1. Make a 4th of July Wand

Work on discussing parts and whole, similarities and differences, and other places we may see wands/stars/red, white, blue/etc. These festive and fun wands are perfect for those kiddos who are still too small to use sparklers (P.S. – kids should ALWAYS be supervised around fireworks, no matter how big or small!).

You’ll need:

  • 3 inch foam star
  • Red and blue craft paint
  • Red, white, and blue ribbon
  • Wooden dowel
  • Scissors
  • Paint brush

What to do:

  • Paint the foam star red. Paint the wooden dowel blue and set aside to dry.
  • Stick the dowel into the bottom of the star till secure.
  • Tie on red, white, and blue ribbon.

Have fun waving your wand all night long!

  1. Patriotic Party Games

If the weather is nice, have some outdoor fun! Work on turn taking, problem solving, and following directions by having a relay race, holding a water balloon fight.

  1. Try one of these Patriotic treats exps15284_CT10183C42B

Prepare a fruit tray using red, white and blue fruit! You could use strips of watermelon or cut-up strawberries for the red stripes; sliced bananas for the white stripes; and lots of blueberries for the stars! Make sure to practice your good speech sounds while talking about how to assemble your flag fruit tray.


Sugar Cookie Bars – fun for kiddos to help you make! Work on comparing/contrasting amounts, textures, and flavors while you bake!

  • 1 c. unsalted butter; softened
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • White vanilla or cream cheese frosting
  • Red, white, and blue sprinkles

Mix the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl and set aside. Next, in a separate large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then, add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix again. Now slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Spread batter into a greased 10×15 or 13×18 inch pan Bake at 375 for 12-15min. They are done when the top is just starting to turn a light golden color and you can stick a toothpick in and it comes out clean. Do not over bake or they will end up dry. Let them cool, then add your frosting and sprinkles!


Summer Play Ideas for Language and Motor Development

  1. Baking cookies– This is a great task for working on both language and motor skills. Your child can practice language skills by following a recipe or one to two step directions that you give them. Motor skills will be targeted by kneading the dough, using cookie cutters, stirring, mixing, and picking up small pieces like sprinkles or chocolate morsels.
  2. Prop Boxes– Most kids love dressing up in adult clothes. Prop boxes are great tools for helping kids expand their pretending. Each box can have a theme such as picnic, grocery store, doctor’s office, or the circus. The boxes hold clothing and props that can be used for the specific scene. The child will use his/her imagination to make up stories or pretend play with the items in each box. Children can also use shirts and pants with buttons and/or zippers to work on fine motor skills and taking clothes odownloadn/off. Shoes can be added in order to work on putting them on/taking them off and tying shoe laces.
  3. PlayDough– Sensory play is beneficial for a child in the preschool years. Children learn by doing and molding with play-dough is something they cannot do wrong. It helps build confidence and self-esteem. They will use their imagination by molding different objects, animals, etc. Kneading, smashing, cutting, rolling
    into balls, and molding are all great ways to build fine motor skills too!
  4. Playing Outside– Preschoolers can learn a lot from being out in nature. They will learn about the weather, animals, flowers, trees, vehicles, seasonal changes, etc. Nature and the outdoors offer a wide variety of vocabulary. You can start from the basics such as “bug, tree, car, sun” and build on more specific vocabulary words such as “ant, bee, oak tree, bright sunshine, truck, van.” Nature also offers a variety of textures and terrains for kids to explore, in order to help with fine motor and gross motor skills. Walking in grass, on a gravel road, or in sand will be more challenging than walking on the sidewalk or in the street. Playing in the sand box or grass will offer a lot of sensory input with different textures.
  5. Sandbox– Playing in the sandbox is a great way to offer sensory input and a variety of textures to your preschooler. Have the child dig in the sand with his/her downloadhands in order to feel the grainy texture. Hide toys/objects in the sand for your child to find by digging in the sand. Work on motor skills by scooping with a shovel, driving toy cars or trucks on the sand, or modeling animals or objects in the sand.
  6. Playing with Paint– Painting is a great way to stimulate your child’s imagination. Some children like to explore different colors they can make by mixing paints together and others like to draw objects such as animals or flowers. Talking about what your child is drawing or creating will facilitate your child’s language and vocabulary skills. Fine motor skills will be targeted by having your child finger paint of holding a paint brush and making different strokes on the paper. Finger painting will also provide sensory stimulation for your child. Painting is also another activity that your child will feel successful at, as they can create their own designs to be proud of.
  7. Cardboard Boxes– Cardboard boxes can provide hours of entertainment! A large cardboard box can turn into a house, school building, doctor’s office, or post office. Your child’s imagination can run wild as he/she creates stories within their very own space. Practice drawing and writing on the cardboard box. Your child can practice the alphabet, writing numbers, and writing his/her name on the box.
  8. Playing with Blocks– Preschool children have always loved building with blocks. From building structures to stacking blocks to make a tall tower, this is another fun activity for stimulating your child’s imagination and working on fine motor skills.
  9. Telephone– Gather a bunch of your old telephones for your child to play with. Pretending to talk on the telephone is a great way to get kids talking, role playing, and using their imagination all at the same time. Role-play with your child by talking on the phone to each other or have your child use his/her imagination and “talk” on the phone to a person of their choice. This activity is great for building conversation skills and appropriate ways to communicate with others. Children can also “jot down” notes while communicating on the phone. This adds voimagescabulary, communication, dramatic play, pre-writing skills, number recognition, and fine motor skills all at once.
  10. I Spy– Take a large clear container and fill it with small objects from around the home. Show the items in the container to your child and say “I spy something (object) and you use it to (description).” When your child guesses the correct object, let him/her get the object out of the container. To make the activity harder, have your child give you 2-3 descriptions of an object while you try to guess. Include concepts such as colors, categories (animals, food, transportation) and number sense (I spy something with 8 legs).

