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Young girl cutting paper

Spring Crafts For Kids

The official first day of Spring has arrived and Spring breaks are in progress!  The weather may be a little chilly, but here are some springtime crafts for your family to enjoy.

Crayon Critters – ages preschool to school age

This craft is a great way to have children use their imaginations…and to use up crayon pieces!
 
Supplies

  • Wax Paper
  • Bits of crayon
  • Warm iron (under adult supervision)
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Hole-Punch
  • Fishing line or yarn
  • Tacky glue (optional)
  • White paper (construction or copy)
  • Cloth (optional)
  • Black construction paper (optional)

Instructions

  • Create your pattern by drawing it on the white paper (draw it large enough to use up the entire piece of paper).  Some spring ideas:  butterfly, caterpillar, lady bug, bird.
  • Place a piece of wax paper over created pattern.
  • Sprinkle crayon shavings (sparingly!) on wax paper
  • Place another piece of wax paper on top of shavings and a blank sheet of paper or a cloth over that. Gently press down with a warm iron. The crayon will melt quickly.
  • Staple pattern to the crayon melted wax paper outside of the design area and cut out. This may be enough for the littlest crafters.
  • (Optional for older children) Create a black outline with construction paper for your critter to make it even more dramatic.  To do this, take a pencil and outline the critter on top of the black paper. Cut out holes or shapes in the black paper so the crayon design shows through.
  • Glue the black paper to the wax paper.  A little tacky glue will go a long way, so use a little at a time.
  • Punch a hole in the top of the critter and thread fishing line or yarn through to enable it to be hung in the window.

Egg Carton Wreaths – ages preschool to school age

At some point most of us will have an empty egg carton…instead of throwing it away, this is a great project to recycle it!

Supplies

  • Egg Carton (1)
  • Watercolor paints
  • Paint brushes
  • Cardboard
  • Tacky glue
  • Ribbon or yarn
  • Scissors

Instructions

  • Cut a ring (about 12″ in diameter) from a small piece of cardboard to be the base for the wreath.
  • Tear apart all the egg cups so they are individualized.
  • Make cuts in each egg cup to create petals.  (So it will have slits going all around the cup)
  • Decorate each cup using watercolors (or markers) to create all the flowers.  Feel free to add any other type of decorating technique  (glitter, feathers, pipe-cleaners, etc)
  • Use tacky glue to attach each flower to our cardboard ring.
  • Make a small hole in the cardboard base and use ribbon to hang.

Birdfeeders

Here is a great project that helps your child or teen feed the birds that have ended their hibernation and are ready or spring, just like us!
 Supplies

  • Toilet paper roll
  • Knife
  • Peanut butter (or shortening if there is a peanut allergy)
  • Bird seed
  • Paper plate
  • String or pipe-cleaners
  • Hole punch
  • Cheerios (or a cereal with a hole in the middle of each piece)

Instructions

  • Take a pipe-cleaner and bend one end bend one end (so the Cheerios don’t fall off), and thread the Cheerios on.  Make a loop at the top to hang it on the tree.
  • Use a hole-punch to make a hole at the top of your toilet paper roll.
  • Spread peanut butter or shortening on the toilet paper roll.
  • Pour birdseed onto a plate so you cannot see the bottom of the plate
  • Roll the peanut butter-covered TP roll in bird seed until it’s fully covered.

Options for hanging:

–Hang on the end of a tree branch.

–Put a string through a punched hole and hang it on a branch.

–Use the pipe-cleaner with Cheerios to hang on a branch

Bottle Feeder – for older kids

 Supplies

  • One- 1 liter bottle of soda
  • One- 2 liter bottles of soda. (bottles should have straight bottom sections, rather than curved ones)
  • 5′ of thick wire, at least 2mm gauge.
  • Sharp scissors or x-acto knife
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Paint (acrylic or tempera)
  • Paint brushes
  • Wooden spoons (2-3)
  • Bird seed

