. I’m just a dad looking after his kids, the way any good dad would. It is safe to say I feel burnt out at times, but what do people mean when they say that? How do you know if you or someone you know is feeling this way?

Answering the question

If you google, what does caregiver burnout look like? The first answer you will see, looks like this.

What does caregiver burnout look like?

“A caregiver with burnout has become overwhelmed and is physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted from the stress and burden (I don’t particularly like the word burden, but these aren’t my words) of caring for their loved one. They may feel alone, unsupported, or unappreciated. They often haven’t been taking good care of themselves and may be depressed.

I have made all the important words bold, these are the things you need to look out for. Whether it’s for yourself, because if you like me, you don’t notice the signs until they are on top of you. Until they have become a problem, and as with anything it is better to work on preventing it happening. Than to react one it has happened. Or if you know someone who is a caregiver, a family member or friend. Then look out for these signs for them. Most caregivers I’ve come across rarely ask for help, but I assure you they probably need it. Even if it’s just checking in on them for a chat, you can make a big difference to how they are feeling.

Not taking care of yourself and depression

I am diagnosed with depression, and my battles with the condition date back long before the kids arrived on the scene. There have been some difficult times, especially with Jack when his behaviour have been out of control. When we had massive problems at his old school, where quite frankly he was neglected, you can read about that in more detail by clicking here – “Our Special School Horror Story” so the situation has certainly made my depression more difficult to manage, and my self care can become non existent.

I try to remind myself that to be the best I can for my children, I need to look after myself first. It can be difficult though, there is a lot of stress involved. Different carers have different stress, for us at the moment a lot of the stress revolves around school, and not being completely sure what Jack and Lily’s capability’s will be as they grow up. It’s also about keeping anxiety and meltdowns in check, whilst for others the demands are more towards physical care. No matter what it is, the strain physically, emotionally and mentally takes it’s toll.

Feeling alone

The major thing that often affects cares, is the feeling of being alone, unsupported and unappreciated. This happens to varying degrees, in all different directions. I’ve heard stories of people having their families completely turn their back on them, or one of the parents walking out and leaving the other one to do it all alone. Thankfully this hasn’t happened to us. I don’t know that everyone in our families fully understands the situation we are in, it’s difficult too unless you’ve experienced it yourself. They have all stuck around and been supportive though.

We haven’t had any issues of people being openly “jealous”, and complain we get money just to stay at home. Which I know is something that happens a lot. As for unappreciated, the £67 a week carers allowance we get, doesn’t scratch the surface of what it would cost if the people we cared for we’re taken into care. Depending on the needs of person it can be thousands of pounds a day!

The current Covid-19 pandemic has shown just how unappreciated carers are. Suddenly all the services stop, leaving us to care 24/7, and we are pretty much the only group of people not being offered an extra help. Once again if you know a caregiver, show them a bit of appreciation, and support them if you can. It could be the little lift that keeps them going.

Feeling overwhelmed

What all the above boils down to, and what for me really answers the question, what does caregiver burnout look like? Is the feeling of being over whelmed. This past Saturday I felt completely overwhelmed, I’m not really sure where it came from, but it was a really difficult day. I struggled with everything, and to be honest I spent most of the day doing nothing but be grumpy and snappy with everyone.

Being cheered up by the kids

The only time I cheered up was when Lily got me playing what’s in the box? Thankfully I felt a bit more myself on Sunday, then Jack asked to go out for a walk and pay PokemonGo. Normally it would be a 20-30 minute walk around the block, but Jack was feeling especially adventurous. We went to a small nature reserve near us, and decided to venture as far as we could. Things got interesting when the path was cut of by a stream, which had some broken logs across it as a bridge. There was at least a 1 metre drop down to the other side.

Jack wouldn’t be deterred so we got across and kept going. Eventually the path became completely over grown and we had to turn back, much to Jack’s disappointment. It’s obviously not been used much. Getting back across the stream was a bit more interesting, but we just about managed it. We saw a frog hopping about, which Jack was fascinated with. On the way back, we saw some horses, which Jack also enjoyed.

