Posts By :

PTN Chicago

New Year’s Resolutions – Ways to Work On Your Child’s Development Without the Pressure
New Year’s Resolutions – Ways to Work On Your Child’s Development Without the Pressure 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

Happy New Year from all of us at Pediatric Therapy Network! The new year is the perfect time to reflect on the past year while also setting goals and resolutions for the year ahead. The most common New Year’s resolutions that we typically hear from our PTN parents is that they would like to make more time to work on their child’s therapeutic goals in order to support their development, but struggle to find the time during their busy day to day lives.

2020 brought a new and unique challenge to this equation as work and school moved to virtual platforms and everyone was at home together.  Working from home while also helping your child with their virtual learning and therapy can be overwhelming – trust us, we get it! Parents have a lot on their plates, which is why the therapy team at PTN tries to provide therapeutic strategies that can be easily incorporated into families busy schedules. Believe it or not, many physical, occupational, and speech therapy activities can be incorporated into your daily routines, allowing you to work on your child’s development without the pressure. 

With that said, here are some of our favorite ways to work on your child’s development without becoming overwhelmed or stressed out:

Get Your Child Involved in Cooking Meals

There are so many opportunities for your child to get involved while you’re cooking!  Cooking together is a great way to help support your child’s development and they’ll love being your sous chef. Some ways to get your child involved include asking them questions about the food that you’re cooking such as, “what item is this?” or “what color is this?”, allowing them to help mix and measure ingredients, or having your little one grab the ingredients that you need – the possibilities are endless!

Burn Off Some Energy

During your next workout, get your kiddo involved and have them do their own “mini workout” in the process. One way to do this is to set up an obstacle course for them with items around the house such as buckets, pillows, and hula hoops, and have them try to beat their best time over and over again until your workout is complete.

Another option would be to turn on a fun music playlist or video that features fun songs for kids, and have a dance party together! The best part about this activity is that it will allow your child to burn off some of their energy in the process. 

Clean Up Around the House

We’ve found that little kids love to help with chores. It gives them the chance to feel grown up and they love the fact that they get to work alongside their mom/dad. Some easy tasks you can give them that include sweeping, wiping down the table, sorting silverware, feeding the family pet, vacuuming, or cleaning up their toys. Our favorite part about this activity is that it will take some stress off of you now that you’ll have an extra pair of hands to help.

Times are tough for many families right now, and the last thing you want to do is put more stress on your shoulders. After all, you truly are doing a wonderful job! 

Follow us on our social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest) all month long for more suggestions on ways to work on your child’s development without the pressure, or feel free to contact us at any time. Our team of pediatric therapists are here to support both you and your child in any way that we can.

Toy Takeover 2020 – 5 Fantastic Learning and Development Toys
Toy Takeover 2020 – 5 Fantastic Learning and Development Toys 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

December is here!  Can you believe it?  When people say “the year crept up on them”, it really rings true for 2020.  While there was a ton of instability this year, one thing that remains stable is our annual tradition of our December Toy Takeover. There are many wonderful toys that are designed to help with your child’s learning and development, including five we really love for their versatility.

Not only will these five particular toys provide hours of endless fun for your little ones, but they will also help to work on all areas of your child’s development from gross motor and fine motor skills to speech and cognition. The best part? All of the toys featured in our December blog can be purchased at local small businesses in the Chicago area.  At PTN, we believe that shopping local matters and we encourage everyone to support as many small businesses as possible. This especially applies to this year as many of these businesses have struggled during the pandemic.

We’ve decided to feature two local stores in this year’s blog – Building Blocks Toy Store, and Timeless Toys. If you’re interested in purchasing from Building Blocks Toy Store, below is a promotion that they’re currently having for $5 local Chicago deliveries:

With that being said, let’s get onto the list:

Squigz

Squigz are one of the most versatile toys on the market. Not only can your child suction cup them to basically any surface around your home, but they’ll also be able to channel their creativity as they build cool structures and unique objects by connecting the Squigz together. Your kiddos will love gripping, sticking, creating, and separating their fun new toy, and you’ll love the fact that Squigz are safe and easy to clean.