Instructions

  • Remove the labels and all glue.
  • Save the bottle cap from the 2 Liter bottle.
  • Cut the 1 liter bottle at roughly the halfway point between where the neck widens out and the bottom of the bottle. Keep the lower portion of the bottle.
  • Cut the 2 liter bottle at the widest part of the neck.  Keep the upper/neck portion of the bottle.
  • Cut a 1.5-2″ hole in the side of the smaller bottle, roughly 1″ up from the top of the feet,  no less than 1/2″ away from the top edge.
  • Test the bigger bottle (this is the roof) over the smaller bottle (main part of house) If the top section looks too big, trim the edges so that the top part is shorter and looks more like a roof.
  • Use the hammer and nail to add 2 holes, on opposite sides of the smaller bottle.   They should be 1/2″ away from the top edge of the bottle but not on the same side as the entry hole.
  • Next add four holes in the bottle cap not too close to the edge of the cap.
  • Paint the bottle pieces and let dry a couple hours or until no longer wet.
  • Cut two pieces of the wire (about 2′ long) and thread it through the top of the bottle cap.  Continue to threat the wire through the outside of the smaller bottle and then back up through the next hole. Repeat for the other side with a second length of wire.
  • Making sure all of the wires ends are even, overlap their ends by about 2″. Twist the ends together and hang!


Best Books For Beginning Readers | Pediatric Therapy Tv

In today’s Webisode, an academic specialist introduces us to some of the best choices of books for children who are beginning to read.

To determine if your child is prepared to read, watch our previous Webisode

In this video you will learn:

  • What types of books are best to help children begin to read

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and
innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now, your host, here’s
Robyn.

Robyn: Hello. You are watching Pediatric Therapy TV, and I’m your host
Robyn, Ackerman. Today I’m sitting here with an academic specialist,
Elizabeth Galin. Elizabeth, can you tell us some great beginning reading
books?

Elizabeth: Absolutely. One of the best beginning reading books is the Bob
series. These are books that come in a package of ten, and they range from
pre-readers all the way up through second grade, working on different
sounds and they become more advanced as you move through.

My second choice is the We Both Read series, and the We Both Read series
has a page for parents to read, and then a page for the children to read.
So the child’s page has a more simple word or sentence, and the parents’
page allows you to get a more detailed story. It’s a really fun family
read.

The Flippa Word series is great as well. They work on three different word
families throughout the book, really bright pictures that allow the
children to address the different sounds. Just a really fun author for kids
of all ages is Mo Willems. He has the Piggie and Elephant series, and he
also has Pigeons on the Bus, great family reads.

Lastly is High Fly Guy for older kids. These books address some of the
needs of early readers, but they also arrange it into chapters, so older
kids feel like they’re really making some progress.

Robyn: All right, well thank you so much, Elizabeth, for bringing these,
and thank you to our viewers for watching. Remember, keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of mind
to your family with the best in educational programming. To subscribe to
our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit our website at
learnmore.me. That’s learnmore.me.

Developmental and Therapeutic Uses for Playdoh

There are so many common household items and children’s toys that have great therapeutic value when used or playedLittle girl playing Play-doh with in certain ways.  Playdoh may seem like an item that children use solely for creative play, but it can be a therapist’s and parent’s go-to activity that is both fun and extremely beneficial to a child’s development.

Developmental Skills that can be optimized through the use of Playdoh:

  • Hand Strength Whether your child is smashing the Playdoh into pancakes, squishing it so it explodes through their fingers, or using the Playdoh tools to create a spaghetti dinner, the muscles in the hand are constantly working and the Playdoh acts as a resistive force.  This is a great activity for kids who have handwriting difficulties, complain of getting tired while writing, don’t have a clearly defined hand dominance or have overall fine motor delays.
  • Bilateral Coordination Activities that target bilateral coordination and are fun to do at home may be difficult to come up with, but Playdoh is a great solution.  Many kids who have challenges with bilateral coordination often have difficulty with daily tasks like using a knife and fork to cut food and tying their shoes.  Kids can roll the Playdoh out into a flat “pancake-like” shape and then practice using a knife and fork to cut the food into small pieces.  This is a safe way to practice cutting foods as plastic utensil can be used and doesn’t waste food.  Cookie cutters or actual Playdoh toys with imprints of real food can also be used to add another layer to this activity.
  • Practicing Writing and Drawing Writing or drawing shapes in Playdoh is a great alternative to traditional writing activities; it may be more motivating for some kids who have difficulty with writing tasks while offering a resistive surface which improves hands strength at the same time.  Roll out Playdoh (modeling clay can be substituted for older kids who may benefit from a more resistive surface) onto a cookie sheet or similar surface and use a chopstick, pencil, or even the child’s finger to write letters.  For kids who are just learning to write or have a hard time with letter formation, shapes can be substituted, or an adult or older child can make a light impression of the letter and the child can trace using their full force.
  • Tactile Sensitivities For children  with tactile sensitivities, they are often fearful of or hesitant to touch a variety of textures.  Playdoh is a great transition item to use to bridge the gap between common firm/hard surfaces which are often “comfortable” and the textures which a child is sensitive to, such a soft, sticky and/or mushy to name a few.  Playdoh is easy to clean up and can be used in a variety of ways (cookie cutters, incorporate it with a child’s trains or action figures, have a tea party, etc), making it the perfect tool to introduce to a child who may have tactile sensitivities.  A great way to progress after becoming comfortable with store bought Playdoh is to find a recipe online for making your own Playdoh at home. These are often quick and easy recipes using common household items and can usually be colored in a fun way; some are even edible making this a total sensory experience and a lot of fun!