We had a great time, and it’s the sort of thing I definitely want to do more of. I was tired when we got back, but after a 30 minute rest. I suddenly realised how much better I was feeling. And therein lies the conundrum, the people we care for may well cause us worry and stress. Plus a whole load of other emotions, but they can also be the ones that make us so happy.

Show support for carers

Right now people are showing great support to our NHS staff, carers and key workers. I just hope that when this pandemic is finally over, people don’t forget the importance of all these people. Obviously I’m looking at carers here, people who are often unappreciated and looked down on. Show these people the support they deserve.

Dad Does Autism

What’s in the box?

What’s in the box?

In the never ending battle to keep everyone entertained and happy, the latest thing Lily came up with was What’s in the box? I know it’s something Lily has seen on YouTube. She’s wanted to recreate a lot of the things she’s seen on there. This is a pretty simple and safe one to do, so I thought why not?

All you need is a cardboard box, and as Natalie is an Avon Rep. So we aren’t short of boxes in this house. The lid had already been taken off, so I just cut out some holes on each side and stood the box up. Which made it perfect for what we needed.

What’s in the box?

To be honest, it was surprisingly difficult to find items to put in the box. I started off with a croissant, a green pepper, some tissues and a M&Ms chocolate bunny. What I really love about the 4 photos above, is the 4 different emotions being shown on Lily’s face.

My favourite one we did was some whipped cream in a bowl, and as you can see from the photo below. It was certainly Lily’s favourite as well.

What’s in the box?

I found 4 more things for her to try and guess. A Lei necklace, a stuffed animal, a Easter bunny ornament and a large paint brush. Again there’s 4 different facial expressions. The paint brush one has to be my favourite, and took her the longest to figure out. She is only used to her own small paint brushes.

Why not try it yourself?

Have you ever played what’s in the box? It’s really simple as long as you have a box at hand, and is fun to do. You can even use it as a way to get your child, to handle things they wouldn’t normally touch. That was my idea behind the green pepper, and although Lily didn’t like the fact it felt cold at first. She happily felt around it, and continued to do so after she had guessed it.

So why not try it yourself? Also if you have any good ideas for fun things to use for the game. Then please them in the comments below, as I think we could be playing this a lot over the next week.

Dad Does Autism

Top 5 board games to play with young kids

Top 5 board games to play with young kids

As the title says, today we are looking at board games. As chosen by Lily, her top 5 board games to play with young kids. Jack and Lily are 12 and 8, both being autistic what they like is some areas can be younger than their age. This is one of those areas, so we are looking at this from a younger child’s perspective. Lily really enjoys board games, and we’ve been playing quite a lot during this lockdown. Sometimes Jack will play as well depending on the game.

Lily picked the 5 games, we played them and each gave them a score out of 5. I will do a quick review with each game too, and leave a link to where you can buy each game from amazon. These are affiliate links and I will get a small commission if anyone does make a purchase using the links. That will help me with the upkeep of the website, for more information, you can go to my Donations & Adverts page by clicking this link. So let’s get started on our list of top 5 board games to play with young kids.

Kerplunk

Top 5 board games to play with young kids Kerplunk Lily

The aim of the game is to take the straws out one at a time, and try not to make any of the marbles drop down. The person with the least amount of marbles at the end wins. Setting up is as much of an event as playing the game itself, especially if you are all trying to put the straws through at the same time. It’s a good idea to make the set up fun, you have to do it at the end of every round, and can become tedious otherwise.

Once you are ready to go, I really like Kerplunk. The tension and anxiety rises every time you take another straw. I mostly enjoy the reaction of the kids when the marbles drop, especially if a lot go at once. They laugh every time, especially if it’s on my turn. We normally play 5 or 6 games, if all 4 of us are playing maybe a few more.

Top 5 games to play with young children - Kerplunk

Rating – Dad (4) Lily (5) Click here to buy Kerplunk

Jenga

Top 5 board games to play with young kids - jenga tower

The aim of the game is simple. Build a tower of 3 blocks in a row, then take it in turn to take one block out. If you knock the tower over during your turn you lose. I do enjoy jenga, but I find setting it up a bit of a pain. It comes with a cardboard sleeve, the theory is you pull it out of the box, and the tower sets straight up when you slide the sleeve away. That has never worked once for us.

