Author Archives: Easterseals

Make your home a playground!

by Melody Katz

Are your children getting antsy? Are you missing your favorite PT and OT? While we are all staying healthy there are simple things you can do at home to have fun, work off some of your child’s energy and best of all help their motor development!

For children not yet sitting:

  • Children NEED movement! Roll across the bed to the right and then to the left several times till the giggles abound. If your child is hesitant of movement roll them slowly one time each way and increase as they tolerate and enjoy the movement.
  • Put blankets and pillows in a hard square or rectangular laundry basket (or one of the many Amazon boxes we all have) and lie your child down and move them side to side, forward and back and around in circles. Make sure you spin to the right AND to the left stopping in between briefly.
  • If your child is light enough, lie them in a sheet or blanket and with the help of a friend or family member, swing them.
  • TUMMY TIME, TUMMY TIME, TUMMY TIME! Yes, it is important! Kids love to look at their beautiful selves in the mirror so put a small mirror on the floor or bed while they are on their tummies. If this is hard for them roll a small receiving blanket and put it under your child’s chest to help them lift up higher. Lie on YOUR tummy on the floor facing them. YOU are their best motivator and toy. Sing and be silly!!

For children who are sitting, but not yet crawling:

  • All of the above activities still work for your child. They can now sit up in the box or basket while spinning to help improve their core strength and balance.
  • Use that empty diaper box or Amazon box with toys on it and help your child play while kneeling.
  • If your child is starting to get on their hands and knees sing silly songs and encourage them to rock! Row, Row, Row Your Boat works well for this. Be silly and think of more lyrics!!

Row, row, row your boat

gently down the stream,

Mommy’s going crazy now,

listen to her Scream.

Ahhhhhhhh………………….

For Crawlers:

  • The above movement activities are still fun and good for them!
  • Make a crawling obstacle course! Put folded blankets, rolled towels and pillows on the floor for your child to crawl over! If you have a big box, open at both ends and let your child crawl through it! Good luck keeping up!!

For Walkers:

  • All the movement activities listed above will still be fun and good for development.
  • Make obstacle courses for walkers

Using pillows, fold a towel or blanket to a balance beam shape (a long rectangle 4”-8” wide”), stepstools, big textbooks, different sized boxes with some soup cans inside for stability for different sized steps, pile pillows on the floor to make a mountain and climb up to the sofa or bed. Do you have bubble wrap and other textured packing materials? They are really fun to walk on with bare feet!!

Most of all have fun, be silly, laugh and love! This too shall pass!! We miss you too!!

Create Fun and Engaging Activities with Common Household Items

by Megan Guthrie

Don’t throw out the trash just yet. You can use common household items to create fun and engaging activities for your kids. Plenty of us have stocked up on common household items such as toilet paper, and paper towels. You might even have sponges, Q-tips, dish soap, eggs, milk, oatmeal, rice, sponges, napkins, Popsicle sticks, shoe boxes, cotton balls, tape, markers, pasta, cornstarch, and food dye. What if I told you that if you had all of these items, even some of these items that you could create some pretty awesome home activities for you and your preschooler to engage in together. See the list below:

Colored Milk Art

Pour some milk on a plate, use 1-2 drops of food coloring, dip the Q-tip in the dish soap and then in the milk, watch what happens! You will need:

-Milk

-Food coloring

-Q-tip

-Dish soap

Dish Soap Silly Putty

Mix together 2tbs. of corn starch and 1.5 tbs of dish soap, stir for 10 seconds. You will need:

-dish soap

-corn starch

What to do with tape

-Create hopscotch

-Create a racetrack on the floor

-Create a sensory path

What to do with napkins

Have your preschooler draw a picture on one side of the napkin, then fold it over so that you cover the picture. Place in water and watch the drawing appear.

What to do with rice/oatmeal

Place some rice on a place, then have your preschooler practice drawing shapes, letter, and numbers in the rice.

What to do with a shoebox and Popsicle sticks

Cut small slits in the top of the shoe box, enough to place a Popsicle stick through. Under each slit write letters/ numbers/ shapes/ colors. On the Popsicle stick write letters/numbers/colors. Have your child match.

What to do with sponges

Cut your sponge into different shapes and use it as a tool to paint. Paint too messy? Don’t worry, you can have your child dip their sponge in some water and “paint” making shapes with their sponge outside on the sidewalk or driveway.

What to do with an egg carton and cotton balls

Work on counting with 1:1 correspondence, have your child place one cotton ball in each egg place and count as they go.