Playdoh has so many uses besides being a fun and creative tool for play for kids, but because it is fun and so versatile, it is an invaluable tool for working on therapeutic goals at home. There really isn’t a wrong way to use Playdoh as long as your kids are having fun and using their hands to explore.

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Using the Fall Season to Work on your child’s Developmental Skills!

The weather is changing and children are back to school.  The Fall season provides opportunities for many activities to address your child’s occupational therapy needs.Children playing with autumn leaves

The activities listed below work on a variety of developmental skills and are appropriate for children of all ages:

  1. Rake leaves- provides heavy work and builds strength and endurance
  2. Carve pumpkins- addresses hand strength and fine motor skills
  3. Roll in a pile of leaves- provides heavy work and vestibular input
  4. Fall cooking and baking- decorate cupcakes or bake an apple pie by stirring the batter or placing sprinkles on the frosting. These activities work the small muscles of the hands and enhance fine motor precision.
  5. Leaf rubbing (place a leaf under a piece of paper, rub a crayon over the leaf until the image appears on the paper)- addresses visual skills and fine motor skills

Your children and whole family will be eager to engage in these fun Fall activities!

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7 Reasons to Attend NSPT’s New Bucktown Clinic Open house!

The Chicago Clinic has recently expanded to a new and improved space! We would like to celebrate and introduce ourselves by opening the doors to the community. We are so excited to share our new space with both our existing families and also hope to meet some new faces!

New Clinic Open House

  1. It is hard to find fun for the whole family, without paying a high price in the city. The open house is a FREE event that you can bring your family and friends to!
  2. There will be endless entertaining fun for your children of all ages, including a magician, face painter, balloon maker, and games.
  3. Kids will have an opportunity to explore their creative side by making various crafts!
  4. A sensory table will provide an outlet for the children to explore their senses while engaging with other kids and having a blast. There will also be Occupational Therapists to answer any questions regarding various sensory strategies and tools.
  5. Parents will have an opportunity to speak with experts in fields such as speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy, as well as counselors, academic specialists, and more.
  6. Learn more about North Shore Pediatric Therapy’s multidisciplinary approach to treatment.
  7. Check out the new state- of- the- art facility, with over 4,000 square feet of therapy rooms and equipment.

Event Details:

Date: Saturday, September 15th
Time: 11:00-2:00
Location: 1657 W. Cortland St. (corner of Cortland and Paulina; 1 block south of Armitage)
Chicago, Il 60622

For more information regarding this event please contact Lauren at 877-486-4140 or LaurenW@NSPT4Kids.com

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How to Maximize a Playdate for a Child with Speech Delays | Pediatric Therapy Tv

In today’s webisode, a pediatric speech pathologist explains ways to help a child with speech delays play well with others. She provides useful strategies to encourage communications and respect between the children. For speech game ideas read our blog “5 Board Games That Promote Speech-Language Skills

  • The right timing for a playdate
  • How to introduce a speech delayed child to a regular child
  • What signs to look out for as the playdate progresses

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and
innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now, your host, here’s
Robyn.

