Rock climbing is a wonderful activity for individuals of all ages! It is a fun undertaking which works to improve a variety of core body functions. Just to list a few they include grip/shoulder/core/leg strength, endurance, sequencing, bilateral coordination, memory, problem solving, body and safety awareness! The list could go on and on… Rock climbing is like performing a puzzle, only with your body! Not only does it draw upon a mental request making someone attend to the task at hand, but it also promotes physical engagement and problem solving skills in order to ascend the wall.
Before we start climbing, there are a list of items that need to be “checked off” accordingly. Climbing is a partnership, it consists of a climber - the person ascending the wall, and a belayer - the person supporting on the ropes from the ground. The climber goes up the wall and the belayer makes sure that the climber stays safe. There is a great deal of motor planning and fine motor task in order to get into the harness, to tie all the knots safely, and to make sure that everything is connected properly. This does not only go for the climber but for the belayer as well!
Before you climb and after you check each other, you engage language skills to verbally communicate back and forth which ensures you are both on the same page:
Climber: "On belay?”
Belayer: “Belay’s on!”
Belayer: “Climb hard!”
Climbing is not just a sport or recreational pursuit, it is an art. A beautiful art that KidSPOT is so excited to share with you! So we ask you, are you on belay?
Blog written by: Ciara Mestaz, Physical Therapy Student
Every child is different, especially with their food preferences. We have come up with some suggestions to help your child enjoy healthy snacks and lunches that are easy for you to prepare!
Blog written by: Caitlin Kraft, OTD, OTR/L
Learning vocabulary and expanding language can happen throughout a child’s day! Using silly songs and descriptive words can help strengthen your child’s language at bathtime, meal times, and getting ready for the day. Language is fun! Keep your activities playful and avoid “quizzing”. Below are some easy tips you can incorporate within daily activities.
Getting Ready in the Morning:
Label and describe clothing as your child gets dressed.
Make silly sounds for bath toys
Describe sensory qualities of the food
Looking for more tips to encourage language development? Download "Beginning with Babble" from wherever you get your apps. It’s a free and informative resource full of great ideas to expand language for children ages 0-4.
Blog written by: Katie Bode, Speech Therapy Student
Who is getting ready for back-to-school? Here are some tips to help ease your child’s transition from summer to school year routine.
Change your summer schedules to match your school year schedule now! An abrupt change in your schedule can sometimes be uncomfortable. Make the transition as easy as possible (without pressure) by working out all the kinks now before it’s too late!
Take some time to talk with your child about their feelings around school starting. Are they excited, sad, and/or nervous? If so, what about? Do they know their teacher and/or have the opportunity to meet their teacher before school starts? Will they be taking the bus this year and/or changing their previous routine from last year? This can help your child process their emotions before experiencing the sudden change.
Make going back to school exciting! If your child is feeling nervous or upset about school, create opportunities to build the excitement of going back! For example, go shopping and buy some new and fun school supplies. Or, go grocery shopping and pick out some new and healthy snack/lunch options that they are excited to eat and share with friends!
Think about the most difficult part of your routine- is it getting up and ready to go to school? Is it eating lunch? Is it homework? Is it remembering morning routine? Brainstorm with your child about why these tasks are hard and problem solve some strategies together to help make these tasks easier. Perhaps a checklist or visual schedule could help your child with routine.
Visit a nearby playground and/or your school’s playground before school starts! This can not only increase the excitement around starting school, but it can also help ease any anxiety around new play structures while also building confidence to explore! Bring a school friend along to explore equipment while building social play skills.
Blog written by: Alex Burg, Student Occupational Therapist
Create poses that focus on something your child is excited about. If they like letters you can make your body into letter shapes, if they like animals structure the yoga around animal breaths and movements…etc. It doesn’t matter if it is a traditional yoga pose or not the purpose of yoga for many children is to focus on breathing, moving their body, and calming their mind.
Here are some ideas to use at home with your child: Start by focusing on breathing. Place hands on belly while seated or a small stuffed animal on belly while lying down take 5 deep breaths and watch as your stomach goes in and out slowly while you breath. Next start to move your body, this can include traditional yoga poses, dancing with music, animal walks, or a creation of your own.
Depending on the energy level of your child yoga can either be used to increase energy through movement exercises or used to help calm your child through more relaxation poses. Finish the class with a little rest-this is usually the hardest part of yoga for adults and children so allow your child to move on their mat as they need but have them stay lying down and quiet for a few minutes/seconds depending on your child. This is a nice time to provide your child with a little foot or hand massage too to help them relax.
Check out these yoga resources for additional ideas:
Written By: Caitlin Kraft, OTD
As summer approaches and the school year comes to an end, you may be wondering what activities and adventures you can do to entertain your littles. Our answer? Go outside to play! The development of your child's coordination, balance, strength, sensory system, social interaction, and self confidence can be nurtured through playing and exploring the outdoors!
Here are some fun activities to try out in your backyard and community.
Outdoor Ideas for your backyard:
Whether your summer is packed full of activities, camps, and vacations, or some wonderful rest and relaxation, these outdoor ideas are fun ways to get your child out exploring their environment and learning new skills!
Blog written by: Dana Hines, Student Physical Therapist, Regis University Class of 2019
Books are an essential building block to growing each child’s language, reading and writing skills. How can you make the most of the time you spend reading with your child? Whether you’re a parent, family member, friend, or mentor in a child’s life you can expand their language skills every day just by increasing interaction in various ways while reading a book. This is not something you need to add into your busy schedule, all you need to do is take advantage of the time you already use every day reading with your child. A resource from “Talking is Teaching” demonstrates simple ways to expand language beyond the words on the page.
A helpful way to remember the 4 simple steps to make the most out of reading time is “Follow the CAR.”
As you implement this strategy more it will become second nature during all of your reading time with your child. Other ways to expand language during reading include:
What if your child doesn’t want to engage in any reading? Some children may not want to read books, but it is important to still expose them to it. You can start by just flipping through the pages of a book very quickly, say a short sentence about what happened, and then say to the child “You did it! You read a book!” This will let them feel like they accomplished the task and over time increase their motivation to read books. Another way to follow the child’s lead is to offer two book options and let them choose which one they want to read. This will lead to a more positive reading experience and better chance they will want to pick up a book again.
By: Emily Dyer, Speech Therapy Student
On a snowy day, embrace the snow and get outside if you can! Being outside has many benefits for children and will help to release some of their energy, so they can be more relaxed when indoors. Have children help to shovel the snow, build snowmen, build a snow fort or just run around in the snow.
If going outside is not a option, here are some ideas of how to make the most of your snowy day from the comfort of your home!
Blog by: Caitlin Kraft, Student Occupational Therapist
The holiday season is a time of giving, and we'd like to share with you some of our favorite developmentally appropriate toys. Each of these toys are broken into to categories that are designed to help your little one improve critical developmental skills while playing, just like we do in the clinic.
This list is in no way exhaustive. These skills can be obtained through a variety of ways so don't be afraid to be creative in exploring options that may help your child's skill grow.
Thanksgiving is a popular time for extended family and friends to get together and share a meal. Unfortunately, it can be disastrous for children with sensory issues and/or feeding issues. Here are some tips to make Thanksgiving a little less stressful for you and your sensory child.