Shape Sorting Cube 

We love to use this toy during therapy sessions and now your kiddo can use it at home, too! This vibrant shape sorting cube is wonderful for helping your child learn their shapes, colors, and sorting, while also working on developing their fine motor skills and gripping. You can even start early with this toy by removing the top and having your child practice putting objects in and out of a container.

The set features 12 colorful shapes that your child will enjoy dropping into the provided wooden cube over and over again. Once they’ve figured out where each shape goes, simply have them dump out all of the pieces and repeat the process.

LED Hula Hoop

Did you know that there are plenty of things that you can do with a hula hoop besides actually hula hooping? Yes, really! Here are some of our favorites:

  • Hold onto the sides and sing, Ring Around the Rosey (the hoop can assist with side stepping, weight shifting or transitions to and from the floor if that is a goal for your child).
  • Turn the hoop so that it is standing straight up to create a tunnel that your child has to squat down and walk through.
  • Make a choo-choo train by having the leader in the hoop while others hold the back and take your train for a spin through the house.
  • Create a “pit” to jump or step in and out of.
  • Make a bean bag toss game and use the hoop for your target.
  • Go on a scavenger hunt and place all of your collected items in the hoop.
  • Have a dance contest and incorporate the hoop into your dance routines.

Stomp Rockets

Get ready.. Get set.. Blast off! Stomp Rockets are the perfect gift for those kids who are always full of energy.  Your child will love setting up their glow in the dark rocket onto the launch pad, stomping as hard as they can, and then watching as it soars over 100 feet in the air. They’ll be entertained for hours on end as they keep trying to send their rocket higher up into the sky than the time before, while also working on their coordination and balance in the process.

Fubbles

Bubbles that have a no-spill design and come in a travel sized container? Count us in!  The container is designed so that the Fubbles will not spill out, even when tipped upside down so you can let your kiddos blow bubbles indoors without worrying about the mess! Pop the bubbles by pointing, reaching, clapping, or stomping, and practice counting and turn-taking along the way.  Each set of Fubbles comes in either a red, yellow, or blue container, and contains a bubble wand and non-toxic bubble liquid.  


Believe it or not, we’re just getting started with our Toy Takeover recommendations this holiday season. Make sure to sign up for our newsletter for more great toy ideas, and be sure to follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest) as we’ll be sharing even more suggestions throughout the entire month of December.  On behalf of the entire team at PTN, we wish you and your families the happiest of holidays!

An Attitude of Gratitude Amidst 2020’s Challenges
An Attitude of Gratitude Amidst 2020’s Challenges 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

2020 has been a year of extreme highs and lows for most of us. For the first time in our lives, we’ve had to navigate a global pandemic that, even now, remains unstable. We’ve seen uncertainty every which way we’ve looked. From dear friends and family members being hospitalized due to Covid, to the small businesses we frequent having to close their doors. Now, we’re struggling to figure out schooling and what the rest of the year will look like as flu season nears. What will 2021 look like?

Perhaps the hardest part is being steadfast for our children. Our kids count on us to have everything under control, to provide them with a deep sense of security, and to show them by example that “everything is OK.”  Even when it’s not.  We’ve seen so many of our families bravely take on this pandemic and make dramatic changes almost overnight.  As if being the parent of a special needs child isn’t challenging enough, we’ve had to throw into the mix virtual therapy, completely new routines, and an entirely new way of living life.

The PTN team deeply empathizes with the challenges our parents and families have had to navigate.  We know this time has not been easy.  We know that each of you are trying your very best when the world seems like it is at its very worst.  We know that you’re tired, losing sleep, emotionally exhausted, and looking for hope anywhere you can find it.  We know this because we are navigating challenges too… but our plan is to navigate every obstacle with you!  

One way in which we hope to overcome the struggles of 2020 is by cultivating an attitude of gratitude.  We want to find the light wherever we can and we want you to know that our team experiences so much joy and sees so much light every time we work with you and your children.  Thank you!

“It’s not happiness that brings us gratitude, it’s gratitude that brings us happiness.” – Unknown

These words are powerful and they are true.  With this message in mind, and the hope of bringing those who mean the most to us a moment of joy, we want to take this time to express our deep gratitude:

Thank you PTN Kids!

