What should my child be able to do? Speech in the first year.

If you have questions about these or other milestones, schedule a free screening with one of our child development experts at 701.364.3945. 

7+ Winter Break Activities to Keep Busy Kids...Busy!

Winter break is right around the corner, and we know how it can be.

The first day or two is full of excitement that school is out and you can all sleep in a little later, play a little more, maybe watch a family movie. Then there's the busyness of the holidays to fill in a couple days as well.

But then the high wears off and the pent-up energy needs to come out! We've got you covered with a list of inspiring ideas to keep those busy kids busy during the winter break.

2-Ingredient Icicle Ornaments - Happy Hooligans

Icicle Ornaments

These glittery icicles are an ideal project because it will intrigue the science-minded, delight the artistic decorators, and it is much sturdier than it's delicate appearance.

winter activity for preschool

No-Mess Snow Window Sensory Play

Perfect for ages 2+, this allows them to get creative and use their imagination. Extend the learning and fun by asking your child to tell you the story behind her wintery scene. 

Fine motor play with ribbon -- great busy idea for toddlers to do

Ribbon Fine Motor Play

A no-mess option for the toddler-set, this is a super simple, engaging twist on the basic in-and-out play that young children love. If you don't have ribbons, just look around the house for whatever you might have lying around.

Another twist on this one is to use an empty wipes container and ribbon or any other fabric scraps you have. Babies and toddlers always seem to love pulling out the wipes when they're not supposed to - here's their chance to go crazy with it!

Alaphabet Game

Find & Match Alphabet Game

This one will keep 2-4 year olds busy for a while. Perfect when you need a quick coffee break to yourself, plus it's the kind of fun play that develops multiple skills at once - and they don't even know they 're learning!

Bubble Wrap Hopscotch

Bubble wrap is such an entertaining invention, for kids and adults of all ages! It's great for getting out that extra energy and developing gross motor skills. You can have little ones jump on large pieces for the fun of hearing it pop, and for school-age children, create an indoor hopscotch course. Just be sure to tape it down wherever you're using it, so it doesn't slide out from underneath their little feet.

Discovery Box: Straws

Give your child access to something they usually want to dig out of the cupboard - straws. This will develop their fine-motor skills, creativity, and have them concentrating quietly. Sure, you might be finding straws underneath the couch into the spring, but it's an inexpensive, low-mess delight for your toddler!

Need more ideas?!

20 Ways To Keep Toddlers Busy

Teaching Mama has 20 MORE great ideas to keep your little ones active and learning over winter break. Anything can be turned into a game or activity...you just have to use your imagination!

To love, laughter, and learning ~

Header image credit: Môsieur J. [version 9.1] via Compfight cc

Celebrate National Sugar Cookie Day

Five Recipes Perfect for Celebrating National Sugar Cookie Day

Sometimes you just need an excuse to bake up something yummy! We rounded up some of the cutest and most delicious recipes on the web for you to share with your little ones.

Don't worry if your finished product would be best suited as a "Pinterest-fail." All that counts is the taste...and the time spent together.


Five Recipes Perfect for Celebrating National Sugar Cookie Day

Watermelon-Shaped Cookies

Kids often lose interest after just a few cookies, so it can be easiest on the head-baker if you just keep everything uniform instead of doing multiple designs at once. These watermelon-shaped cookies are fun and adorable, yet keep it simple enough with just a couple colors of frosting.

Five Recipes Perfect for Celebrating National Sugar Cookie Day

Skillet Sugar Cookie

A different twist that won't involve heating up the oven on a hot day! Plus it's all done at once, so you don't have to spend hours taking cookie sheets in and out.

Five Recipes Perfect for Celebrating National Sugar Cookie Day

Firework Sugar Cookies

We know, the 4th of July has passed, but you can use the memory of the holiday's fireworks displays to inspire your little decorators. This is a great activity for little hands, because it develops their fine motor skills - just keep an eye out that no one gets poked with a toothpick! Let them pick their favorite colors too: pink, orange, red, or yellow would all make spectacular displays.

Five Recipes Perfect for Celebrating National Sugar Cookie Day

Spiral Sugar Cookies

Who doesn't love sprinkles! These cookies are great because you can make them as fuss-free as you want by using pre-made dough and just adding some food coloring gel, or add in lots of flavor by making them from scratch and then amping them up with lime, lemon, almond, strawberry, or whichever extract flavor corresponds best with your color choice. 