How can I tell if my child has a learning disability?

Children learn at different rates and with different styles during the kindergarten years; however, if your child has significant trouble learning numbers and letters or with speech, he may have a learning disability. Knowing the signs of learning disabilities and getting the necessary early intervention is key to the child’s success. imgresThe earlier the learning disability is detected, the better chance the child will have of succeeding in school and in life. Because the first years in school are crucial to a child, it is important to recognize signs of a learning disability early on. Difficulty with reading and language is the most common learning disability. Studies have shown that students who are at risk for reading difficulties were able to achieve average or above average reading ability when they received help early on. Parents can give their children the necessary skills for coping with and compensating for a learning disability, with early detection and intervention. Children with learning diimgressabilities process information differently, but are generally of average or above-average intelligence. A learning disability can affect a child’s ability to read, write, speak, do math, and build social relationships. Early warning signs commonly associated with learning disabilities between the preschool years and fourth grade are listed below. Many times, young children will exhibit one or two of these behaviors, but consistent problems with a group of behaviors are a good indication that your child may have a learning disability.

Early Warning Signs for Preschoolers:

  • Late talkers, compared to other children
  • Pronunciation problems
  • Slow vocabulary growth, often with word-finding difficulties
  • Difficulty identifying and producing rhyming words
  • Difficulty learning numbers, the alphabet, and days of the week
  • Extremely restless and easily distracted
  • Trouble interacting with peers
  • Poor ability to follow directions or routines
  • Poor fine motor skills

What should I do?

If you suspect that your child has a learning disability, a complete psychological evaluation will need to be completed in order to make a firm diagnosis. Speech-language-pathologists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists will be part of the team to give information to the psychologists on how the child performs in the areas of speech, language, motor, and sensory skills. Evaluations for each area of concern will be helpful in order to see what level your child is functioning at for each specific area. Many children with learning disabilities will require speech therapy in order to focus on goals to target improvement of speech and language skills, such as reading, understanding/using language, phonemic awareness tasks, following directions, etc. Children will not only make improvement toward each goal, but learn specific compensatory strategies in order to help them overcome these challenging areas. Children with learning disabilities may also require occupational therapy in order to focus on fine motor skills, such as cutting, gluing, grasping a pencil correctly, buttoning, zipping, and tying. A collaboration of therapies, along with tutoring may be required. Children with learning disabilities can be successful in school and life with early intervention and team collaboration approach!

Your child might benefit from PT if they:

  • Have poor coordination: if they fall often, trip or run into objects frequently
  • Have increase muscle tone or decrease muscle tone
  • Demonstrate poor balance
  • Have delayed gross motor skills development
  • Have poor trunk strength: seem to slouch or “W” sit frequently, have trouble staying in a chair or sitting upright on the floor
  • As an infant, seem to only be looking one way or have a tilted head position
  • Have suffered an injury and are having difficulty recovering on their own
  • Seem weaker than peers or have trouble keeping up with peers at school (such as in PE ex: difficult with jumping jacks or climbing monkey bars)
  • Walk on toes frequently (tightness in heels)
  • Complain of pain such as in back, foot, etc.