Robyn: Hello, and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I’m your host, Robyn
Ackerman, and I’m standing here today with Megan Grant, a Pediatric Speech
and Language Pathologist. Megan, can you give our viewers some tips on how
to maximize a play date with a child with delayed speech?

Megan: Sure. A play date for a child with delayed speech and language
skills isn’t going to look that much different than that of a play date for
a child with typically developing skills. However, there are some key
things to keep in mind. Make sure that you time it right. Make sure that
the play date is scheduled after naptime and after mealtime, so that the
kids are well rested, their bellies are fully and they are ready to play
and interact with each other.

Also you want to make sure to keep it brief. Sometimes, 45 minutes to an
hour is only what the kids will tolerate in the beginning, so don’t worry
that the play date should be three or four hours at a time. You definitely
need to make sure that you keep it short, especially in the beginning. Kids
will work up that way. Also, introduce a friend who’s familiar to your
child. That’s definitely going to be a key as well. Someone who is from
music class or from school is going to be more accustomed to interacting
with your child, and your child is likely going to be able to interact with
them much better than if you introduce someone who is entirely new to them.

When you do have a child who has delayed speech and language, you can pre-
teach the other child and say, “You know, Billy’s still learning how to
talk.” And let them know that that’s OK. Sometimes, kids are very
receptive and they pick up very easily on the nuances of other children, so
that’s definitely going to help as well. Keep in mind that you are going to
have to provide models, more so than with kids who are typically
developing. Kids who have delayed speech and language aren’t necessarily
going to initiate and maintain play as easily, so you’re going to have to
jump in there and let them resolve some conflicts, but definitely give them
the support that they’re going to need. And just have fun. Watch for signs
of frustration. If your child starts to break down, you definitely want to
jump in there and you can feel free to end the play date sooner than later.

Robyn: All right. Well, thank you so much, Megan, and thank you to our
viewers. And remember, keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of mind
to your family with the best in educational programming. To subscribe to
our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit our website at
learnmore.me. That’s learnmore.me.

6 Ways Aquatic Therapy Can Help Your Child

Aquatic therapy is a wonderful activity for children and adults of all ages. If your child likes the bath and is motivated by water, aquatic therapy is aqua therapygreat way to build their skills and confidence.

Below are 6 ways that aquatic therapy can help your child reach their full potential:

1. Gains in range of motion:

After an injury, such as a broken leg or an ankle sprain, joint movement is often limited by swelling or decreased strength to muscles. Aquatic therapy pools are generally set to a comfortable 80-90 degrees, which is warmer then a normal pool. Using the warm temperature of the water, joints will be able to be more flexible and stretch to new limits.

2. Increased strength:

Once proper range of motion is achieved at a joint, proper strengthening is needed in order for the muscle to perform well at its new length. Using the principle of resistance, muscles are able to gain strength by performing simple actions in the water, such as lifting a leg to the side of the body.

3. Achievement of gross motor milestones:

Children have an easier time completing gross motor milestones, such as rolling, walking and jumping in the water secondary to buoyancy principles. For example, a child with cerebral palsy may learn to roll in the water with the assist of a therapist and the buoyancy of the water. Once the nervous and musculoskeletal system in the child’s body learn how to roll in the water, it will be easier to learn on a mat table in the clinic and then transfer to rolling in bed at home.

4. Increased tactile input:

For kids with sensory processing disorders, the water can provide the deep pressure input that they crave. This deep pressure and overall increased tactile input will help a child who has difficulty processing sensory input transfer into a more organized, calm child.

5. Helps with breath support:

For kids with speech issues, aquatic therapy can be very helpful. By using techniques such as holding their breath under water, deep breathing and by raising their arms up and bringing them down with the resistance of water can all help with proper breath support for speaking.

6. Better social interaction:

Completing gross motor activities can often help to decrease social anxiety. Often times, jumping into the water or swimming across the length of the pool can encourage speaking in children who have anxiety. Kids can also learn a swimming stroke from watching each other, share toys and participate in fun games together in the pool setting.

Aquatic therapy can be a great way to help your child reach their full potential. Not only can it help with gross motor skills, but can also help with speech and social interaction. So, if your child is motivated by the water, encourage them to jump on in!