When the game starts it’s pretty fun, you get the same tension as Kerplunk. You need more skill for this game, as one wrong move and it’s game over. You need a steady hand, which is bad news for me. When I inevitably end up knocking the tower over, the kids are laughing at my misfortune again. Another fun game, but the setting up loses it points from me.

Collapsed jenga tower

Rating – Dad (3) Lily (5) Click here to buy Jenga

LOL surprise Monopoly


A classic game, we have the LOL surprise version. Admittedly I’d probably enjoy it more if it was the original, or less of a “girly version”. But it was a present for Lily and she loves it. It does mean Jack has absolutely no interest in playing it. If you’ve got a lot of time to kill, then this is the game to play. Playing until everyone goes bankrupt and there’s one player left, must be a marathon. I don’t think I’ve ever done that ever, we normally declare a winner when someone is clearly leading and everyone’s got bored.

Top 5 board games to play with young kids

This isn’t a very competitive game in our house. Lily gets upset if you buy any of her favourite cards, which seems to be most of them. We tend too just play until Lily gets bored, and we declare her the winner. For those reasons, this is my least favourite of the 5 games, but Lily absolutely loves it.

Rating – Dad (3) Lily (5) Click here to buy LOL monopoly

Hungry Hippos

You have to connect the hippos to the game board every time you play, assuming you disconnect them and put them back in the box when you finish playing. I find the hippos quite stuff to put on, the kids certainly aren’t able to do it, which is a downside. Once it’s ready, it’s an easy and fun game to play.

Top 5 board games to play with young kids - hungry hippos

You can play with 2 people, though I think it’s best if you have 4, one person for each hippo. The aim of the game is to swallow as many of the little balls as you can, with your hippo. The person with the most balls at the end, wins the game. If you are anything like us, things are likely to get a bit manic. It’s no holds barred, and the more aggressive the game gets the funnier Jack and Lily think it is. They absolutely love it, we can play up 10 times, before hands start to hurt from hitting the plastic levers, and we stop.

Rating – Dad (4) Lily (4) click here to buy hungry hippos

Don’t take Busters Bones

don’t take busters bones

To start you need to connect the dog to the tray section, and then push it back to set it. It’s not to difficult, the kids struggle with it but can do it without my help. To play you take turns picking a card, that has a number of bones that you have to pick up out of the tray. You have a pair of cat paw tweezers to pick the bones up, this is to keep hands out of the try. As the dog lurches foward, as if to bite, when you set him off. If he bites on your turn you lose the game.

Whilst Buster is sleeping, an audio of snoring plays through some speakers. Which is a great little touch that definitely adds to the experience of the game. It’s another game of tension, and waiting for “something bad” to happen. Im guessing by now you’ve worked out these are the type games we like to play. This one is my personal favourite.

Rating – Dad (5) Lily (4) Click here to buy Dont take busters bones

Conclusion

To conclude our top 5 board games to play with young kids list, a look at the combined rating from both myself and Lily, Kerplunk and Don’t take Busters bones get the joint highest score with 9. Which is pretty much what I expected, I think these 2 are a little bit better than the other 2. Have you played any of these game? What are your thoughts on them? Also, are there any board games you would recommend us to try? If so leave a comment below, thanks.

Dad Does Autism

Lily’s Flower basket

Lily’s Flower basket

After some lovely weather recently I think someone has turned the heating off. It’s turned a bit chilly here, but in the spirit of spring today I want to show you Lily’s flower basket. We got a nice basket and filled it with soil, and bought some nice flowers to add it. I’m no expert when it comes to flowers, so we just picked some pansies and violas that looked like they went well together.


Lily arranged the flowers herself and planted them. I think it they look really good, but you be the judge. What do you think to Lily’s flower basket?

Lily’s flower basket - front
front
Lily’s flower basket - back
back

What else have we been up to?

Despite the drop in temperature, Jack has wanted to go on his walks to catch Pokémon on PokemonGo. I shared a few photos on the Twitter page, where you can find me @DadDoesAutism. As more often than not I use photos of Jack and Lily, they decided it should be my turn this time. So here’s a photo of me with a Pokemon.