Activities to support gross motor skills

Gross motor skills involve larger movements and control of the arms, legs, head, and trunk

Summer is just around the corner! Here are some fun activities parents can help develop their children’s gross motor skills while living a healthy, active lifestyle.  Remember to visit playgrounds often! When children are exposed to slides, swings, monkey bars, and seesaws they naturally want to explore, swing, climb, etc.

  • Running
  • Throwing and catching a ball (use a variety of different size balls)
  • Hopping
  • Pushing and pulling
  • Swinging
  • Riding a bike
  • Swimming
  • Skipping
  • Climbing stairs
  • Playing kick ball
  • Frisbee toss

The holidays are approaching quickly and many parents struggle with gifts for their children.  Many parents want to get gifts that are fun but also functional.  Following are some gift ideas that your child will love and at the same time will help promote and foster gross and fine motor,  sensory play, and visual perception.  The following games/toys can be found on, and/or walmart/target.

  1. Teeter popper by Fat Brainimgres
  2. Kinetic sand and/or play dough
  3. Magnaformers
  4. Pogo stick
  5. Snap Circuits Motion
  6. Game “Rush Hour”
  7. Scooter board
  8. Swingimages
  9. Bike
  10. Jump rope
  11. Game “Perfection”
  12. Squigz
  13. Therapy ball or peanut ball
  14. Bilibo
  15. “Spot it” – there are sevimgres.jpgeral different “Spot it!” games depending on age of child
  16. Fine motor craft bucket

Does my child need speech therapy for a lisp?

It is not typical for a child 4 and up to have a lisp. If your child is over 4 years old and still has a lisp speech therapy would be warranted. Speech therapy does work for these children and a lisp can be corrected. The child would be taught the correct lip and tongue placements in order to correct the sounds and redirect the airflow.


Does my two year old need speech therapy if he is not talking much?new_corner_pic1.png

A typically developing 2 year old should have at least 50 words. If your child is not saying at least 50 words and starting to put 2-3 words together to form phrases then you should consider getting a speech therapy evaluation. Some children (especially boys) can just be delayed with their speech. Getting a speech evaluation will help to determine the cause and what treatments are needed to help the child develop more speech.


Does your child have difficulty reading?

You may notice your child is having difficulty with reading or may not be reading at his appropriate grade level. Even if your child’s teacher is not concerned but you feel in your gut that your child is not reading as well as he should be it is a good idea to have him evaluated by a speech therapist. A speech evaluation will help to pinpoint what type of difficulties he may be having and the speech therapist can refer you to a reading tutor along with therapy if needed.


How is your child’s handwriting?

If you look at pictures hung in the classroom or writings the students have done, is your child’s the worse? If your answer is yes then your child would benefit from occupational therapy. Occupational therapy works on improving those fine motor skills associated with drawing, writing, and cutting with scissors.corner_pic_pt2.png

Does your child spend way too much time on their smartphone, iPad, computer, or gaming device? Here are 7 tips to help parents wean their children from these devices:imgres.jpg

  1. Limit alone time: Keep the computer in a public part of the house where you can monitor how much time they are spending on the internet. This will also make a child more reluctant about going to certain websites. Smart phones can be trickier to control but you can prevent them from taking them to their own room which may limit their amount of game time.
  2. Passwords protection: Putting a password on your phone or in a place where a credit card purchase is possible will ensure they only play games with your permission and will prevent them from purchasing extra goodies which may limit their game time.
  3. Use transitions: When children are playing games it’s best to warn them when their time is almost up. To avoid a meltdown, 10 minutes before dinner, let them know their time is running short.
  4. You’re the boss: The parent is still the one in charge. If gaming is still a problem then the obvious answer is to restrict the amount of time spent playinimages.jpgg or access to iPads and mobile devices.
  5. Fill their time: After restricting their game time fill that time with another activity. For some kids playing games is a way to relieve stress, fill a hole in their social lives, or simply relieve boredom. You can sign them up soccer, take them on a bike ride, get them out of the house, etc.
  6. Set a good example: Children learn from their parents. If parents are non-stop on their devices then children will view it as acceptable behavior. So parents should put their phones or tables down during meals or when spending time playing with their children.
  7. Kick your addiction: Parents need to take a look at their dependence on mobile devices. Often time parents slip a mobile device in to their child’s hand to get some down time without someone tugging on their leg or to get through a meal at a restaurant. In moderation these are okay, but kids eventually need to learn how to behave without these crutches.