First and foremost, we are grateful during this holiday season to be able to continue working with such incredible children. The positive outlook and hard work they bring each and every day is inspiring, and we are so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of their growth.  We are so proud of how they have overcome so much during this past year and believe they are the epitome of resilience.  

Thank You PTN Parents: We Could Not Do This Without You!

Not only are our PTN kids special to us, but our PTN families are equally as important. We couldn’t do our job without your support.  We truly value the relationships we have with you as we work toward shared goals.  We know these times have been difficult and we know you may feel like the world is on your shoulders.  We want you to know we recognize all the sacrifices you’ve made and think the world of you.  

Thank You to Our Incredible Staff!

Our PTN therapists are truly the best! Thank you for coming together as a team to support one another as you have had to learn how to navigate entirely new situations, like providing therapy virtually or in masks and face shields.  Your willingness to adapt and your desire to serve children is awe-inspiring.  Know that you’ve had such an impact on the lives of so many children and your dedication has not gone unnoticed!

Thank You to Family & Friends!

We want to say thank you to our own family members and friends for helping us get through 2020.  Your support and guidance have been invaluable (even if over FaceTime).  Thank you to our immediate family members for sharing your space with us as we have had to adjust to working and learning from home together.  We feel so lucky to have you in our lives!

As we move toward the end of the year, we want to assure you that we will continue to do our very best to provide not only exceptional care to every child and family we work with, but also emotional support.  We will get through this together!

The Benefits of Physical Therapy: Improving Your Child’s Development in a Home Setting
The Benefits of Physical Therapy: Improving Your Child’s Development in a Home Setting 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

Physical therapy has been used for many years to help both adults and children with items such as treatment and rehab for chronic conditions, preventative care, injuries, and so much more. It has the power to change so many lives in a positive manner, and it can truly make a difference when it comes to helping your child improve strength, stability, and confidence in order to meet their motor milestones and engage with family and friends. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many families whose children work with a physical therapist have had to make the transition from in-person therapy to teletherapy which is new for a lot of people. If you’re considering telehealth services but  are nervous that  your child isn’t going to get the most out of these therapy sessions there’s no need to worry! With a focus on parent education and coaching, our teletherapy sessions have been very successful and can be just as effective as in-person therapy.  Please contact us directly if you’d like to learn more!  

With that said, and seeing as October is National Physical Therapy Month, we wanted to share some of the benefits of physical therapy for your child (especially while working on their skills in a home setting), along with some fun physical therapy related activities that you can do with your kiddos:

What Are Some of the Benefits of Physical Therapy For Children?

Though there are many benefits of physical therapy for your child, here are some of the main benefits:

  • Strengthens muscles
  • Builds endurance
  • Improves balance and coordination
  • Increases range of motion
  • Supports achievement of motor milestones and overall mobility skills 

How Can a Physical Therapist Help a Child Who is Demonstrating Developmental Delays?

A physical therapist will be able to assess your child’s physical development to determine if gross motor delays are present. They will explain what factors are contributing to these delays and work with you to come up with a plan to improve these areas. In addition to a detailed evaluation, this plan will include activities that you can incorporate into your child’s daily routine to help support their development.  

How Can Therapy in a Home Setting be Beneficial to Children? 

Children thrive in their skill development when they are in a place that they feel safe, happy, and comfortable. For most children, this place is usually their own house. They tend to be more focused, determined, and excited to improve their skills while at home because they are familiar with their surroundings, and they are around the people they love most – their family! It is also easier for caregivers to carry out home exercise activities when they are incorporated into their daily routines. 

What Are Some Fun Gross MotorActivities That I Can Do With My Child At Home?

  • Bean Bag Toss: This is an activity that your kiddos will love. Holding and then throwing the weighted bean bags will help to work on your child’s strength and coordination as they try to get their bean bag into the target hole. If you don’t already have a bean bag set, we suggest this set that’s made just for kids.
  • Fly Like Superman: This activity works on your child’s core strength and coordination and allows your child to use their imagination in the process. Have your child lay on their tummy and tell them to try and lift their arms and chest off of the ground so that they’re “flying like superman”. To make this activity even more fun, try it on a swing or give your child a cape and tell them that they’re flying to go save the world!
  • Painter’s Tape Balance Beam: Get some painter’s tape and create three “balance beams” on your floor. You can have one balance beam be in a straight line, one in a zig-zag line, and one in a circle shape. Have your child try to walk on each beam without falling off to the side to work on their balance and coordination.

