Tag: sensory musical toy

Sensory toys that use music to provide sensory stimulation during play.

Ion Party Starter

Ion Party Starter is a fantastic wireless speaker with pulsating lights. It’s small enough to carry in your pocket but delivers a big booming sound. With the beat-synchronised lighting it turns any den or bedroom into a party space. And, it’s wireless! Simply connect the Ion Party Starter via Bluetooth to your tablet, phone or music player and let the party and light show begin.

  • Ion Party Starter - wireless speaker
    Ion Party Starter – Wireless Speaker with Synchronised Party Lights

    Ion Party Starter works with iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Android powered phones and tablets.

  • Measures a compact 105mm tall by 60mm diameter and at just short of 200g is small and light enough to carry around.
  • Powered by a rechargeable battery through a USB connection.

Sensory Light and Sound

When I first saw the Ion Party Starter video I was impressed and decided to buy one. After connecting it to my iPad I was amazed at how good it is It’s loud enough and the lights fill the room. It’s so good I took it along to our stand at Kidz-up-North. Lots of visitors wanted to buy one said it would be a fantastic addition to a young persons sensory space.

Perhaps in a full-sized sensory room you may want to consider its bigger brother the Ion Party Time.

This video gives an impression of what the Ion Party Starter is capable of and how to connect it to your iPad using Bluetooth.

Ion Party Starter – use it three ways

1: music only

2: pulsating lights only

3: music and pulsating lights combined

In ‘music only’ mode it sounds good and is sufficiently loud. In ‘lights only’ mode it projects a colour changing, pulsating light show onto walls and ceilings. The light show is bright and stimulating and many individuals will enjoy the effect.

Mode three is when the Ion Party Starter shows what is is really all about. Music and beat-synchronised lights creates a superb sensory effect and a definite ‘must-have’ addition to any young persons party space.

Music and Lights

The music and lights demo I set-up at the ASSERT conference and exhibition caused lots of interest and questions around how it worked together.

Twiligh Turtle Tunes featuring integrated Bluetooth speaker.
Twilight Turtle Tunes sensory light and sound toy

Just to recap, the kit consisted of a Twilight Turtle Tunes, my iPad (could also have been an iPhone or iPod Touch) and an iSwitch. Together these formed the basis of the music and lights show with optional switch control.

The iSwitch was not essential but I used it to show how switch access on the iPad could be used. Judging by the surprise people showed when they pressed the iSwitch most seemed unaware of switch access on the iPad. (Take a look at this earlier blog about ‘Using and iSwitch with the iPad’)

iSwitch for switch access to iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch
iSwitch for switch access to iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch

Twilight Turtle Tunes is a colour changing nightlight that also includes a Bluetooth speaker. As it’s Bluetooth then the iPad connects to it through the ‘Settings > Bluetooth’ menu.

Once a connection has been made the Turtle will automatically reconnect next time you use it – provided Bluetooth is ‘on’ on the iPad.


Making the Bluetooth connection

  • Switch on the Twilight Turtle Tunes and activate the Bluetooth connection by pressing the on/off button twice – the turtle will start to flash.
  • Open the iPad Setting app and go to Bluetooth and switch ‘on’. That makes the iPad look for all Bluetooth devices within range.
  • Look for ‘Cloud B’ and touch to connect it to the iPad.

Music and Lights

Cloud B Twilight Turtle projects colour changing lights
Cloud B Twilight Turtle projects colour changing lights

Open the music app and select whatever you would like to hear. Touch on the ‘play’ and you will hear it through the Twilight Turtle Tunes rather than the iPad speaker. The other feature of the Turtle Tunes is the the colour changing light show it projects from blue through green and yellow. That’s how I set-up the music and lights show.

Although I used this set-up to play music don’t imagine that’s all it can play. Essentially what you now have is a connected speaker and I’ve used it to play nursery rhymes, recorded stories even the sound track or sound effects of games, apps etc.

There are also two apps from Cloud B – the company that makes the Twilight Turtle Tunes – that play relaxing soundscapes. (a free version or a paid-for one which costs £1.49 in the App Store.) Both apps include a timer so you can adjust how long the soundscape plays at bedtime.

Switch access with the iSwitch

The iSwitch can be connected to the iPad through the same Bluetooth menu and then set to send the ‘Play/Pause’ command to the iPad.

(Have a read of ‘Using an iSwitch with the iPad’ blog post to find out about setting it up.)

The iSwitch comes into its own when the user can’t cope with the touch interface on the iPad but can cope with switches and understands the concept of ‘cause and effect’.

So, now we have a music and lights show combined with switch access; it’s so easy to set-up.

Have fun setting up your own music and lights show. Smile

Jingle Bands

Jingle Bands - chunky metal bells on a coloured band
Jingle Bands – chunky metal bells on a coloured band

Jingle Bands: chunky metal bells mounted on coloured wristbands fastened with Velco. Suitable for young children or adjustable to adult size. These bells are an excellent way for young children to join in with music making or adding extra interest to dance and play.

You’ll find Jingle Bands in the Sensory Musical toys section on the Special needs Toys website.