Friday, August 30, 2013

Minion cupcakes

Here is a cute idea for cupcakes that a mom of one of my clients sent in as a birthday treat.  Minion cupcakes.  The kids in class loved these cupcakes. The minion's head is a twinky with marshmallow eyes and icing mouth and hair. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Here's a way to make bowling at home different and fun.  Take empty water bottles, peal the labels and put glow sticks in them!  Wait until dark, then roll a small ball at them. You may want to keep the lids so you can put a small amount of water in the bottom to stabilize them a little more and to make it a little more difficult to topple over. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Appropriate shoes for school

School has started, or is going to start in the next few days/weeks.  So, I am going to pass along some words from my Physical Therapist colleagues- Please have your child wear appropriate footwear to school!  Preschool and elementary children spend parts of every day on the playground or in a gym.  So, please put safe and functional foot wear on your child.  Appropriate foot wear includes sneakers (that fit- don't buy up a few sizes thinking to save money by wearing them longer- never works since kids ruin sneakers quickly) and tied, rubber-soled shoes.  While little girls in flip flops or dressy shoes may look cute, it is not safe for them to wear these types of shoes to school.  Dressy shoes are slippery and can cause your daughter to slip and fall, or to hang back and not run and play (This goes for boys and dressy shoes, as well).  The dangers of flip flops, for both boys and girls, are self-explanatory.  Although I think crocs are on the way out, there are still children wearing them to school  Some schools have rules banning these ill-fitting, non-supportive shoes and the PTs I work with agree that they are not good, supportive shoes for children to wear to school.  I feel that Crocs have there place- maybe to wear to swim practice or around the house, or on errands, but not at school.  If it's raining and you want your child to wear rain boots to school (or snow boots in winter), be sure to send in sneakers for him/her to change into. 
Part of your child's education is gross motor (in elementary and preschools) and you don't want to jeopardize this essential element of his education by allowing him/her to wear inappropriate footwear.  Gross motor allows that movement break that young children need  to fully function in the classroom.  Research has shown an increase in attention and brain function if gross motor breaks are worked into the school day.  So, allow your child to participate in the offered gross motor times so that he/she will function to the best of his/her ability in the classroom.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ride Bikes

My daughter has been wanting to ride her bike every night now that it is getting cooler and I realized just how great an activity it is.  I remember riding my bike all over the neighborhood and beyond when I was growing up.  The neighbor kids and I would ride almost every day.  But it is not quite as popular an activity now with all the other activities out there to entertain our kids.  Our kids have so many activities and toys to choose from that they just don't ride their bikes as much anymore.  Kids have electric scooters, skateboards, video games, all the i stuff (pads, pods, phones),  tv and all the other electronic devices.  But bike riding offers many benefits that these other things just don't offer, such as coordination, physical endurance, visual motor control and socialization if done with a group.  We hear it all the time that kids don't get outside to play like they should.  I say get them out riding their bikes.  And, parents, go with them!  We all could use a little extra exercise, and it is great bonding for you and your child. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013


I remember playing jacks all the time as a young girl.  I could play for hours, either by myself, or with a friend.  I never tired of it.  But kids these days have other amusements and, I fear, jacks has become less appealing.  Jacks are a great game for kids of all ages.  Playing Jacks works on  eye-hand coordination, counting skills, problem solving, and  fine motor control.   Plus, it entertains your child!
By the way: I didn't notice the "W" sit of my child until after I had posted this (my PT friends would chastise me for allowing this).

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Motor Planning and Reading Fluency

Well, this was one interesting solution that a parent and I came up with for a struggling with reading fluency fifth-grader who happened to be an excellent baton twirler... tape a passage to read on the wall and have her do a repetitive, easy rhythmic pattern with her baton.  Try reading along to the cadence of the pattern.  It worked quite nicely for her.

Promising research articles have begun to show a correlation between the two.  Try encouraging your struggling reader to do it while walking on a treadmill, pushing himself back and forth on a scooter board, or rocking in a rocking chair.  Think out of the box on this one, but no bike riding, unless of course it's stationary!  Let us know any creative ways you find to help your struggling readers with movement!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Just how much sleep do children need?

So, after our last post, we've been asked, "just how much sleep do children need?"  Good question, and, while sleep needs do vary between individual children, there are suggested amounts of sleep recommended per age.
  For a child who is 3-6 years old, the recommended amount of sleep is 10-12 hours/day.  This amount can be broken up between night time sleep and naps (for those that still nap).
  For a child who is 7-12 years old, the recommended amount of sleep is 10-11 hours/day.  That means a bed time between 9-10.
  For a child who is 12-18 years old, the recommended amount of sleep is 8-9 hours/day.

In today's busy world, it gets difficult to ensure that your child gets the sleep he/she needs.  Between parents working,  sports schedules and homework, the nights get later and later.  But, it is essential that kids get the sleep they need for both their mental and physical well being.  To perform at their highest possible potential, kids need to recharge.  That means getting enough sleep.  So, it is the parents' job to do everything in their power to allow their children to get the rest that they need.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Back to school preparation

Ok, I know it seemed REALLY short and you are not quite ready for it to end, but, summer is almost over and the kids will soon be going back to school.  Usually by this time of summer I start to hear moms starting to say that it's time for the kids to get back to school because the kids are starting to drive their moms crazy. While summer is fun and unscheduled (for the most part), kids need structure and to know what to expect each day. About this time of the summer, siblings start to argue and fight more (too much together time) and parents get tired of entertaining the kids all day.  August seems to be the time for school prep.  Parents take their kids to the stores to shop for school supplies and clothes.  Kids get lists of all the things they will need for the year.  But, it's not just buying supplies that parents need to do to get their kids ready to go back to school- it's getting the kids themselves ready, too.

It's only a couple of weeks until the kids are back in school, and it is time to get their bodies adjusted again to the early to bed, early to rise routine of school.  Typically, parents allow their kids some slack in the bedtime and morning routines over the summer.  That's ok, but now it's time to get them ready to achieve in school.  Don't go cold turkey on the first day of school- start now to make  their bedtime earlier.  Wake your child up earlier in the morning, gradually getting close to the time he/she will need to get up for school.   It will take a couple of weeks to do this so start now.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Make an Ocean

Make an ocean!  Have your child paint a couple of pieces of paper and staple them together to make an ocean.  Then have your child draw fish and crabs and other ocean creatures.  Color or paint them, cut them out  and glue them on the water.  He/she will have his/her own ocean to hang up in his/her room.  Be creative and make all kinds of sea life.  You could look at ocean books to give your child some ideas.