What to do with empty milk containers

Set up empty milk cartons (at least 3) in a triangle formation, then get a ball or something round. Roll the ball towards the milk cartons and try to knock them down. Have fun bowling!

What to do with empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls

-Tape the empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls to a wall to create a large funnel. Have your child place cotton balls in the tube at the top and watch the cotton ball trickle through them, all the way to the ground.

-Make binoculars by taping two together and play I Spy around the house of outside.

-Cover and tape one side of the empty paper towel or toilet paper roll closed with paper or another material, fill the roll half way with rice, then cover and tape the other side of the roll with paper. Now shake. You have a maraca, make some music!

What to do with uncooked pasta

Get out your strainer. Get out your uncooked spaghetti or angel hair pasta. Have your child use their fine motor skills to place the pasta through the holes in the strainer. (You can also do this with pipe cleaners)

What to do with an empty oatmeal container

-Take the top off and use the container as an easy put in activity.

-Keep the top on and cut a slit in the top, practice fine motor skills with coins by placing the coins through the slit in the top.

Circle Time

by Megan Guthrie

This video of Circle Time was created to hopefully bring a sense of normalcy and calmness to our students. In the video we review our Circle Time schedule: Review Rules, Say Hello, Review Emotions, Read a Book, Engage in a Music and Movement Activity, and lastly say Goodbye. The goals for Circle Time are to establish expectations and create structure, review social and emotional skills , as well as cognitive skills.

 

Music Therapy on Soundcloud

Music therapy is fun for everyone and familiarity can be soothing in a time of uncertainty.  That’s why we are so excited that Easterseals music therapist Amanda is sharing some of her songs on Soundcloud. The songs can be played through the website or app and she has made them available for download.

Grab the kids and have fun with a little music therapy!

 

 

Family Support Video 2: Setting Rules and Expectations

by Danielle Franchini-Muir, MS ED. BCBA

Video #2 in series of positive behavior shorts for parents!

Additional Resources:

First/Then Boards:

https://connectability.ca/visuals-engine/firstthen-board-popup/

http://www.autismcircuit.net/tool/first-then-card

Visual Schedules:

https://theinspiredtreehouse.com/how-to-make-a-visual-schedule/

http://www.victoriesnautism.com/schedule-activity-and-task-cards.html

https://challengingbehavior.cbcs.usf.edu/docs/backpack/BackpackConnection_routines_visual-schedules.pdf

Movement Breaks/Activities :

 

How to Make Good Use of Your Time While School Is Closed

by Sandy Masayko

READ with your child! 

The most important thing is to have fun.

  • Take time to talk about the pictures and ask questions of your child. What do you think is going to happen? Who is doing what? Where are they? What are those? Do we have some of those? What do you think is going to happen next?
  • You don’t have to read the story word for word.
  • Make your own books. Make up stories about your child, your family and pets.  Use family photos or draw simple stick figures; download pictures from the Internet.

Here’s a great website for guidance on reading with a young child:

https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/304-how-to-introduce-toddlers-and-babies-to-books

SING with your child!

Your voice is the most beautiful voice in the world to your child.  You don’t need be Beyoncé to sing with your child.

And, do you know that singing rhyming songs helps to get your child ready to read?

  • All the old favorites, from ABC’s, Twinkle Twinkle, Wheels on the Bus, Happy Birthday, Old MacDonald to BINGO are good. Think of songs you liked as a child and sing those.
  • Personalize songs by putting your child’s name in the song instead of the usual name.
  • Spell out your child’s name by singing it to a favorite tune. For example, sing the Happy Birthday song with your child’s letters.

Here are some more ideas:

http://www.hanen.org/Helpful-Info/Fun-Activities/How-to-Sing-with-Babies-The-Hanen-Way.aspx

COOK with your child!

Cooking can be play—show your child how you make foods.  This will take some planning for safety, and you don’t want to be in a rush.

  • Show your child how you open, pour, chop, cut, slice, stir, bake, fry & more. Talk about these things as do them.
  • If your child can help stir or participate in any way, let them help.
  • Make Jell-O and see what happens if you leave some outside of the refrigerator, and what happens if you put some in the freezer. Talk to your child about the changes that happen.  This is food science!
  • Have taste tests: try out new tastes and talk about sour, sweet, bitter, salty, crunchy, smooth, soft.

Here is a website with more ideas:

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/Cooking-With-Your-Children.aspx

Have fun and let us know about your favorite activities. We will be waiting to hear from you!