Archives

Boredom Busters that Double as Sensory Play

Disclaimer: This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. That being said we only endorse products that have actually been used and we are satisfied with their quality.

So as parents we try to be creative with our children but like most of you, I am running out of creative things to do with my son.  Plus, with cooking three times a day for Brandon, who eats more food then humanly possible I feel like all I am doing is cooking and cleaning all day.  I welcome easy mindless activities to keep him busy and give me a break.  So I have included some fun things to do for your kiddo’s that you can set up!

Tape Peeling

This is a very simple activity that provides hours of fun. This activity works on pincer grasp, hand eye coordination, visual attendance and more.  Take some painters tape that you probably have laying around in the garage and put strips of it on the tables, walls, furniture and more.  You can create images or allow your children to create their own images and then peel off.  If you want to make it really fun use glow in the dark tape (affiliate link) and turn the lights out.  The kids will have so much. Place a small trash can in the vicinity so that the kids can clean up after themselves too.  Now sit back and drink a cup of coffee.

Block of Ice Treasure Mission

For this activity you will need a plastic container, small toys such as small balls, plastic unicorns, cars or anything you have available to you at your home, toy hammer or improvise with spoons, squirt guns filled with warm water and salt.  Place your treasures in the container and then fill it up with water.  Place it in the freezer over- night. It is less messy to do this in the backyard or if you must do it inside place the block of ice in a larger container to avoid the mess to clean after.   While they are busy searching for treasure you can relax or get something off your to do list done.

Squirt gun painting

This is such a fun activity that can unleash your child’s creativity.  You will need dollar store poster board or you can do this with an old t-shirt, dollar store squirt gun, poster paint, watercolor paint or kool-aid.  Find a great space outside to let your kiddos be as creative as they want without the fear of paint getting somewhere you don’t want it to be, take out your paints and mix them with 50% paint and 50% water.  Pour each color into the squirt gun.  Set up either the poster board or t-shirt on the ground.  Step back and let them have a ball.  After done let their creations dry outside.  They will be so proud of their creations. 

Outdoor Water Fun Ideas

Sprinkler Pads

Sprinkler parks are so fun for kiddos.  But wouldn’t it be so fun to set up one in your back yard.  All you will need is this fun Splashin Kids Outdoor Sprinkler and a hose.  They will have hours of safe fun and you can use it time and time again all summer long.  I love this one because there is just enough water on the base for the little ones to sit in and splash away or the older children to run through the sprinklers.

This is also one of my other favorites that is great for kids and adults of all ages.  Rainbow outdoor sprinkler system.  Several children can run through it at one time, children in wheelchairs can ride through it, walkers can walk through it and crawlers can crawl through it.  Make sure that you fill the clouds up with water so that it stands up straight. 

Water Tables for Sensory Water exploration

Of course one of the tried and true fun water ideas is the water tables.  I like the Little Tikes Fish in Splash Water Table. You can use it with or without the legs.  It has an easy plug and drain to release the water.  This is a great toy to use for sensory water exploration.  I like to dye the water blue or different colors as a change. 

Hope this helps with trying to combat the boredom and give you a break while your children are thinking you are the greatest since slice bread.

See you soon in gym!

Kimberly

Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with your Family

Valentine’s Day does not have to be just a Holiday for romance, chocolate, flowers and overpriced dinners out. We can celebrate Valentine’s Day with our children as a family in our own ways.  This is a great time to teach children about what the true meaning of love is and all the different ways we can love someone.  Love within a family means commitment to one another to accept each other for the good traits and the not so good traits.  When we love within our family we show support for one another when needed by lifting each other up and celebrating achievements and hard work. 

We can teach children that Valentine’s Day is not about us but it is about others. There are some really cool activities that will help with this lesson in love.

Create a Love Door

As a family you can pick a door in the house and each member of the members of the family can write a sticky note conveying what they love about each other and post the notes to the “Love” door.  This helps children and adults focus on the positive attributes of one another and helps family members feel loved and appreciated and ultimately brings people together.

Community projects

You can discuss ways to show love in the community and let the children pick a project to do that will benefit someone in the community.  Work on the project together and deliver the project as a family.  Examples of projects can be cooking a meal for someone, doing yardwork for a single mom or dad in the neighborhood, writing out Valentine’s Day Cards and delivering them to a local senior home or group home.  

Love Bingo

Play a fun game of Love Bingo.  This Bingo Game is great because while playing and having fun you can discuss the meaning of the words in the bingo game with your child.  Make it a yummy treat and instead of using the paper markers to play the game you can get candy hearts instead.