If you’re looking for more ways to celebrate this month and spread the word about the benefits of physical therapy, the American Physical Therapy Association has great resources that you can check out, including graphics that you can use on your social media as your cover photo or profile picture.

At-Home Therapy Activities That Use Your Child’s Favorite Stuffed Animal
At-Home Therapy Activities That Use Your Child’s Favorite Stuffed Animal 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

When you were a kid, what was the one item that you always had to have with you? Was it a blanket? A toy? Well, for a majority of our staff here at PTN, our special item was a stuffed animal. It’s very common that children have a favorite item, and more times than not, you’ll notice that this item is indeed a stuffed animal. This is because stuffed animals bring on a sense of comfort and joy, and they make it easier for children to express themselves, which makes them the perfect learning tool during therapy sessions.

Using your child’s favorite stuffed animal during at-home therapy can be extremely beneficial as it will keep your kiddos motivated and excited to develop their skills. The best part? Your little one will be ecstatic to be learning with their best stuffed animal friend, by their side.

With that said – and in honor of September 9th being National Teddy Bear Day – we wanted to share some of our favorite at-home therapy activities that use your child’s favorite stuffed animal. Enjoy!

Create a Story 

This activity gives your child the opportunity to be creative while working on their speech development. Sit down with your kiddo and ask them some questions about their stuffed animal such as, “What’s your stuffed animal’s name? Where does your stuffed animal want to go? What’s your stuffed animal’s superpower?”. 

As they’re telling you the answers to the questions, write each answer down on a separate sheet of paper. Once you’re all done asking questions, get ready to help your child create their very own book. Your child will be able to work on their grip strength by coloring each answer page with an image that fits the text, and once they’re done, they’ll have their very own book based on their stuffed animal!

Partake in Sensory Play 

Another great way to use your child’s stuffed animal is for sensory play. Kids (especially toddlers and babies) love to explore different textures, and most stuffed animals have numerous textures on them. For example, if the stuffed animal is a cat, it may have prickly whiskers, soft or fuzzy fur, and hard eyes. Let your child touch each texture one at a time while you ask them to describe what it feels like – soft, hard, fuzzy, rough, bumpy, etc. 

Play Dress Up

Your child will absolutely love being able to use their imagination while dressing up their stuffed animal, and you’ll love this activity because it works on your child’s fine and gross motor skills. You and your kiddo can make up stories about where their stuffed animal is going, and then, they’ll dress up their stuffed animal to fit the story. For example, if you both decide that the stuffed animal is going to a ball, your child could dress their furry friend in a dress or suit, and if you both decide that the stuffed animal is going to a beach, your child could dress their furry friend in shorts and a t-shirt. Your child will have so much fun looking through all of the clothing options and will be entertained for hours on end.

You can find dress up clothes that will fit your child’s stuffed animal on Amazon, at toy stores, or, you can make them yourself!

Let Your Child Be a Caretaker

Allowing your child to take care of their stuffed animal will bring out their nurturing side, and will allow them to work on their fine motor skills, speech, and gross motor skills. You can have your child feed their stuffed animal, give them a pretend bath, place a bandaid on any owies they may have, or put their furry friend to bed – the possibilities are endless! The best part about this activity? Your child will learn responsibility and compassion in the process. 

Be sure to keep an eye on our social media (Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest) all month long as we share additional activities.

Fun Family Activities That Will Help Improve Your Child’s Fine Motor Skills
Fun Family Activities That Will Help Improve Your Child’s Fine Motor Skills 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

With all of the uncertainty in the world right now, it’s nice to know that there’s one thing that you can always count on – your family. Through all of the ups and downs that life brings, your family will always be there for you no matter what, and if there’s one positive thing that has come out of these uncertain times, it’s that parents and their children have really gotten to reconnect and spend more time with one another.

