Posts

Springtime Activities in the Suburbs

After a long and dreary winter, it’s finally springtime in Chicago! With warmer weather on the way and Blog-springtime-activities-Main-Landscapesummer just around the corner, parents and children alike are looking forward to heading back outdoors for springtime activities. While the city has endless parks, museums, and theaters to choose from, the north shore and western suburbs also have a plethora of well-known play places, as well as hidden gems for suburban families. If you are looking for a quick answer to the “What are we doing today?” question, here are some great places that your kids will love! All of the locations mentioned would be fantastic places for both toddlers, as well as older children to discover.

If you are looking for a little inspiration for your budding Picasso, or your superstar just needs to burn off some additional energy, here are some great locations for the arts as well as sports-themed venues.

Arts & Sports:

Color Me Mine – Glenview

Sunshine Arts & Crafts – Highland Park

Art Reach – Palatine/Schaumberg

Marriott Theater – Lincolnshire

Fairytale Ballet & Academy – Evanston

Hi Five Sports Camp – Highland Park

Rec Center of Highland Park

North Suburban YMCA – Northbrook

Arctic Splash – Wheeling

Splash Landings – Glenview

Key Lime Cove – Gurnee

Big Blue Swim School – Select locations

Foss Swim School – Select locations

If your family is still recovering from the cabin fever experience all winter long, below are some great fun and educational locations you can explore.

Educational/Farms:

Kohl Children’s Museum – Glenview

DuPage Children’s Museum – Naperville

Chicago Botanic Garden – Glencoe

Lambs Farm – Libertyville

Wagner Farm – Glenview

Elawa Farm – Lake Forest

Morton Arboretum – Lisle

Cantigny Park – Wheaton

The Grove – Glenview

Independence Grove – Libertyville

Cosley Zoo – Wheaton

Naper Settlement – Naperville

Spring Valley Nature Center – Schaumburg

Since the start of spring brought Chicagoans a few additional snowy days, springtime weather can be somewhat unpredictable. Below are some suggestions of places to visit when the weather turns sour.

Indoor Play Places:

The Chicago TreeHouse – Lake Zurich

Little Beans – Evanston

Jammin’ Jungle – Highland Park

Gymboree – Select locations

Pump It Up – Select locations

Jump Zone – Buffalo Grove

Lego Land – Schaumburg

Exploritorium – Skokie (Part of the Park District)

Go Bananas – Norridge

*Opening Soon: Funtopia – Glenview

In addition to the above mentioned locations, the park districts and libraries in the northern suburbs have plenty of fantastic resources for toddlers and their older siblings. With sunnier days on the horizon, most cities offer outdoor festivals, special events, and farmers markets, so be sure to check out what your town is offering. If you and your family have another favorite hot spot that you would love to share with others, please let us know about it in the comments below.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview, Lake Bluff and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

New Call-to-Action

5 Chicago Performing Arts Programs to Encourage Speech and Language Development in Children

Performing Arts programs provide an excellent avenue to encourage speech and language skills in children.  LearningChicago performing arts happens best during fun and engaging multisensory experiences, such as acting out a story, dancing to music, or singing a new song.  Through performing arts programs, children gain opportunities to socialize with other children, follow directions, engage in pretend-play, further develop creativity and imagination, build narrative language skills and cultivate expressive language skills.  This blog highlights 5 top performing arts programs in the Chicago area for children of all ages, including a program designed for children on the Autism spectrum.

5 Top Performing Arts Programs in Chicago for Speech and Language Development:

  1. Dream Big Performing Arts Workshop: Dream Big offers a variety of performing arts camps and classes for children ages 2 through 18.  Classes encourage children to explore dramatic play, creative movement, music, team-work, self-expression and creativity while having fun singing, dancing, and playing games.  Classes are separated by ages: “Spotlighters” (2 years), “Mini Showstoppers” (3-5 and 4-6 years), “Moving Stories” and “Creative Drama” (3-5, 5-7 years).  Programs also include customized, age-appropriate parties that include singing, dancing, theatre games and other drama fun! Read more

Francis Parker, Latin, University of Chicago Lab, Chicago City Day, Anshe Emmet, Sacred Heart or Somewhere Else? Which school is best for my child?

How do I pick the best school for my child and what if my child has special needs?

IBack To School Chalkboardf you have a baby and you live in a big city like Chicago, then soon enough you will be thinking, “Oh boy, what activities do I sign him up for? Where do I register for preschool? When? Is today too late?”. For some parents, you will have now discovered your child also has some learning or attention need. Now, which school is best?

Consider the following when deciding where to send your children to school:

  •  There are always the suburbs, but keep in mind, you will still need to do a lot of research on which is best because each suburb has something different to offer.
  • Make a list of what is important to you in a school. One may be very competitive, one may be less so, one may be in a better neighborhood, one may go all the way up to high school, and one may stop at eighth grade. If you decide which characteristics are most important, you can narrow down your list.
  • If you child needs services, will the school have them? What do they look like? Remember, you will still need to supplement school services but you do need the support.
  •  How competitive do you want the school to be and in which areas? One may be more arts based while another may place high importance on math and science.
  • What kind of friends do you want your child to have? Each school has a different sort of parent body, different values taught to children, etc.
  • If you need financial aid, will they have it? How does the application process work to get in and to get assistance?