Have aquatic games you would like to share? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Bossy Girls: How To Manage Your Daughter’s “Diva-ness”

Bossiness can be perceived in different ways. Some people see it as being rude and controlling. While others view it as an bossy girlindividual knowing what they want and standing up for it. No matter how it is viewed, most parents do not want their children to be bossy. Many parents fear that their children will lose friends if they are bossy and absorbed only in themselves.

3 suggestions to help you manage your bossy daughter:

1. Talk About It.

Help your daughter understand what it means to be a good friend. Provide situations in which she has been a good friend by cooperating, appropriately playing, and making decisions with her friends. Also, discuss situations in which she has not been a good friend by acting bossy and controlling situations.

Help her realize that being bossy and controlling is not okay and have her identify more appropriate ways to interact with her friends. For example, stress the importance of listening to her friends and sharing and taking turns on what they want to do. Cooperation is another skill that can be taught, as well as teaching her to make suggestions and provide choices rather than just being demanding.

2. Practice.

After you discussed more appropriate ways for your daughter to play and interact with her friends, you should role-play different scenarios. Provide different situations in which she can either be a cooperative friend or a bossy friend. Have your daughter explain what she would do in the different situations. Throughout these role-playing exercises, provide your daughter guidance and feedback.

3. In the Moment.

When your daughter is playing with her friends, you want to be able to catch her in the moment. When she is appropriately playing with her friends and being a good friend, provide praise for these nice interactions. If you observe her being bossy, pull her aside and let her know that she is being bossy and not being a good friend and explain why.

Instead of calling your daughter out in front of her friends, it is best to talk to her in a different room or even whisper in her ear. If she continues the behavior after you bring it to her attention, give her a time-out. Let her know that when she is ready to be a good friend she can go back to playing with her friends. While in time-out, you can have her write an apology letter to her friends or after the time-out, you can have her verbally apologize to her friends.

If your daughter gives attitude toward you, let her know that the way she is acting is not okay and have her restate what she said in a nicer tone/manner. If she continues to be bossy or rude do not grant her request until she can make the request in an appropriate manner.

Teaching Turn Taking

While sitting at the park you begin to wonder why it appears to be so effortless for other kids to enjoy playing and interacting together when your child has a difficult time with what seems to be such an easy activity. Relax, we have all Kids taking turnsbeen there.

Teaching turn taking is a challenge for all kids and is even more difficult for kids on the autism spectrum. I say it is difficult but NOT impossible!

Strategies to help your child engage in turn taking activities:

Rule-based games:

There are several types of activities that involve turn taking. Rule based games are simply just board games. This is probably one of the easiest games to use to teach turn taking. It is important to teach your child the rules of the game and more importantly the outcome of the game. Since these games are predictable, children tend to understand it better because there are no surprises and they know the expectation.

You can also adapt these types of games depending on your child. If your child has difficulty with fine motor skills, you may choose different game pieces to use. There are several Iphone/Ipad applications called TurnTaker that helps prompt your child to know that it is their turn. Rule based games are also a great tool to help facilitate reciprocal conversation and appropriate use language.

Pretend Play:

Another easy way to teach language to all children is through the use of pretend play. During this time, most kids take on different roles and use these roles to develop a theme. It will provide your child with multiple opportunities to use the language that they are acquiring. It also gives them control over what happens next.

Once a “script” has been developed, it is important for you to begin to change parts of the script or involve others.

Cooperative Activities:

This is most commonly seen at schools or homes with other peers/siblings. I like to teach this by having two or three children working on the same project, such as a painting-but only allowing them access to one or two paintbrushes. This forces the children to ask each other for the brushes. You can also teach this by giving each child a puzzle to complete, but giving the pieces to another friend in which they have to ask each other for. If your child is non-verbal, you can teach them to point or use PECS pictures to mand for the pieces.

Tips for turn-taking activities:

  1. Make sure to use social stories whenever possible. Social stories are dialogues that are easy for the child to read and follow. It should be short, detailed, and specific.
  2. Modeling. You can use yourself or other peers to model the correct behavior.
  3. Visuals. Use visuals to help your child understand what is expected of him/her. It can also be used to help teach the rules of the game. Example: If playing Guess Who, you can make a picture prompting them with questions to ask (picture of boy and girl, brown hair vs. blonde hair etc).

Feel free to leave a comment with your turn-taking strategies and stories.