With that said, we understand that many of you have had to get creative in finding ways to entertain your kids while also helping them improve on their fine motor skills. If you feel like you’ve run out of ideas, we’re here to help! One of our favorite holidays is celebrated in August – Family Fun Month – so we thought we’d share some activities that your whole family will love, and that will also work on your child’s fine motor skills. 

From q-tip painting to friendship bracelets, here are some fun family activities that will help improve your child’s fine motor skills:

Q-Tip Painting

What you’ll need: Q-tips, paint, paper, stick-on magnets, your imagination!

Our first fine motor activity lets your child’s creativity shine! For q-tip painting, you’ll need to get some q-tips, paint, paper, stick-on magnets, and your imagination. First, you’ll want to sit down with your kiddos and talk about what you’re both going to paint –  the possibilities are endless!

Once you’ve decided on what you’re going to create, use a q-tip as a brush, dip the cotton section of the q-tip into the paint, and then start painting with your q-tip on a plain piece of paper. Once you’re done, you can put stick-on magnets on the back of the paper, and hang your artwork on the fridge, or place your art in a frame to hang around the house. 

Friendship Bracelets

What you’ll need: String, scissors, beads, penne noodles, food coloring dye.

Who doesn’t love a cute friendship bracelet? We know we do! For this next activity, you and your kiddos will get to make some adorable jewelry that you both will love. All you need is some string, scissors, colorful beads, penne noodles, and food coloring dye. Before you begin, grab a couple bowls and fill them with some water and food coloring. Next, soak the penne noodles in the food coloring for a few hours in order to dye the noodles. Now, it’s time to create your jewelry! Help your kiddo out by cutting them a piece of string for their bracelet, and show them how to thread on the noodles and beads. Once you’re both done, you’ll have cute friendship bracelets to show off!

Spray Chalk Art

What you’ll need: Spray bottle, water, washable tempera paint, dish soap. 

Our final activity let’s you and your kids get outside and enjoy the warm weather. Spray chalk art is easy to make and will keep your children entertained for hours on end. To create your spray chalk paint, place a drop of washable tempera paint into a spray bottle along with a cup of hot water and a squirt of dish soap. Shake the bottle well, and get ready to create some art! Show your kids how to use the spray bottle to create unique designs/art on the sidewalk or driveway. When you’re all done, you can simply wash off your art with some water.

5 Reasons Why Parents Deserve a Huge Pat On the Back (Including You!)
5 Reasons Why Parents Deserve a Huge Pat On the Back (Including You!) 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

Happy July, everyone! We can’t believe that 2020 is already halfway over – what a crazy ride it’s been so far! We hope you and your family have been staying safe, happy, and healthy throughout these uncertain times, and look forward to working with each and every one of you during the second half of the year and beyond. 

At PTN, we get extra excited when July rolls around because with this month comes one of our favorite holidays – Parent Appreciation Day.  This holiday is celebrated on the fourth Sunday in July.  This month, it happens to land on the 26th.  

The truth of the matter is, being a parent is one of the toughest jobs out there and unfortunately, parents don’t always get enough credit for all that they do. That’s why we wanted to take this holiday to remind you that you deserve all the thanks, love, appreciation, and happiness in the world. We feel very fortunate to be able to work with all of you incredible parents each and every day and our team is thrilled to celebrate you even further this month.

And, just in case you need the reminder, here are 5 reasons why parents deserve a huge pat on the back today and every day:

Parents Provide Emotional Support

Life comes with many highs and many lows.  It’s important that we all have someone that we can look to when life gets tough, and for children, parents are a main source of emotional support from the time they are born, all the way into adulthood. Being a child comes with a lot of unknowns and children tend to look for support from their parents to help them learn, grow, and feel safe with. Children need someone that they can turn to when they want to ask questions about life, when they’re sad, or when they need help navigating a tough time in their life. Being able to talk to someone about uncomfortable things while also feeling safe is something that your child will appreciate and remember forever. 

Your constant emotional support is admired – give yourself another pat on the back!

Parents Are Hardworking

Parents are some of the most hardworking people in the entire world. Being a parent comes with many hats and responsibilities such as making sure there’s food on the table, a roof over your family’s head, and ensuring that your children are taken care of –  we’re exhausted just thinking about it!