Sensory Bins

Create simple fun sensory bins for your child to explore. You can dye pasta or rice red and pink. Pour pasta in a bag and drop in a little paint. Seal the bag and shake it. Pour colored pasta out and allow to dry over night. Throw in dollar store plastic hearts and small cups and bowls for scooping and pouring. Your child will love exploring this tactile experience.

Baking Together

As a family you can make yummy cookies for desert with each family member having a part in making them.  When they are done you can share them with your neighbor and friends.   

Read Together

Read with your child a great Valentine book like Llama Llama I love you , Happy Valentines Day Curious George or My Fuzzy Valentine Day by Elmo. 

Whatever you and your family choose to do, focus and enjoy the time that you are blessed to spend with one another.

My Kind of Normal

Have you ever compared what your life is like on a daily basis with your child to someone else’s life and wished your life was just a little bit more like theirs?  I used to do this all the time and truth be told I still do this occasionally when my life with my child with special needs is chaotic.  With social media always showing us all the happy, smart people out their leading exciting lives it is hard to not compare even though we know that is not reality.  It is just a snapshot of a bigger picture.

Dreams of a Norman Rockwell Holiday

The worst time for me to do this is during the holiday.  I love the holiday season for many reasons.  I love the feeling of happiness, giving, generosity, love and acceptance during this season.  In the past, I used to not like it for many reasons as well.  I would watch all the children excitedly tell their parents what they wanted from Santa, join in with all the holiday games and parties, look forward to decorating cookies and see their faces light up when they unwrap their gifts and so on and so forth.  I so wished and prayed I would have these very same experiences with my child.  But my reality with my child is very different. 

Adjusting, accepting & embracing a new kind of Normal

My life looks a little different during the holiday season just like a lot of our mommies of special needs children.  My son could care less about presents.  As a matter of fact, he screams and lashes out when I give him a present to open.  I think he thinks it is therapy (occupational therapy to be exact).  I take him to St. Augustine every year to soak up the holiday spirit with all the holiday lights and people singing.  I try to get his photo under the big Christmas tree.  I want to have those fun photos to show people my son during the holiday season.  This year he screamed from the time we were parking the car to the time we left 30 minutes later. I decided to settle on driving through the neighborhoods with light displays to try to “catch” the holiday spirit.  After several failed attempts to help him experience the holiday spirit, I had a light bulb moment.  This is not what brings him holiday joy and spirit.  The extra noises, lights and excess people during these events is a sensory overload for him. He likes places and things that he is used to within his routine. This is how I am used to celebrating the holiday and I wanted to pass this on to him.  Traditions are very important to me and I wanted to have these traditions with Brandon.   It is time for a change.

Starting a New Tradition

I realized it is time for me to start new traditions and have a “New Kind of Normal”.   I started writing down all the things Brandon likes to do during the holiday.  He loves to eat, he loves to jump, he loves to ride in the car, he likes hanging out at the gym because he is used to going there, he loves music and he loves his Chewelry.  So, this year instead of giving him toys he will never play with I got a big basket and filled it with his favorite snacks and a year supply of chewelry’s. I filled his stocking with sensory toys and fidgets. 

On Christmas morning, I waited for him to find his fun stash on his own time.  No prearranged time to open gifts, no coercing him to sit on the floor and get his presents out from under the tree, no flash of the camera going off.  I had to learn to give him space to experience the holidays on his terms, not mine and when he was comfortable. When he finally saw his fun stash his eyes lit up, he looked at me and started jumping up and down and grabbed one of his snacks and excitedly gave it to me to help him open it.    I smiled and enjoyed that moment and was thankful for the many lessons my son teaches me on a daily basis.   Our holidays are not perfect, but we are working on better traditions that suit our family.

Ideas for New Traditions

It is difficult to start new traditions. This is an amazing book with lots of great ideas for traditions for your family. You could use this book with your family to choose new traditions that fit your unique family.

2019 Most Exciting, Cool Swings and Hideouts for your Child and Why Every Child Needs One

Have you ever stopped and watched your child in action and wondered “where does he/she get all that energy or “I wish I had their energy”.  If you have then you know exactly how difficult it is to keep your child entertained and happy.  I know because I have a son that is very busy.  One great solution for keeping your child active and happy and giving them endless fun at the same time is buying them a swing.  Swings are great to increase vestibular strength.  If you are wondering what the heck is vestibular, I will make it short and sweet.  Your vestibular system gives your brain information about balance, motion, and spatial awareness.  This information helps your body coordinate that movement and maintain balance.

