at-home therapy activities

3 Fun Activities to do At Home With Your Kids This Summer
3 Fun Activities to do At Home With Your Kids This Summer 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

June 22nd marks PTN’s 11th anniversary, and we can’t wait any longer to get the celebration started! We are thankful for the opportunity to serve all of the wonderful families in our community over the last 11 years. We are looking forward to working with each of our incredible PTN kids, families, and therapists for years to come. All month long, we’ve been sharing some of our favorite at-home activities on our social media pages and wanted to keep the celebration going by sharing some more with you right now! Here are three fun activities to do at home with your kids this summer:

Animal Moves

Your kiddos are going to love this silly activity. Grab five pieces of paper and ask your child to draw a different animal on each one. Once they’ve drawn their masterpieces, go outside, and flip each paper upside down so that you can’t see them.

One at a time, flip each drawing over and then have your child perform the action that matches the animal on the page. For example, you could have them flap their arms like a chicken, hop like a frog, roll around like a pig, gallop like a horse, or move their trunk (arm) up and down like an elephant. Once you’ve gone through each animal, add more animals to your pile and repeat!

Hula Hoop Jump

Get up and get ready to move with this next activity. Grab five hula hoops of any size and bring them outside. Place each hula hoop on the ground right next to each other in a straight line or zigzag pattern. Next, using chalk, write one number in each hula hoop, starting at one and ending at five. Finally, have your child jump from hoop to hoop in numbered order or if your child doesn’t know their numbers quite yet, simply ask them to jump from hoop to hoop!

Cup Kick

Our final at-home activity that you can try with your kiddos is cup kick! Gather up some plastic cups and place a different colored sticker on each cup. Then, go outside and put the cups next to each other a foot apart with the different colored stickers facing your child. Give your little one a small ball that they can easily kick and get ready for the fun! One at a time, shout out the different colors of the stickers and have your child try to knock the cup over with that sticker on it by kicking the ball at that cup. Keep shouting out colors until all of the cups have been knocked down, and repeat!

Thanks for celebrating our 11th anniversary with us! We had so much fun sharing these ideas with you, and hope that they keep you busy all summer long. For more at-home activities you can do with your child, follow us on our social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest). We share activities, tips, resources, and so much more. If you have any questions about your child’s development, please don’t hesitate to contact our team. We are happy to help support your child and family in any way that we can, and remember, you’re always at home with PTN.

Outdoor Occupational Therapy Activities to Try This Spring
Outdoor Occupational Therapy Activities to Try This Spring 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

April is National Occupational Therapy Month and we are thrilled to start celebrating! Occupational therapy helps children and adults alike who have issues performing cognitive, physical, or sensory tasks, work towards being able to perform everyday tasks and activities on their own.

We’ve found that one of the best ways to work with your child on their occupational skills is to take part in activities as a family, and now that spring has finally arrived, it’s time to take some of those activities outdoors. As flowers bloom and the sun shines, we love to see our PTN families enjoy the nice weather, which is exactly why we wanted to share some fun activities that you can try this spring (and beyond) that your whole family will love – enjoy!

Rock Painting

Painting is a great way to work on your child’s fine motor skills.  To start, go on a nature walk and collect all sorts of interesting rocks. Decorate them with paint pens, chalk pens, or acrylic paints, depending on how messy you’d like to get. You can use Modpodge to seal your rocks so they last for seasons to come.  Once your rocks are dry you can add them to your garden or play hide and seek with them. 

Gardening

Gardening is an awesome family spring activity and provides great opportunities for messy sensory play, problem solving, and strengthening! Include your little ones in on the fun by asking them to help decide what flowers to plant and having them scoop and fill the containers.  Once the flowers are planted, use a spray bottle to water the flowers and grass instead of a hose. A spray bottle requires fine motor strength and coordination to operate. 

Hopscotch

Odds are you’ve tried hopscotch once or twice as a child, and for good reason! This is a wonderful activity to help work on your child’s balance and coordination while also helping them learn their numbers at the same time.

To begin, allow your kiddos to get creative by letting them help you draw a colorful hopscotch board using chalk. Drawing outdoors with chalk is a fun way to work on your child’s fine motor and handwriting skills.  When the board is complete, shout out a number that your child will need to hop to, and watch them hop, skip, and jump over to their number. Repeat over and over again until you’ve called each number at least once.  Wrap up the game by using your spray bottle to clean off the chalk from the sidewalk. 

Happy National Occupational Therapy Month!

Follow us on our social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest) all month long for more occupational therapy tips, resources, and activities. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time to discuss if your child would benefit from pediatric therapy. Our team is here to support both you and your child in any way that we can.

Family Fun Activities to Try During National Play Therapy Week
Family Fun Activities to Try During National Play Therapy Week 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

National Play Therapy Week runs February 7th through the 13th and we are super excited to celebrate it! Learning through play is one of the most fun and effective ways to help your child work on their development, which is why we always incorporate play into our pediatric therapy sessions. When your child learns through play, they will be motivated to work toward their goals while also engaging in activities that will bring them joy and better their overall mental and physical well-being. 

If you’re looking for some ways to celebrate with your kiddos this week but aren’t sure where to begin, don’t fret.  We’ve put together a list of fun, family activities that you can try during National Play Therapy Week and beyond – enjoy!

Astronaut Scavenger Hunt: Put on your spacesuit and get ready to blast off! It’s time to save the universe in this outer space-themed scavenger hunt. Get together with your family and do your best to draw all of the planets, each on a separate piece of paper. Once you’ve finished, have your little ones go to their bedroom and shut the door – no peeking.

Hide each planet in different spots around the house where your child may have to crouch, squat, or go on their tippy toes to find. Now, explain to your kiddos that it’s their job to save the universe by finding and collecting each planet. They’re our only hope!

Pretend Bake Sale: Have your child round up all of their favorite dolls, action figures, or stuffed animals, and tell them that their toys will act as the customers for your pretend bake sale. Use fake money and divide it up between each one of your child’s toys so that they can use it to purchase some of the delicious goods that you’re about to bake. Then, decide on one or two items that you want to make, and get baking! Let your kiddos help add the ingredients, stir the batter, and decorate. Your child will love being able to “sell” their completed products to their pretend customers The best part? You get to eat all of the leftovers!

Create Rock Friends: Gather up your art supplies and create some colorful rock friends! This is the perfect play therapy activity to get those creative juices flowing. To begin, bundle up, go outside, and find some flat rocks that you can paint on. Then, wash any dirt off of the rocks, dry them, and get painting! You could make a ladybug, bumblebee, turtle, or simply glue some googly eyes onto the rock and paint a smiley face – the possibilities are endless!

Happy National Play Therapy Week! 

If you’re looking for some ways to spread the word about the positive effects of play therapy, the Association for Play Therapy has some incredible resources including images that you can share with your friends and family on social media. As always, if you think that your child could benefit from pediatric therapy, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

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.

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.

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