It takes a lot of time and effort to make sure that everything is running smoothly within your home, especially when it comes to taking care of your family. That’s why it’s important to remember that you, as a parent, are basically a modern day superhero. 

Your hard work is appreciated – give yourself another pat on the back!

Parents Are Great Teachers

Believe it or not, as a parent, you’ll always be your child’s number one teacher in life. You help them learn to walk and talk, how to be polite and use their manners, how to share, how to ride a bike, and so much more. You’re basically always teaching your child something whether you know it or not, all of which will help them grow into a kind, smart, and self-sufficient adult. Children look up to their parents for advice and guidance throughout their whole lives, and more likely than not will continue to look to you to teach them things (big and small) for years to come.

You are your child’s number one teacher – give yourself a pat on the back for helping them grow!

Parents Are Understanding

Being a parent isn’t always the easiest job in the world, especially when your child makes decisions that you don’t agree with. There are going to be times throughout your child’s life when they may choose a path different from what you thought they’d choose such as joining the band when you thought they should play basketball.

The thing about being a parent is that you love your children unconditionally and want them to be happy. So even though you may not always agree with their decisions, your understanding and support go a long way!  

You’re understanding even when it’s hard to be – give yourself an extra pat on the back, for this one!

Parents Make It Look Easy (Even When It’s Not)

Maybe the biggest thing that you as a parent should give yourself a pat on the back for is making parenting duties look easy even though they’re not easy at all. There are a million and one things that parents have to take care of on top of raising children, and it can get overwhelming at times.

Parents can somehow manage to juggle staying on top of their work, keeping up with duties around the house, and spending time with/taking care of their family without a blink of an eye. As we said before, parents are superheroes!

Thank you for pushing through and making being a parent look easy – give yourself one final pat on the back!

Our Favorite At-Home Therapy Activities to Celebrate Our Tenth Anniversary!
Our Favorite At-Home Therapy Activities to Celebrate Our Tenth Anniversary! 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

June 22nd is a big day for PTN; it marks our tenth anniversary!  We don’t want to wait for a second longer to celebrate, especially with our team, children, and families who mean the world to us.  We are so grateful for all of the amazing families that we’ve had the honor to meet and work with over the course of these past ten years.  We’re also very thankful to have such an amazing team of therapists.

To kick off our anniversary month, we wanted to go ahead and share some of our favorite at-home activities with you. Whether your child is working on their gross motor, fine motor, sensory, or speech development – we’ve found fun ideas that your kids will love.

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get this anniversary celebration started! 

At-Home Activities For Gross Motor Skills…

Indoor Dance Party
Dancing is a wonderful way to get out some energy while also getting to work on your child’s gross motor skills. Dancing works on coordination, balance, motor sequencing skills, and can help your child start to understand rhythm. An excellent way to get started is to come up with a short routine that your child can follow along to. Put together two or three simple moves that work on gross motor coordination such as raising and lowering their arms or rocking from side to side. Then, begin your indoor dance party!

Indoor Balance Beam
This is an activity that is really easy to set up, and will provide hours of entertainment for your kiddos! Start by making an indoor balance beam for your child using painter’s tape. You can make various balance beams such as a zigzagged balance beam, a straight line balance beam, etc. Once it’s all set up, challenge your child to try and walk on each beam from start to finish.

At-Home Activities For Fine Motor Skills…

Make a Pasta Necklace
Making a pasta necklace will work on your child’s fine motor skills while allowing them to express their creativity. All you’ll need for this activity is a box of penne pasta noodles and some string. Your child will work on their fine motor skills by having to grip the noodles to put them onto the string and will strengthen their hand muscles from threading and pulling. The best part of this activity? When they’re done, your child will have a cute necklace they can wear and be proud of!

Shaving Cream Hand Writing
For kiddos that are starting to learn their letters, shaving cream is a simple household item that will let your child practice writing out letters and words. To begin, write out some letters or words onto index cards, and place them next to a tray that is covered in shaving cream. To do this activity, have your child write out each letter/word from the index cards into the shaving cream one at a time using their finger. After each letter/word they write, show your child how to spread the shaving cream all over the tray, and have them move on to writing the next letter/word.