Take a look at these exciting, fun, sturdy swings for your child!

This Rectangle Platform Swing is such fun. It holds up to 250 pounds. Very well made and easy to assemble. This price won’t last long. But it is an amazing durable swing that will provide so much fun for your child.

This is a great swing. It is a Full Support Swing for children that might be bigger that need a little of extra support while swinging. You have the ability to have it sit up or have the swing tilted back for more support. This is the teenage swing which goes up to 180 pounds. If you require a smaller swing this is the link to the next one down.

Play Platoon Flying Saucer Tree Swing is a very sturdy swing. Don’t let the name fool you, it can be hung outside or indoors Holds up to 300 pounds and the company gives you a lifetime warranty. This swing comes fully assembled, so you can’t beat that.  This is still is one of the favorites for my son. You can sit on this with friends, lay down and stand up if you like.

Hugglepod is a great versatile swing. They are very sturdy. It can double as a hideaway for your child. Easily fits up to 3 children inside. Great reading nook. It can be placed on a rotational spin hook so the children can spin while in the swing. Holds up to 250 pounds.

Trekassy 660lb Giant 60″ Platform Tree Swing for Kids and Adults Waterproof with Durable Steel Frame and 2 Hanging Straps. We have this swing hanging in my son’s sensory room. This is a great swing for several reasons: 1) It holds 600 pounds 2. It is big enough for multiple friends, so great for social skills 3. Can be hung up outside or indoors (we have it hung up indoors) 4) versatile, can sit, lay down or stand while swinging  This is a great choice also for children that cannot sit up for it is large enough to lay down in. You can use bean bags or pillows in the swing so the child is propped up more.

 

Hope this helps with some fun choices for your child that will bring a smile to their faces long into the future.

HCBS waiver what is it and how can it help my family?

Can someone just tell me where to start…..

Like most of you parents of children with special needs, I was constantly researching ways to help my son Brandon get the services he needs.  Also, like most of you parents I ran into many stumbling blocks in getting those services due to income restrictions, asset restrictions, lack of information, lack of funding availability, not knowing the right person or even not knowing how and what to ask for on top of all the lengthy, complicated paperwork that had to be filled out in its entirety without mistake or said mistake would cost you months or even years of non-service.  Totally frustrating system. Let me help you!

What does HCBS mean?

Home and Community Based Services.  This is person centered care delivered in the home and community.  It is designed to allow for individuals to stay in their homes instead of receiving services in a facility for care.  This program is housed under Agency for Persons with Disabilities.  It is considered the payer of last resort.  Meaning all other means to pay for service has been exhausted.

What can it cover for my child (under 21)?

  • Respite Care so you can take a break
  • Personal Care Supports
  • Environmental Modifications such as making a bathroom handicapped accessible
  • DME (Durable Medical Equipment)
  • Consumable medical supplies such as vitamins
  • Medicaid for as long as child is on waiver and more

Eligibility Criteria

Must be diagnosed with one of the following: Intellectual Disability (Full Scale IQ of 70 or below) Severe forms of Autism, Spina Bifida cystica or myelomeningocele, Cerebral Palsy, Prader-Willi syndrome, Down syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome

Must live in Florida, must be at least 3 years of age or more and have a disability that started before the age of 18.  This is not based on income of the parents/guardian, but it is based on the income of the child. (There are ways to safeguard this income criteria for your child that we will talk about in another blog post)

Now you have qualification, and you get excited, but hold on they now tell you there is a 7 to 10-year waitlist. What to do next.

What is the Waitlist?

The Waitlist is exactly what is says. I list of individuals waiting for services.  Due to budget issues not all people that qualify for the waiver will get services right away.  This depends on if you have an emergent need.  Even though they tell you it will take 10 years to get off the waitlist, apply and get on the waitlist.  Periodically they will give temporary services to people on the waitlist.  Also once you are on the waitlist your can apply for a crisis defined as  homeless, exhibit life-threatening behaviors that place them or others in extreme danger, or have a caregiver who is in extreme duress and can no longer provide for the applicant’s health and safety.  Examples of this can be a caregiver that is having difficulty transferring a child due to back problems, a child that runs out of house or away from the parents putting himself in danger, a child that is aggressive to others causing injury or a self-injurious child.  My son got services due to PICA (he eats un-edible items.)

How to apply

Click on the link below and get your application

http://apd.myflorida.com/forms/Attachment-D-Application%20for%20Services%2017-09-06.pdf

After completing the application, include proof of eligibility (i.e. medical records showing diagnoses, psychological evaluations etc.).  Also, must send proof of domicile such as driver’s license, voters’ registration, homestead exemption etc.