Dad and Aipom

Myself and Jack have both had our lockdown haircut, thanks to Natalie. Who did a pretty good job. I’m not sharing any photos here, as Natalie is looking at writing a post about how she went about cutting Jack’s hair.

Haircuts can be a problem with some autistic children, it certainly was for Jack for a long time. We found a hairdresser that Jack is happy with, accepts going to now. With lockdown though, it’s obviously not open right now, and Jack was complaining his hair was too long. We were unsure if he’d allow his mum to do it, but we got it done and it will certainly be a good post when Natalie does it.

Finally, as I’ve mentioned a couple of times on here, and even shared a video on twitter. I have been playing cricket in the garden with Lily. She didn’t really know what she was doing when lockdown began, other than trying to hit the ball. I would do a gentle under arm throw, and she’d struggle to hit it.

Fast forward to now, and although we are only playing with a lightweight plastic bat and ball. I am now doing proper cricket bowls for her to hit. I’m really pleased with how she’s wanted to keep practicing, and the progress she’s made. More importantly she’s really happy with herself.

Have you or your kids been trying to get better and something new? We’d love to hear what you’ve been trying to learn. Leave your comments in the box below. Thanks.

Dad Does Autism

Autism and Minecraft

Autism and Minecraft

The first time I ever heard of Minecraft was when Jack asked to have the game. I had no idea of the strong links between autism and minecraft. A quick google of autism and Minecraft will bring up lots of results. It seems to be something that attracts some autistic people, and as is often the case. Once it becomes a special interest, it becomes an obsession.

Minecraft is even being used in therapies, to help autistic children learn things like social skills. You can apply for a specialised server for autistic people, called AutCraft, which is said to be a safe haven for autistic children to play Minecraft. Jack just plays on Minecraft normally, and it’s for fun.

The joy of building something

When you successfully build something, it gives you such a great feeling. No matter what it is, big or small, you still get that feeling of achievement. I talked about how Lego provides that for Jack in “Is Lego good for autistic children”, click the link if you haven’t read that post before.

Of course with Lego you are restricted to what you can make. In the computerised world of Minecraft the possibilities are practically endless. You can go wherever your imagination takes you. 

Using Minecraft to express feelings

The other day Jack was very excited to show me a laboratory he made. He then told me he had the coronavirus inside it and was working on a cure.

on top of the coronavirus lab

I actually felt quite emotional and proud that he was thinking of doing that. He has found it difficult to understand, what is going on in the world right now. Trying to express his own feelings on the matter, hasn’t been easy either.  We have spent a lot of time of time, trying to learnt what Jack is trying to say to us, when he is unable to do it directly.

This was Jacks way of showing us he is worried about the coronavirus, and wants there to be a cure found. So that everything can go back to normal. When he does something like this, it gives us the opportunity to ask questions about a subject he doesn’t like to talk about. 

He won’t communicate about a subject he is anxious about, and if you try and force the issue he’s even less likely to talk. This was showing us he was ready to talk about the coronavirus. Only a few questions, with short answers and nods of the head. But enough for us to get an understand of how anxious and worried he is feeling, and now he knows we know.

Jack’s favourite builds

That was an example of how autism and Minecraft work, to help an autistic child communicate with his parents. Let’s finish with something more fun. I’ve asked Jack to share with you, the favourite things he has built on Minecraft.

Some of the favourite things he has built include, Freddy Fazbears Pizzeria, a nether portal, and the Kanto region in Pokemon.

His absolute favourite is the SCP 250 foundation facility. Don’t worry if you don’t know what that means, I don’t really either. Here is a brief explanation of what SCP is.


You can click here if you want to find out more about it. There’s a couple of pictures below to showing the facility that Jack has made.

Minecraft & autism
Full facility

an SCP in its containment pod

There have been a lot of posts involving Lily recently, so it was fun for me to get Jack involved again. For those of you out there who’s kids like playing on Minecraft, or even you yourself. What do you enjoy building on there. We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.

Dad Does Autism