What kids eat is very important and having the right snack can actually improve a child's ability to learn. Our school occupational therapy consultant, Casey Halper, put together a list of sensory smart snacks just in time for back to school. That means that they are snacks that help kids stay alert and focused in school without making them hyper and restless. These are great snack ideas for children in school, but would be equally great snack choices for toddlers too. Some of the themes for healthy sensory snacks are:
Crunchy and chewy foods help make kids more alert by engaging their senses.
Sipping or sucking can help organize and calm children.
And of course fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and calcium rich foods make them healthy overall.
Last week there was an article in the NY Times, “Watch How You Hold That Crayon,” about OT and handwriting. In the article Anthony DiCarlo, a Principal stated, “In the last five years, I’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of kids who don’t have the strength in their hands to wield scissors or do arts and crafts projects, which in turn prepares them for writing."
He goes on to say that while many kids head back to school with accomplishments like music, yoga and sports classes, they may not have logged enough time in open-ended play. “I’m all for academic rigor,” he said, “but these days I tell parents that letting their child mold clay, play in the sand or build with Play-Doh builds important school-readiness skills, too.”
While socialization comes naturally to some kids, others may need help developing the skills necessary to make and keep friends. If you’re concerned about your child’s ability to socialize with peers, you may want to consider a social skills group which fosters self-confidence through activities such as role-playing, cooperative games and group interactions. They’ll learn important skills such as sharing, taking turns and resolving conflict, and most importantly, they’ll have fun doing it! And for more enrichment opportunities, check out our Enrichment Programs, Classes and Activities Guide for NJ Kids.
From Ol’ Blue Eyes to Bob Marley, babies respond to music immediately and with beneficial results. Then, it’s on to the toddler stage; Old MacDonald this and Itsy Bitsy Spider that, and if the wheels on the bus keep going ‘round and ‘round, maybe it’s time for Mommy & Me music classes. And by the time they're preschoolers--rock and roll! These NJ classes will not only inspire your little Beethovens, but are great bonding experiences between parent and child. Play on! And don't forget to check out our Enrichment Programs, Classes and Activities for NJ Kids Guide.
With summer right around the corner, parents have a lot of planning on their plates to ensure a fun-filled time away from school. There are many overnight camp choices for kids without dietary restrictions, but let's face it: for those who do have dietary concerns - gluten-free, peanut-free, vegan, or other needs - the list is not as long. For those moms and dads who want overnight camps as a potential activity for their kids this summer, here's a list to consider, especially if diet is a concern.
The following camps are located throughout the west of the US and have a focus on special diets and accommodating food allergies.
Last fall, we asked our readers to take a short survey and share their thoughts about how to improve our Summer Camp Guide. Overwhelmingly, we heard that you wanted a combination of our editorial recommendations, plus the ability to search listings and find recommendations from other parents.
Winter is a wonderful season for outdoor fun—just ask my three young snow-loving kids. In fact, there are so many fantastic skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing resorts near New York City, it's difficult to choose.
But since I'm also a mom to a teenager with special needs who isn't into winter sports, that makes our decision all the more challenging. He is both physically and cognitively disabled, and the thought of struggling onto lifts, into gear, up hills and through crowds doesn't appeal to him—not to mention the possibility of wiping out. So my family needs a resort that's able to accommodate children of all ages as well as abilities.
Happily, there are some amazing adaptive winter sports programs at resorts within a few hours of NYC, and some are low cost or even FREE. Here are five ski programs for special needs families.
As the saying goes, ”reading is fundamental”. However, there are children who still struggle to develop reading skills. Reading to a “therapy dog” is a new program has been implemented in many New Jersey schools and libraries. Reading to therapy dogs has helped young students build confidence as readers in an environment free from judgment and criticism. Read on to find out about Therapy Dogs International, located in Flanders NJ, and their program “Tail Waggin’ Tutors”.
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