Call 1-844-865-1172 Easter Seals for directions to send documents.

Don’t feel overwhelmed, take it one application at a time.  You are a superstar!

Carrie

"I took my son here for his first birthday today and he had so much fun!!! This place is a hidden gem! It’s absolutely amazing ☺️ the owner is amazing and so friendly. I felt so welcomed and my son had a blast! Highly recommend this place!!!"

-Carrie (Parent)
Sensorytowne
2019-04-25T18:44:56+00:00
-Carrie (Parent)
"I took my son here for his first birthday today and he had so much fun!!! This place is a hidden gem! It’s absolutely amazing ☺️ the owner is amazing and so friendly. I felt so welcomed and my son had a blast! Highly recommend this place!!!"

Dalia

"My kid loves this place. Extremely clean and friendly staff. I highly recommend this place. Always have something new added."

-Dalia (Parent)
Sensorytowne
2019-04-29T20:58:29+00:00
-Dalia (Parent)
"My kid loves this place. Extremely clean and friendly staff. I highly recommend this place. Always have something new added."

Angelina

"Today we went on a field trip with our daycare to Sensory Towne and our students loved it! The staff were friendly, inviting, and very interactive with our students. The environment was very clean and engaging for not only the students but the parents as well. We will definitely be booking more field trips in the future."

-Angelina (Teacher)
Sensorytowne
2019-04-29T20:58:42+00:00
-Angelina (Teacher)
"Today we went on a field trip with our daycare to Sensory Towne and our students loved it! The staff were friendly, inviting, and very interactive with our students. The environment was very clean and engaging for not only the students but the parents as well. We will definitely be booking more field trips in the future."

Courtney

"Love it here. As a therapist I can bring kiddos in to play and accomplish goals we are working on. The staff is super friendly and helpful. This is a total judge free space and there is a lot of activities for the kids."

-Courtney (Therapist)
Sensorytowne
2019-04-29T20:58:46+00:00
-Courtney (Therapist)
"Love it here. As a therapist I can bring kiddos in to play and accomplish goals we are working on. The staff is super friendly and helpful. This is a total judge free space and there is a lot of activities for the kids."

Samara

"My toddler alwaysss has a fun time here! One of our favorites. And the owner is the sweetest.  Highly recommended!"

-Samara (Parent)
Sensorytowne
2019-04-29T20:58:49+00:00
-Samara (Parent)
"My toddler alwaysss has a fun time here! One of our favorites. And the owner is the sweetest.  Highly recommended!"

Clara Testimonial

"Amazing place! The owner is great, she is very enthusiastic and loves kids. There are classes, special events, and free play as well. It's perfect for a rainy day or when it's too hot outside for the park. There is always something to do at Sensory Towne!"

-Clara K. (Parent)
Sensorytowne
2019-06-29T01:51:39+00:00
-Clara K. (Parent)
"Amazing place! The owner is great, she is very enthusiastic and loves kids. There are classes, special events, and free play as well. It's perfect for a rainy day or when it's too hot outside for the park. There is always something to do at Sensory Towne!"

Danielle

"My son who just turned 3 LOVES this place!! We like to attend the Wednesday morning art classes!!There is so much to do, super clean and the owner is so sweet! We will definitely keep coming back!! ☺️"

-Danielle (Parent)
Sensorytowne
2019-05-07T00:59:00+00:00
-Danielle (Parent)
"My son who just turned 3 LOVES this place!! We like to attend the Wednesday morning art classes!!There is so much to do, super clean and the owner is so sweet! We will definitely keep coming back!! ☺️"

Lisa K

This birthday party was the most fun! The staff was fantastic.  I cannot give them enough credit for how amazing they were.  The made sure we were taken care of.  They handled prepping, clean up, make sure all guests plates and cups were full.  We did not lift a finger.  Miss Kimberly was engaging and sweet and has done a wonderful job with Sensory Towne. Best birthday ever!

Lisa K (Parent)

Sensorytowne
2019-10-14T18:50:49+00:00

Lisa K (Parent)

This birthday party was the most fun! The staff was fantastic.  I cannot give them enough credit for how amazing they were.  The made sure we were taken care of.  They handled prepping, clean up, make sure all guests plates and cups were full.  We did not lift a finger.  Miss Kimberly was engaging and sweet and has done a wonderful job with Sensory Towne. Best birthday ever!
0
0
Sensorytowne