At-Home Activities For Speech Therapy…

Guess What I’m Drawing (Using Chalk)
Fortunately, this speech therapy activity can be done outside with only a couple of pieces of chalk. Sit outside with your child and switch off drawing an object with chalk. When your child is guessing what you’re drawing, have them ask you questions about the object such as, “is it an animal?” or “is it food?”. When it comes time for your child to draw an object, you’ll be able to ask them questions about what they’re drawing.

I Spy
The classic game, I Spy, is actually a fantastic way to work on your child’s speech therapy development. If you need a little brushing up on how to play (or haven’t heard of I Spy before), all you have to do to start is walk around your house or go walk outside with your child. Take turns picking out items around you, and give the other person a clue as to what you’re looking at.

For example, your child may be looking at a tree and could say, “I Spy something tall.” You’d then guess what they’re looking at, and finally, they’ll confirm if the item you guessed was indeed what they were looking at, or if they were looking at a different object than what you guessed. 

At-Home Activities For Sensory Development…

Bucket Full of Textures
For this sensory development activity, you’ll need to gather up small random objects around your house that are made up of varying colors and textures. For example, you could use an orange, a tv remote, a piece of fabric, etc. Take these items and place them inside of the bucket. One by one, have your child pull an object out of the bin and have them run their fingers over the texture of the object in order to get the sense of what it feels like. Then, you should ask them questions about each object, like, “is the object soft or hard?”. Repeat with each object until your bucket is empty!

DIY Sensory Bottle
Sensory bottles can help with your child’s sensory development and are very easy to make. To create your own sensory bottles at home, you’ll need three empty plastic bottles, rice, stones, beans, and tape. Fill each plastic bottle with a different material and tape the cap tightly onto the bottle. Allow your child to grab and play with each bottle one at a time. This way, they can experience the unique sounds and feeling that each bottle provides.

We hope that you found these activities to not only be useful, but easy to do with your little one.  Remember, you’re always at home with PTN!

Activities That Can Make Speech Therapy More Fun While At Home
Activities That Can Make Speech Therapy More Fun While At Home 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

Happy May! This month, the PTN team and people across the country are celebrating Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM). During BHSM, we’re provided with, “an opportunity to raise awareness about communication disorders and the role of ASHA members in providing life-altering treatment,” says the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.  

At PTN, we believe this is a great time to recognize potential hearing and speech problems and also guide parents so they can take appropriate action. Unfortunately, due to the current situation happening around the world, it may be hard to get access to a speech therapist for your child, leading to you (the parents) taking over that all-important role. 

However, just because you may have to lead speech therapy at home doesn’t mean it can’t be fun for both you and your child! There are many ways in which you can incorporate speech therapy and language learning through engaging activities, games, movement, and more. 

If you feel like you’ve tried everything under the sun but your child doesn’t seem to be interested in working on their speech development, we get it.  We also understand how stressful this can be for not only parents but for children. For this reason, we have come up with a few simple ideas that can make speech therapy a time that you and your child look forward to. Take a look:

1. Take a Bike Ride to a Pretend Place

If your child is old enough to ride a bike, you can take a bike ride to a pretend place together. To start this activity put on your helmets and get ready to ride! Ask your child to come up with a pretend place that you two will ride to – a castle, an ice cream parlor, the ocean, etc. While you’re riding, ask your child questions about the location you’ll be visiting. For example, if your child said that you’ll be visiting a castle, you could ask them questions such as, “What does the castle look like?” or “What type of animals live at the castle?”. Once the bike ride is over, you can go inside and have your child create a drawing of the imaginary place you visited, or go on another adventure!

2. Play, Guess What I’m Sculpting

Believe it or not, playdough is a great speech therapy tool. For this activity, you only need one tub of playdough to share between you and your child. You’ll each take turns sculpting something while the other person guesses what the sculpture is. You can even go the extra mile during this activity by having your child/you give clues on what they’re creating while they’re the sculptor. 

