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.”
Taking full advantage of Boston’s location - the Charles River to the west and Boston Harbor to the east - community boating programs provide numerous opportunities for kids and families to learn to sail in Boston. Look a little further to the north and south, and options multiply. From annual memberships to five-day passes to one-day rentals, the following sailing centers offer packages that will fit your budget and schedule. Note that many of the lesson and camp programs fill up fast, so be sure to plan ahead.
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.
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.
Mommy Poppins Boston is delighted to share this guest post from Amber Bobnarof WonderBaby.org, a support and information site for parents of children who are visually impaired (featured in our list of favorite blogs in 2013):
We take our family out to concerts in the Boston area almost every weekend, and my eight-year-old son, Ivan, is in a wheelchair and totally blind. Accessibility is very important to us!
Below you’ll find my rundown of our favorite accessible theaters and live performance venues in the Boston area. I share pros and cons based on a multitude of special needs because I realize that the criteria for what’s accessible will be different for each family. Some kids are in wheelchairs, some have sensory issues, some have hearing or visual impairment and all will react differently in different environments! Find one that looks like a good match for your family and give it a shot! Remember, if it doesn’t work out you can always leave. No big deal.
Our newest Poppins Parent hasn’t lived in the Boston area for long, but she’s already made quite an impact. She is a writer, an avid proponent for Boston’s many talented children’s musicians, and the creator of WonderBaby.org, an invaluable resource for parents of children with special needs.
Meet Amber Bobnar; find out what drew her from Hawai‘i to Boston, discover what's on her list of Boston's best venues for children's music, and learn which local resources she has found most helpful for raising a child with special needs.
Carolyn Dalgliesh and I belong to the same club – the Parents of Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder Club. OK, it’s not actually a club, but we both know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed by trying to manage the challenges of our sensory kids’ rigid, anxious, and distracted behaviors. After each of our kids’ diagnoses, we both wanted to figure out how to cultivate moments of fun with our families and make our homes more than our sensory children's emotional unloading zones (as Carolyn so astutely puts it). While I set out to read everything I could get my hands on about sensory issues, Carolyn, a professional organizer, started coming up with her own strategies to provide support to her sensory child at home. Ten years later, she is a bit of an expert on the subject. In fact, she has written a book about it, The Sensory Child Gets Organized, which just came out earlier this month.
Keep reading for a whole houseful of super helpful tips from Carolyn for getting your child – with or without sensory issues – organized at home. If you want to meet Carolyn and learn additional strategies, you’re in luck: She, along with other parenting book authors, will soon be making local appearances at the Harvard Bookstore, the Book Shack in Kingston, and the Barnes & Noble in Hingham to talk about ways to have a calm and organized school year.
We're glad you're here at Mommy Poppins Boston, your free online resource for everything for families and kids in the greater Boston area. We'd love to hear from you with any questions or suggestions! — Tara