Five Recipes Perfect for Celebrating National Sugar Cookie Day

Swirly Cookie Pops

A cookie on a stick! Adorable and whimsicle, yet simple to create because you only need one shape to cut. Kids can each choose a color to work on, then create a sampling for a cookie pop bouquet which is a perfect "thank you" gift for someone who needs an act of kindness in your life.

Top 5 Expert Tips for Potty Training Success  

1.  Preparation is the key for success and the most crucial step is choosing a time to begin. You will need to persist daily for at least three months. 

2.  Remember to praise each triumph and not scold when things go badly. Even having a grumpy face when cleaning up a mess sends a negative message to an impressionable little mind. 

3.  When children are learning to use the toilet and having accidents, have your child wear underpants, then place the training pants over the underwear. This allows the child to feel the uncomfortable wet underwear, yet will prevent the "accident" from running onto the floor.

4. Most kids begin toilet-training around 2 years, but it’s not uncommon for a child to be in diapers at their third birthday. Many aren’t potty-trained until 4 years of age. However, if by age 4 your child is still resisting vehemently, it may be time to seek expert help. 

5. Like any kind of training schedule, routine helps. Many children have a bowel movement around the same time each day, often within an hour of eating, and urinate within an hour of having a long drink. Be guided by your child’s body clock and try to ensure it doesn’t correspond with their tired time. 

Wondering if your child's development is normal? Still struggling with toilet training issues? We can help!

Contact our professional team of therapists to answer all your questions and give you peace of mind. 

Busy Bags

Keeping a child occupied doesn't need to be time consuming or stressful. There are plenty of easy ways to quickly put together activities where you will be able to keep your child occupied, while they are learning at the same time!

We quite often use ‘busy bag’ activities to work on various skills such as fine and gross motor, speech (talking about colors, shapes, animals, etc.), attention to detail, and concentration.  The wonderful thing about busy bags is that depending on how many you have, it is easy to swap them out so that you always have a variety of activities to do. Another great thing about busy bags is that they can vary in difficulty and length of time, so if your child needs easier activities that don’t require a long attention span you can alter the busy bag to fit their needs. You can also create themed busy bags to match seasons or various holidays, providing further learning opportunities.
Here are links to some of our favorite Busy Bags!

You can also find more Busy Bags over on our Pinterest page. 

Featured App: Heads Up! By Warner Bros.

HEads_up.jpgHeads Up! is an interactive app that is fun for kids and adults. This app is available for both Android (free) and Apple ($0.99) devices. Heads Up! comes with seven card decks including: Happy Holidays, Act It Out, Superstars, Animals, Accents & Impressions, Just for Kids, and Famous Families. Additional decks are available for purchase at $0.99 each.
Once a deck is selected, a player places the phone or tablet up to his or her head. A second player describes each word or phrase so that the first player can guess what it is. The tablet or phone is flipped forward when the item is guessed correctly and flipped backward to pass to the next item. The player or team who can guess the most words within the one minute time limit wins! 
Heads Up! is a great app to target turn-taking and teamwork. It is a fun way to practice language skills such as using clues to identify an item and using expressive language to describe people, objects, actions, or animals. In addition, a video is recorded during each round and may be played back for review. The video feature can allow the child visual feedback on facial expressions, body language, and can help with understanding different perspective taking techniques. 
Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.
Requires Android 2.3 and up.
If you have any questions about this app, or would like to see other featured apps, please visit the resources page on our website at www.pediatrictherapypartners.com.

It’s Turkey Time!

The holidays present many wonderful opportunities for learning. In the spirit of Thanksgiving we’re busy incorporating turkeys into our sessions giving the children ways to work on their speech and fine motor, along with other skills in their time with us.

We have different variations turkeys hanging out with us this month. We’re talking about colors that we want our turkeys to be, how long their legs should be, what shapes we are using, how we should attach the various pieces of the turkeys together, and so on.

For our first turkey we used half of a paper plate, tissue paper squares, a construction paper circle, and construction paper for the beak and giblet. Depending on the age of the kiddo and the skill set that they have, we’ll let them cut out the different pieces needed; such as cutting the plate in half, the tissue paper into squares, and the construction paper into the shapes needed for the head, beak and giblet.

For our second turkey we used half a paper plate, construction paper for the body, head, eyes, beak, giblet and legs. We colored the feathers onto the edges of the plate, and glued the various body parts of the turkey to the plate. We worked on our folding skills with giving the legs a little dimension, and cut the ends for feet.

Both of these activities are really easy to do with the kiddos with only a minimal mess to clean up at the end, and covers speech, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, decision making, and creativity.