3. Go on a Picture Scavenger Hunt

Picture scavenger hunts are a fun way to get some of your child’s energy out while working on those all-important speaking skills. You’ll need to print out some pictures of common objects that are around your house (bed, television, window, etc.). Hand your child one picture card at a time and have them describe what the object looks like. Ask them questions like what color the object is, what room of the house that object is in, and finally, what the object is. Once they correctly describe or name the object, have your child run to that object and place the card down. Repeat until all the cards are placed in their correct location!

4. Get Creative With Sidewalk Chalk Art

Who doesn’t love playing with sidewalk chalk? We know we sure do! All you’ll need for this activity is some sidewalk chalk and your imagination. Sit with your child on your driveway or sidewalk and decide on a picture or object you’re going to create together. Next, take turns saying what you’ll add to the drawing.

For example, you and your child decide that you want to draw a dog. You could start by saying that you’re going to draw a circle for a face. Then, your child might say, “I’m going to draw the nose”, you might then say, “I’m going to draw an ear.” and so on. Continue switching off being the artist until you have a fully completed masterpiece!

During these trying times, it’s important to stay on top of your child’s speech therapy/speech development. If you are concerned that your child may be falling behind, don’t be afraid to contact a speech therapist to find out how you can help your child. 

You can learn more about Better Hearing and Speech Month by going to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website.

Incorporating Occupational Therapy Into Your Child’s Daily Routines
Incorporating Occupational Therapy Into Your Child’s Daily Routines 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

Occupational therapy focuses on skills your child uses each day to take care of themselves. For example, brushing your teeth, putting on your own clothes, and holding a pencil are all occupational skills. Occupational skills often involve fine motor movements, like the ability to manipulate buttons or zippers. These skills can be particularly challenging for children with ADHD, sensory issues, or developmental delays. 

Play is also an occupational skill and there are many ways to develop your child’s fine motor skills at home. The first step is to consult with a pediatric occupational therapist to find out their suggestions for activities, reward systems, and rubrics by which you can measure progress. Your child may have particular skills they need help with, and your OT can recommend games and activities that will help to target those skills.

Beyond those specific recommendations, here are some guidelines to keep in mind when incorporating OT into your child’s daily routines:

1. Practice Opportunities Are Everywhere

Opportunities to practice self-care skills are around every corner. 

If you’re like most parents, you probably have a tendency to do things for your child that they aren’t able to do just yet – or that they aren’t able to do well. While this certainly isn’t a bad thing, it’s important to remember to let your child try to button their own jacket or put on their own shoes whenever possible. If there’s something your child wants to try and you have the time, stepping aside and allowing them to take the lead is sometimes the hardest task a parent can undertake, but it’s an important step.

Under the current circumstances, it’s likely that your children will be at home with you around the clock over the next few weeks. Try to set some time aside each day to allow your child to take the lead on tasks that you’d normally help them with, and instead, allow them to show you what they’re capable of.

2. Play is Therapy

When you’re picking out new toys for your child, look for toys that are both a lot of fun and that will help them practice their fine motor skills. For example, depending on your child’s age, you could get 

  • stuffed animals or sensory objects with zippers, buttons, and snaps
  • board games with pieces to be moved, dice to be rolled, or a spinner to spin
  • stacking blocks or Legos
  • a plastic tea set

All of these toys help children practice self-care skills while having fun.

3. Art is Therapy

Art projects are a great way to build fine motor skills while having fun and soothing the senses. Molding with kinetic sand, practicing cutting with age-appropriate scissors, and sticking things together with Elmer’s glue can all be rewarding and calming activities.

4. Rewards and Limits

For many kids, having a rewards chart for when they accomplish small goals is a great way to encourage more practice. It’s amazing how hard children will work for a cool sticker! And don’t forget to let them peel and place the sticker themselves!

That said, when incorporating OT into your child’s daily routine, it’s also important not to push too hard. For example, if you were to say that your child can’t have breakfast until she dresses herself, there’s very little chance that the ultimatum is going to end well. Look for opportunities to make practice fun as much as possible, and try not to demand too much of your child as they learn and grow at their own pace.

Subscribe for free resources and news updates.

[contact-form-7 id=”169″]

Joing our Newsletter

Contact Us

Address:
38 Oatland Avenue Chicago, Illinois 283020

Tel: 0800 390 9292
E-mail: hello@movedo.com

All Rights Reserved ® Movedo 2018