pediatric therapy

Toy Takeover 2022 – Supporting Local Stores and Sharing Toys Your Child Will Love!
Toy Takeover 2022 – Supporting Local Stores and Sharing Toys Your Child Will Love! 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

We hope you’re ready because it’s finally time for one of our favorite parts of the year… Toy Takeover! Each holiday season, our PTN therapists do their research and come up with a list of some fantastic developmental toys that we know your little ones will love. Not only will these toys help your child work on developing their play skills, but you can even purchase some of them at local toy stores around the city.

For Toy Takeover 2022, we wanted to highlight three fantastic toy stores that could really use your love and support this holiday season – Timeless Toys, Building Blocks Toy Store, and Emmerson Toys, Gifts, & Hobbies. Shopping locally helps our city thrive, and these stores will really appreciate your business.

Toy Takeover 2022 List:

Stacking Music Set (Shop Local)

This awesome toy comes with instruments such as a xylophone, drum, rattle, and scratchboard and is sure to keep your kiddos entertained for hours on end. Your child will have to use their balance and coordination skills to create some awesome music and march to the beat. Then, once you and your little one have made some fun beats, have them work on their speech and language skills by creating some silly lyrics!

Infantino Sensory Balls, Blocks & Buddies

One of our favorite toys to make the Toy Takeover list this year is the Infantino Sensory Balls, Blocks, & Buddies set. This set comes with a whopping 20 pieces, all of which can be used to help your child learn colors, shapes, animals, and textures. Your child can also work on their fine and gross motor skills by stacking the blocks or throwing the balls into a basket!

SmartMax My First Safari Animals (Shop Local)

Get ready to get a little silly with the SmartMax My First Safari Animals! Your little one will have to use their fine motor skills, animal recognition, and matching skills to put the cute creatures back together. Once your child has successfully matched all of the animals, let them show off their goofy side by creating their own animal combinations!

LeapFrog Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket

Challenge your child’s imagination and pretend play by having an indoor picnic! Your little one will have to use their fine motor skills to carefully place the food into the correct hole and use their speech to describe each food’s color, shape, and size. Another great feature of this toy is that the picnic basket speaks and will ask your child to feed it a specific piece of food. 

Wooden Beehives (Shop Local)

The final toy on our list is colorful and a whole lot of fun to play with. Incorporate fine and gross motor play as well as speech and language skills all in one!  Your child can practice gripping and pinching the wooden tweezers and return each bee to its matching hive. Then, have your child work on their counting and color recognition, or encourage them to stand up and stack the hives on top of each other!

From all of us at Pediatric Therapy Network, happy holidays! To see what other toys made our 2022 Toy Takeover list, follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest), and be sure to sign up for our newsletter. All December long, we will be sharing more toy suggestions, fun tips, resources, and more!

New Year’s Parenting Resolutions: Three Simple Ways to Incorporate Learning Into Your Family’s Daily Routine
New Year’s Parenting Resolutions: Three Simple Ways to Incorporate Learning Into Your Family’s Daily Routine 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

Happy New Year from all of us at PTN! With a new year, comes New Year’s resolutions. One of the most common resolutions we hear from parents is that they want to incorporate more learning activities throughout the day, but they don’t feel like there’s enough time to do so. We get it! As parents, we tend to put so much pressure on ourselves. We set goals to spend time with our kids daily, but before we know it, the day is over. 

No matter if your child benefits from physical, occupational, or speech therapy, it’s very important to make sure you take time during each day to work with them. An easy way to do this is to incorporate learning into your family’s daily routine. Believe it or not, there are ways to take that pressure off your shoulders while making sure you get in that all-important learning time.

That being said, here are some simple ways to incorporate learning into your family’s daily routine: 

Slow Down and Let Your Child Help With Their Morning Routine

A lot of us tend to feel rushed in the morning, and focus more on completing our morning routines as quickly as possible, rather than taking the time to start the day off on a good note. Wake up a little earlier than normal, and get your child involved in getting ready for the day. To start, give them two verbal directions at a time to follow while they’re doing their bathroom routine. You could say something like, “put toothpaste on your toothbrush, then brush your teeth”. Another task you can have your child help with is picking out their clothes for the day. You can have them use their words by asking what color or style of clothing they want to wear.

Get Your Child Involved With Grocery Shopping

The grocery store is actually a great place for learning. Next time you go shopping, take your child with you. While on the way to the store, discuss with them what type of groceries you’re buying and how many of each item you will need. Then while you’re there, talk about the shape of each item (round, square, etc), what color the item is, and the size of the item. This allows you to get your weekly shopping done while improving your child’s verbal skills. 

Play a Board Game

Another way to work on your child’s therapy skills is to play a board game together. Board games allow your child to have fun while also improving their motor skills, language skills, and even balance and coordination. Choose a board game based on your child’s specific therapy goals. If your child is working on improving their fine motor and visual motor skills, Connect 4 is a great option. If balance and coordination is the key focus, Twister might be the game for your family. Finally, Memory Match is an excellent way to help build your child’s vocabulary. Best part? For the younger kiddos, you don’t even have to play by the rules!

There’s no reason to put unnecessary stress on yourself once you realize that it’s actually very easy to incorporate learning into your family’s daily routine. Taking a little time out each day to work with your child will go a long way!

For more suggestions, feel free to reach out at any time. Our team of pediatric therapists are here to support both you and your child in any way that we can.

At Home Therapy
How In-Home Pediatric Therapy Sessions Can Have a Greater Impact
How In-Home Pediatric Therapy Sessions Can Have a Greater Impact 1000 1000 PTN Chicago

One of our core philosophies at PTN is that pediatric therapy is most effective when it happens in a comfortable environment with the full participation and support of the family.

When physical therapy or speech therapy happens in isolation it is very difficult for the child to take what they’ve learned back to their home environment, especially if a parent or caretaker isn’t able to be there observing each session. It’s also much more difficult for children to feel comfortable in a place that is foreign to them.

By bringing therapy into the home, the classroom, or even the child’s favorite park, it becomes much easier for parents, siblings, friends, and other caregivers to take part in sessions and become stronger pillars of support for the child.

Engaging in pediatric therapy sessions at home also makes it much easier for the therapy to be tailored to the child and the family.

Let’s use speech therapy as an example. Depending upon the house, the same time of day could be referred to as “bedtime,” “night time,” “time for night-night,” “sleepy time,” or a host of other possibilities. Underwear could be referred to as “undies,” “knickers,” “chonies,” or “panties.” Grandma could be called “Nana” or “Grannie” or “Abuelita.” The list of family-specific vernacular goes on and on.

If a speech therapy session happens in the house, the speech language pathologist (SLP) can start to learn the words and phrases that are most important in that household and find customized ways to help the child better express their wants and needs in ways that the family will recognize and respond to.

Being in the house also allows the SLP to work with the family to help them better support the verbal development of the child. That might mean teaching siblings games that they can play together or showing parents ways that they can encourage stronger language skills between sessions. Those games or tasks could be specified to favorite toys that the child already has or play spaces – like a backyard playhouse – that the SLP might not otherwise know was there.

When family and friends have a chance to observe different forms of pediatric therapy, that helps lead to a more cohesive household where everyone has the chance to better understand the work that’s being done, why it’s so important, and how they can help.

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