Enjoy the process and start very early. Talk to and seek advice from many people but in the end base your decision on who you and your family really are and who you hope your children will turn out to be.

Please feel free to leave a comment below with your own experience in choosing a school!

How to Survive a Day with a Child at Six Flags Great America

Six FlagsWe all have memories of the amazing days as children when we took a trip to the amusement park. Growing up in Chicago, my park was Six Flags Great America. It was so easy for my parents: Plan the day, get some hats and suntan lotion and go! If your child has special needs it can be a little trickier, but there are a few things you can do to make your six flags experience even more enjoyable!

Tips to Prepare Your Child With Special Needs For A Day At Six Flags Great America

1)   Talk to your child about the trip several days in advance.

2)   Show him pictures. If necessary, make a social story about the trip.

3)   Make a list of rules at the park with your child. Create a reward chart or any other visuals ahead of time so they are ready to bring with you for a more successful day.

4)   Create a visual schedule for the day so your child knows exactly what to expect while at the park.

5)   Make sure your child is really ready to enjoy the trip, and if not get a babysitter instead.

6)   Contact guest relations before you go and check to see if there are accommodations for children with special needs.

7)   Make sure to get permission to bring the food and drinks you need for any dietary restrictions before you go. They are very strict with their rules on bringing any food or drinks into the park. According to Six Flags:

May I bring my own food and beverages into Six Flags Great America? No outside food, beverages or coolers are allowed to be brought into Six Flags Great America. However, exceptions are made for Guests with special dietary needs to include food allergies and baby food/formula. Guest should contact Park Security or Guest Relations when they arrive at the Park for approval to bring in special dietary foods. The special dietary food containers will be marked and dated to clearly show that they have been approved for entry into the park.

8)   Enjoy Your Day!

 

 

Physical Therapy Posts

5 Top Chicago and North Shore Gyms for Children After They Graduate from Physical Therapy

My Gym

my gym logo
My Gym offers programs and classes to that are designed to help children that are 6 weeks through 13 years of age to develop physically, cognitively and emotionally.  They offer structured weekly classes that incorporate music, dance, relays, games, special rides, gymnastics, sports and more. Children will gain strength, balance, coordination, agility and flexibility while developing social skills, confidence and self-esteem. Classes are separated by ages: “Little Bundles” (6 weeks- 6 months), “Tiny Tykes” (7-13 months), “Waddlers” (14-22 months), “Gymsters” (23 Months – 2.5 years) and etc. Programs include Camp, Parents’ Night Out, Fit & Fun Days, Karate/Martial Arts and Free Play.

Little Gym little gym logo

The Little Gym of Chicago takes a holistic “Three-Dimensional Learning” approach to skill development. Their philosophy is based upon three core tenets: “Get Moving” to foster flexibility, strength, balance and coordination; “Brain Boost” to nurture listening skills, concentration and decision making; and “Citizen Kid” to promote sharing, teamwork, cooperation and leadership abilities. They offer programs and classes that are categorized by age: Parent/Child Classes for 4 months-3 years, Gymnastics for 4-6 years, Gymnastics for 6-12 years, Sports Skills for 3-6 years, Karate for 4-12 years and Dance for 3-12 years. There is also a WonderKids Club for 3-4 year olds that focuses on learning and development.

Bubbles Academy bubbles academy logo

Bubbles Academy offers events, programs, classes and play opportunities for children as well as their parents. Their class curriculum focuses on Motor Skills, Language, Attention, Self Expression, Socialization, Empathy and Confidence. The Bubbles Academy offers a free trial class. Their play-based enrichment courses include music, creative movement, art, yoga, independence, imagination, swimming, cooking and dance. Our educational series is progressive, including preschool preparation, gentle separation and an alternative preschool option. Programs are categorized based upon age groups and milestones: Babies (including Newborns, Bubble Music and Aqua Bubbles), Crawlers, Walkers, 2-3 years, 3-5 years, Family, Adult Fitness, Sibling Care and various camps.

Gymboree gymboree logo

Gymboree Play & Music has been fostering creativity and confidence in children of ages 0-5 for over 30 years. The play-type activities are designed to help develop the cognitive, physical and social skills of children. The class curriculum is based on a balanced whole-child approach with activities to support what your child is mastering currently and what he or she will aspire to master later. Classes are designed in 6-month increments in order to meet a child’s unique interests and abilities. Gymboree classes include Play & Learn, Music, Art, Sports, Family Fun and Social Skills.

Little Beans Cafe little beans

At Little Beans, kids have the freedom to play, learn, imagine and create in a custom interactive indoor playground. The premise of Little Beans Café is to provide families with a place to play together. It provides parents with a café atmosphere while providing kids with an interactive indoor village to explore and socialize. Little Beans have free-play, supervised play, classes, events, parties, camps and play groups.