Friday 22 February 2013

I CAN Chatterbox Challenge Mad Chatters Tea Party

I CAN Chatterbox Challenge 2013 Mad Chatter's Tea PartyLast summer, during a visit from the nursery nurse associated with our Health Visitor, a concern was raised. The nursery nurse didn't think Blake's speech clarity was to the level expected. This came as a big shock to me (and everyone I know!) as Blake has always been a big chatterbox and has a huge vocabulary - his first proper words were "Oh Dear" at 8 months and was tackling big words such as stegosaurus by age 2. We went to a speech therapy drop in centre at Downham Health and Leisure Centre - it was great! There wasn't any waiting and the therapist we saw was great with Blake I left feeling positive and reassured,  but it then took over 7 months for an appointment to come through for Blake to have a full assessment - which for a preschooler is a very long time! The same week we had our assessment (we are now on a waiting list for treatment to start and an ENT check up) I also saw the invite to the I CAN Mad Chatter's Tea Party, so I naturally felt the need to go along and offer my support. 

At the assessment, the therapist had told me to clap out the rhythm to some of the sounds and words Blake struggles with but at the I CAN party, they went one further and did clapping out the rhythm using instruments and sticks - even wooden spoons would help!
Maegan tapping out word rhythm with sticks at the I CAN chatterbox challenge 2013
Clapping out word rhythms with sticks

I took Maegan with me to the Tea Party which was lots of fun, and she got to meet Nick Jr's Humf (and so did I!) and I picked up lots of tips to help Blake - I hadn't even known about all the resources I CAN offer and their website is full of useful pointers.
Emma  in bromley and Maegan Clement meeting Nick Jr's Humf at the I CAN mad chatter's tea party 2013
Emma and Maegan meeting Humf

Like all great blogger events, I got to meet some lovely fellow Bloggers, Kate from and Emily from and some great supporters of the charity, some of the mums their were helpers in the community and I had a fab chat with Harriet Thomas from Boogie Mites. 

Maegan made friends with everyone and Nick Jr's Humf was great, he cuddled and danced with all the children and made time for everyone there - even Mummies and Daddies!
Maegan Clement making friends at the I CAN chatterbox challenge 2013
Meg making friends 

There was lots of singing and dancing with the lovely Harriet Thomas of Boogie Mites and lots of encouragement over the use of song and rhythm to help with communication and sounds. 
Harriet Thomas and Maegan at the I CAN chatterbox challenge 2013
Harriet Thomas and Meg dancing

Not forgetting to mention the lovely huge afternoon tea spread .... yum! Cake! 
Harriet Thomas and Maegan at the I CAN chatterbox challenge 2013
Packing for a Picnic

Host a chatterbox challenge: mad chatter's tea party or get your preschool involved!

There is a wonderful short video from the tea party (I'm the one in the green dress and Meg is in her red tea cup dress!


I CAN Chatterbox Challenge 2013 Mad Chatter's Tea PartyI CAN Chatterbox Challenge 2013 Mad Chatter's Tea Party with Nick Jr's Humf
Children’s communication charity I CAN is proud to announce that it is partnering with loveable children’s brand Humf, from the hit Nick Jr. TV show, with continued support from long-term sponsor Openreach to make the 2013 Chatterbox Challenge even bigger than ever. Aimed at getting under 5s communicating in fun and creative ways, the annual event is open for registration now!

I CAN is inviting thousands of little Chatterboxes to take part in the annual fun and educational event for nurseries, pre-schools, childminding and community groups. Now in its 12th year, the 2013 Chatterbox Challenge: Mad Chatter’s Tea Party with Humf asks groups to organise sponsored tea parties where children can join in with popular songs and rhymes to develop their communication skills in a simple and enjoyable way. Thanks to the kind support of Openreach, funds raised through sponsorship will enable I CAN to help even more children who struggle to communicate.

Each Chatterbox Challenge: Mad Chatter’s Tea Party with Humf will raise valuable funds and awareness for I CAN’s work with some of the one million children in the UK who struggle with speech, language and communication, as friends and family will be encouraged to sponsor children for taking part and joining in. Groups can register now for their free fundraising pack at the Chatterbox Challenge website ( 

The 2013 Challenge signals the beginning of an ongoing relationship between Humf and I CAN. This support from a licensed character coincides with the redesign of the popular Chatterbox Challenge to include the tea-party element. 

“Tea parties are a fantastic way for young children to learn the social elements of communication, as well as being accessible to all children. Humf is a popular and appealing character for the pre-school aged children the Chatterbox Challenge is aimed at every year,” commented Virginia Beardshaw, I CAN Chief Executive. “So we are delighted that Entertainment One agreed to grant us the licence and allow Humf to be the fun face of communication for hundreds of thousands of children throughout the UK. This is in addition to the continued support of Openreach, which enables I CAN to support more children across the UK who struggle to communicate.”

Rebecca Harvey, Head of Marketing from Entertainment One said, “It’s a pleasure to be involved in I CAN’s annual Chatterbox Challenge! We hope the children involved will enjoy their tea party with Humf and we are thrilled to be linking with I CAN on the important issue of children’s communication.”

Liv Garfield, Chief Executive, Openreach, said, “Communication is at the heart of the Openreach business and we know how important it is for children to develop good communication skills to succeed in life. This is our sixth year sponsoring I CAN’s Chatterbox Challenge as part of our ‘First Mile’ programme. The Chatterbox Challenge is a great way for young children to develop their own speaking and understanding skills whilst helping children who struggle with communication. By sponsoring the Chatterbox Challenge, we hope all children will get the best start in life.” 

Chatterbox Challenge week is 1st – 8th March 2013 and most groups will be holding their Tea Party with Humf during this week, though groups can actually take part at any time during 2013. 

As with previous successful years, the singing and rhyming activities for the 2013 Chatterbox Challenge: Mad Chatter’s Tea Party with Humf have been carefully developed by I CAN speech and language therapists and teachers. The lesson plans, which include Humf and his friends in the activities and illustrations, link to key aspects of the new Early Years Foundation Stage including Communication and Language, Physical Development, and Personal, Social and Emotional Development. All the activities are aimed at supporting and developing children’s speech and language skills.

Speech, language and communication are crucial for reading, learning in school, for socialising and making friends, and for understanding and expressing emotions or feelings. 1.2 million children in the UK have long-term difficulties with their speech, language and communication and will need extra support. The Chatterbox Challenge: Mad Chatter’s Tea Party with Humf encourages children to think about communication, whilst helping support those who find talking and understanding difficult. 

Thanks to Openreach and their kind support, I CAN is able to help even more children who struggle to communicate.

To register and get involved in this year’s Chatterbox Challenge: Mad Chatter’s Tea Party with Humf, go to"

The I CAN Senior Press and PR Officer, Emma Selim deserves a special mention for doing such a great job and being one of the best PR people I've worked with this side of blogging!

I CAN’s Chatterbox Challenge, sponsored by Openreach and supported by Humf, is for children aged 0-5 years to develop their communication skills whilst raising money for those who struggle. For more information and to register, go to 

Emma in Bromley x

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