Skate City Overland Park

Location:  10440 Mastin, Overland Park, KS 66212

Costs:

  • $5 per person for a two-hour session
  • $2 skate rental (4 wheels)
  • $3.50 for a Skate Mate (photo below)
  • 50 cents extra per charge if using a credit card

Web site:  http://www.skatecitykansas.com/Overland_Park.html#

A few weeks ago, Peanut got to attend a birthday party at our local Skate City, and he had an absolute blast.  Although he’d gone ice skating with CCVI before, he’d never been roller skating at all, so I packed up my twenty-year-old roller skates and went with him.  I envisioned sore knees and a strong arm from holding him up but ended up with a far better experience.

Peanut uses his Skate Mate at Skate City

Peanut uses his Skate Mate at Skate City

Skate City rents a PVC device on roller-skate wheels called at Skate Mate.  Basically, a Skate Mate is a triangle-shaped walker-style device designed to help kids learn how to skate.  It gives them something to hold on to while they’re making their way around the roller-skating rink.  These were extremely popular when we were there–I managed to rent the very last one for Peanut.

One of my concerns about roller skating was navigation:  I’d gone not just to teach Peanut how to skate, but to make sure he had a sighted guide to help him around the rink.  In some ways, the Skate Mate makes this unnecessary.  There were so many of them, kids don’t stand out using them.  The assumption is if you have one, you probably don’t steer/skate very well.  The design is such that the front points out a bit and bumps into things before you do.  It reminds me very much of some of the adaptive aids the COMS and PTs at CCVI devise to help kids navigate the hallways–this is just on wheels.

Peanut did have a tendency to lean towards the joint of the Skate Mate, which made it want to fall over.  I solved this problem by skating behind him, leaning over and holding the two ends of the device (and holding them down).  To be honest, I’m pretty sure that Peanut used me as a motor for a fair amount of the time so he could have a free ride around the rink, but that’s ok, too–the important part is that he had fun.

If you don’t mind that your child is going to fall down (your child is going to fall down, and s/he might even take you with him/her), absolutely go roller skating.  It’s reasonably priced, it’s out of the elements, it’s good exercise, and it’s wonderfully fun.  Peanut definitely wants to go skating again–and I definitely want to take him.

Posted in Kansas, Kansas City Metro Area, Overland Park | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Clip Clop Clip Clop Klip Klops

Fisher-Price® Little People Disney Princess Klip Klops 3 PackFisher-Price makes a toy now that I would have gone absolutely CRAZY for as a child:  LittlePeople Disney Princess Klip Klops.  What Klip Klops are are molded figures of Disney princesses sitting on horses.  The horses legs are moderately articulated so when they roll down the Klip Klop ramps, they actually make a “clip clop” noise just like a horse moving.  Peanut and Sprout are both absolutely enchanted by these:  they are truly a fabulous noisy toy.

Grandpa bought Sprout a huge Klip Klop castle for her birthday.  The castle came with two princesses and their horses, has a built-in musical merry-go-round (that we virtually never use), two little stables for the klip-klop horses to live in, and tons of ramps for them to clip-clop down.  Peanut and Sprout both love this–you get to hear the horses make noise for a long time, and the ramps also double as rumbly ramps for toys cars to race down (Peanut’s a 5-year-old boy.  Of course we’ve run cars down it).

Although I absolutely recommend the toy as an awesome noisy toy for little princess and horse-lovers, the castle is a challenge to put together.  There are tons of little stickers that have to be placed just so, so this is a toy that children will need help putting together, or a visually impaired adult might have to tap in a sighted friend to help get the stickers on right.

Posted in Toys | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Giving Tuesday!

If you’re looking for some great charities to support on this most fabulous day of the year (no, really–it’s a chance to give back and give to others.  What’s better than that?), I’ve some suggestions for you below.  Each of these are organizations that we have personally benefitted from, and each is absolutely amazing.

Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired

user-submitted homepage picture We’ve made a CCVI Alumni family team for next year’s Trolley Run, and we would love your help reaching our $10,000 fundraising goal.  Peanut is doing AMAZING in his mainstream public school, and CCVI has an enormous amount to do with that.  Help us give back by donating (or joining our team–the more the merrier!) at https://secure.getmeregistered.com/homepage.php?id=8103

Seedlings

Seedlings Braille books for Children logo We love Seedlings–they’re responsible for the vast majority of Peanut’s braille library, and, I think, for some of his excitement about books and reading in general.  We’ve benefitted from their Book Angel Program each year since we first discovered Peanut’s retinas were detached, and we’ve been fortunate enough to win gift certificates from them twice.  They really are an amazing organization.  You can donate to Seedlings at http://www.seedlings.org/donate.php

National Federation of the Blind

National Federation of the Blind logo When we first learned of Peanut’s vision problems, the NFB’s “Where the Blind Work” page was an absolute Godsend.  They gave me that most important of gifts:  hope.  Donate to the NFB at https://nfb.org/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=1

Posted in Random Thoughts and Observations | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chick-Fil-A on Metcalf

Where:  6039 Metcalf Ave, Mission, KS 66202

Cost:  Free!  (But you could always buy a sandwich.)

Web site:  http://www.cfarestaurant.com/missioncrossing/home

On a recent teacher work day, Efrit took Peanut to the Chick-Fil-A on Metcalf to while the afternoon away.  It’s cold, so the play place was a major draw for them both (Peanut because he likes to play, and Efrit because he likes for Peanut to burn off some energy).

These are their comments on the play area:

  • Efrit stated that the play place was a lot like the one in near the Kansas Speedway.  Peanut politely disagreed, stating that the slide was longer and there were more stairs to climb.
  • Efrit noted that the aisles in the restaurant are a bit cramped, but that this is to accommodate a larger customer base.  He said it was packed, but very clean for as busy as it was.  An employee even stopped by and asked if she could refill his drink, which impressed him greatly (Chick-Fil-A is, after all, fast food).
  • Efrit took tons of pictures of the play area.  Based on his photos, there’s a 3-and-under area that has a mirror and spinny toys, and a larger play area for kids to climb, run, and slide.

If you’re looking for a good indoor place to play, I’m a fan of Chick-Fil-A.  It sounds like Peanut and Efrit were fans of this Chick-Fil-A, too.

Posted in Kansas, Kansas City Metro Area, Mission | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

NOPBC t-shirt sale

We have the “keep calm it’s just a cane,” and it’s fabulous. From the mailbag:

We parents are at it again. Please consider purchasing one (or more!)
t-shirts to support the work of the National Organization of Parents of
Blind Children, a proud division of the National Federation of the Blind.
These shirts make great presents, too!

Keep Calm and Braille On? t-shirts may be ordered at
http://www.booster.com/nopbcbraille3 in either Charcoal grey or Teal Blue
in sizes Youth X-Small through Adult 4X-Large. Each shirt costs $18 and is
screened onto a Hanes Tagless T-shirt.

Keep Calm It?s Just A Cane? t-shirts may be ordered at
http://www.booster.com/nopbccane3 in either Purple or Red in sizes Youth
X-Small through Adult 4X-Large. Each shirt costs $18 and is screened onto a
Hanes Tagless T-shirt.

The campaign closes December 1st. That means orders can be placed up to and on the 1st. After that, we cannot take additional orders. Shirts will ship on/around December 15th, so recipients should get them in plenty of time for holiday gifts.

Thank you for your support!

Aside | Posted on by | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Magic Moves Gets Your Kids Up and Wiggling

We bought our Magic Moves Electronic Wand last year based on a review in a parents’ magazine, and I am so glad we did. It took a while for the kids to really fall in love with it–and the influx of space of moving to our new house from our formerly cramped abode–but now it is an almost constant companion.

