Games shops with a difference – mixing wargaming with sensory toys!

Little Games Shop LogoEarlier in the week I posted an article about Son2 and his love of Games Workshop. Today, I’m very happy to host a guest spot from Hilary Knight, herself the mother of a son with special needs. Hilary runs The Games Shop at Aldershot in Hampshire and the newly opened Little Games Shop, in Farnham, Surrey.  They stock all the usual stuff to delight boys young and old – but they are much more than that. Read on to find out more:

Our son aged 9 has special needs and attends a special school. Simple right? No, not simple at all!

I am a qualified nursery nurse, have a degree in Education Studies and Psychology and was a childcare inspector for Ofsted for the under 8’s before I had my daughter. How hard could it be?

We encountered major frustration over getting a diagnosis that didn’t include a conclusion of parental blame while home educating due to threats of him being expelled at 5.5. We walked through the equivalent of treacle getting an educational statement and it almost turned my hair white looking for a school that could meet his needs!

Getting resources or toys for him in the high street like chewy tubes, chewigems, theraputty was and is – IMPOSSIBLE! So, my husband, Rhys and I, decided to bring special needs toys and resources to the high street, working with two occupational therapists.

The Little Games Shop – helping children and adults with additional needs 

  • In our new Farnham store we stock a range of resources including Theraputty, Mr Face, sensory toys, sand timers, chewigems, feely boards, card holders, larger piece puzzles, large print scrabble, pocket money toys as well as the usual mainstream games, puzzles and some really great wooden toys. Soon we are stocking handwriting equipment, weighted blankets etc. We can source products for parents and are working with local SENCo’s. We can mail them out without postage and packing costs.            
  • We don’t believe in inflated prices just because it has the tag line of “special needs”
  • We work with two Occupational Therapists who on hand to advise regarding equipment and resources. Both OT’s have experience of children with additional and sensory needs – Caroline Winfield and Louise Williams.
  • All staff have childcare qualification and/or are parents. On Saturdays we have Veronica who has worked for the National Autistic Society and has  completed courses in ASD and Young People, Social Stories Workshop and also has personal knowledge of ASD.

The Games Shop, Aldershot – 3 floors above the shop with refurbished rooms. – helping children and adults with additional needs:

  • The first Tuesday of the month during school terms, SOS! SEN the special needs advisory charity, hold an advice surgery for parents/carers to navigate their way through the SEN system (without them my son would still be home educated and very unhappy), from 10:15-12:15. No appointment necessary and no fee, although a donation is always welcome.
  • Hampshire NAS hold a social skills group for children every Saturday in Games Room 1 for children who live in Hampshire: Contact Kate Nixon on Tel: 01483 869 553
  • Every Friday from 6-9pm we hold an under 16’s Wargaming club. The shop is a Games Workshop Premium Shop and Rhys used to be a manager for GW. The event is held in the “war room” with two members of staff with bags of knowledge and passion for the game. Come along and paint your army, get expert tips, play Warhammer or Warhammer 40,000 or make/paint your own scenery. Children with additional needs are an asset in this activity with their knowledge and memory and the game can so easily be adapted.
  • Pokémon. We are very lucky to have our own Pokémon professor! Not only is he bursting with passion for the game, but as a qualified nursery nurse, he activity promotes reading and sportsmanship. He will happily show new members how to play and a more suitable time can be arranged for beginners. Saturdays is Pokémon league 10:30 to 1pm.
  • We also host Yu-gi-Oh and Magic the gathering card games on Fridays.

Contact the shop for more info.

Finally, all three rooms plus the War Room are for hire and room rates start at just £10.00 per hour. Rhys has hosted GW parties very successfully as well as LEGO parties all, of course, adapted to the children’s needs and interests.

Just shops that sells traditional games, card games, collectibles, pocket money toys, puzzles, wooden toys, Games Workshop, LEGO? Not our shops!

Pop in Aldershot and say Hello to Rhys or pop into Farnham and say hello to Hilary.

  • The Games Shop, 6 Wellington Street, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU11 1DZ Tel: 01252 311 443
  • The Little Games Shop, 4 Cambridge Place, Farnham, Surrey GU9 7RX Tel: 01252 713313

The Little Games Shop also has a Facebook page with lots of info and conversation!

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