Our Magic Moves Electronic Wand:

IMG_1710.JPG

This toy is amazing for kids who have little to no sight: all you need is a safe, open, space and a little imagination, and you can play just like everybody else. The top and bottom of the wand light up, and it gives instructions to “prance like a pig,” ” slither like a snake,” or “stomp like a dinosaur,” before playing music for a few minutes for the kids to do the action to. It’s easy to hold and handle and loud enough to hear easily. This toy is definitely a winner in my book.

Click here to see the toy on YouTube: http://youtu.be/yfXouDVhruM

Posted in Toys | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Help CCVI win some dough!

From the mailbag:

You can help CCVI win some dough! Please take a minute to vote for CCVI and then please share the opportunity on your social channels and encourage your friends to vote for CCVI, too!

Here’s the direct link to vote:

http://surveys.emfluence.com/8f42e9f1-09cd-4915-a85c-4c5e2675c449

Posted in From the mailbag | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

2015 NFB Scholarship Program

From the mailbag:

National Federation of the Blind 2015 Scholarship Program

Deadline: March 31, 2015
Are you a legally blind college student living in the United States or Puerto Rico? This annual program offers 30 scholarships worth from $3,000 to $12,000 to eligible students, from high school seniors beginning their freshman year in the fall semester of 2015, up through grad students working on their PhD degrees. These merit scholarships are based on academic excellence, community service, and leadership. In addition to the money, each winner will receive assistance to attend the July 2015 NFB annual convention in Orlando, Florida, providing an excellent opportunity for high-level networking with active blind persons in many different professions and occupations. To apply, read the rules and the Submission Checklist, complete the official 2015 Scholarship Application Form (online or in print), supply all required documents, and request and complete one interview by an NFB affiliate president (unless the president requests a later date). Applications are accepted for five months, from November 1, 2014, to March 31, 2015. Go to http://www.nfb.org/scholarships for complete rules and requirements.

Posted in From the mailbag | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Study recruitment: accessibility of online courses

From the mailbag:

Accessibility of Online Courses

Georgia Tech is conducting a research study on the usability and accessibility of college level courses that are taught online. At the present time, we are focusing on accessibility of these types of courses for those with vision impairments. We would like to interview students who are blind or have low vision. The interview will be conducted over the telephone at your convenience. It will take about an hour. During this telephone interview, we will ask questions about your experiences with these online courses, what features of the courses assisted in making the material accessible, what features of the courses made the material inaccessible, and how you felt about your ability to interact with the professors and other students using the online course interface. You will be paid $20 for taking part in this interview. If you would like to participate, please contact Maureen Linden at Maureen.linden@coa.gatech.edu or 404.894.0561

Posted in From the mailbag | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tactile Puzzle/Book Set

From FamilyConnect,org, and too cool not to share:

Hungry Fingers Tactile Puzzle Set

Date Posted: 11/11/2014
Hungry Fingers Tactile Puzzle Set
Print/braille/tactile book with wooden magnet puzzle, $25.00

We have a limited supply of these – order soon!

Created by Hungry Fingers (a one-man company out of Poland), this unique tactile storybook and accompanying wooden puzzle teach blind children how to construct a tactile image progressively.

As the story unfolds, a character emerges, one body piece at a time, giving the child a chance to follow the sequence until the whole “mystery character” is formed.

Spoiler alert! The book does not have a title. That’s because the child is unaware of what is being formed until the very end of the story. Only then is the child asked to give the teddy bear a name – which then becomes the new title of the book. The child feels that he or she has a hand in bringing the bear to life!

Try not to give the secret away!

After the concept of “drawing a bear” is understood, each child can construct his or her own teddy bear using the puzzle pieces. The tactile drawings in the book match the sturdy wooden, magnetic puzzle pieces, encouraging kids to make the connection between the drawing and the real puzzle piece.

The Hungry Fingers Puzzle Set includes print/braille/tactile book, 8-piece wooden, magnetic puzzle, and a magnetic board to build upon.

Contact: Customer Service
Phone: (617) 266-6160 ext. 520
Email: orders@nbp.org
URL: http://www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/HUNGRY.html

Posted in Random Thoughts and Observations | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment