Parenting Tips


Gifts That Give More Gift Guide & Contest

Beautifully wrapped presents, surprises from Santa, stockings overflowing with goodies galore, ‘tis the season for gift giving!

Your little ones have most likely scoured store catalogs and flyers for the newest toys and must-have items to add to their gift wish lists. And, while you’ll want to have some of those special items under the tree, you should also consider gifts that are not only fun but offer developmental benefits as well.

“The best toys to give children are those that promote developmental growth during play,” said Allison Crumpler, a speech-language pathologist and the director of clinical compliance for Raleigh Therapy Services. “There are plenty of popular toys that help support and advance fine and gross motor skills, balance, memorization, imagination, social interactions, speech and much more.”

Our Raleigh Therapy Services’ team of expert pediatric speech-language pathologists and physical and occupational therapists use an assortment of learning toys and games in the therapy services they provide to their young patients. They’ve handpicked their favorite learning toys from Learning Express Toys of Raleigh-North Hills for you to consider as you start to shop.

Gifts That Give More

 

Infants to 12 months

 

Chewbeads & Bobeads

Age:

6 months and up 

Developmental benefits:

Speech/Language

  • Safe teething option
  • Helps to strengthen jaw muscles needed for chewing

Fine Motor/Sensory

  • Safe “chewing” option for oral seeking children who feel the urge to put objects in their mouths

 

Lollacup

Age:

9 months and up

Developmental benefits:

Speech/Language

  • Supports straw drinking technique
  • Straw drinking helps contribute to development of lip and mouth muscles needed for speech and sound production

Fine Motor/Sensory

  • Holding the handles and cup help with fine motor skill improvement
  • Helps children develop self-feeding skills

 

Take-Along Shape Sorter

Age:

9 months and up

Developmental benefits:

Speech/Language

  • Supports shape and color identification and recognition
  • Enables child to follow simple directions
  • Introduces turn-taking opportunities

Fine Motor/Sensory

  • Involves fine motor muscles for grasping and placing pieces
  • Supports tactile exploration
  • Promotes problem-solving strategies

Gross Motor

  • Supports motor coordination development

 

1 to 2 Years

 

Migoga Junior

Age:

18 months to 5 years

Developmental benefits:

Speech/Language

  • Introduces new vocabulary
  • Supports color identification and recognition

Fine Motor/Sensory

  • Involves fine motor muscles for grasping and placing pieces
  • Helps develop hand-eye coordination
  • Supports tactile exploration and auditory input
  • Promotes problem-solving strategies

Gross Motor

  • Supports hand-eye coordination

 

SpinAgain Stack

Age:

1 to 3 years

Developmental benefits:

Speech/Language

  • Supports shape and color identification and recognition
  • Enables child to follow simple directions
  • Introduces turn-taking opportunities

Fine Motor/Sensory

  • Involves fine motor muscles for grasping and placing pieces
  • Helps develop hand-eye coordination
  • Supports tactile exploration
  • Promotes problem-solving strategies

Gross Motor

  • Supports bilateral coordination

 

iPlay Funtime Tractor

Age:

1 to 3 years

Developmental benefits:

Speech/Language

  • Introduces animal and environmental sounds
  • Supports animal identification and recognition

Fine Motor/Sensory

  • Involves fine motor muscles for grasping and placing pieces
  • Helps develop hand-eye coordination
  • Supports tactile exploration and auditory input

Gross Motor

  • Encourages mobility
  • Supports bilateral coordination

 

Touch & Feel Books

Age:

1 to 4 years

Developmental benefits:

Speech/Language

  • Helps to increase vocabulary
  • Introduces item labeling opportunities

Fine Motor/Sensory

  • Page turning engages fine motor movements
  • Touching and feeling support sensory opportunities and introduces new textures

 

Kidoozie Sand ‘N Splash Activity Table

Age:

2 to 8 years

Developmental benefits:

Speech/Language

  • Encourages pretend play to promote language development
  • Introduces opportunities for social interaction

Fine Motor/Sensory

  • Supports fine motor control development
  • Supports tactile exploration

Gross Motor

  • Encourages mobility
  • Supports hand-eye and bilateral coordination

 

Zoku Quick Pop Maker & Fish Pops

Age:

2 years and up

Developmental benefits:

Speech/Language

  • Introduces opportunities to target and increase tongue range needed for speech
  • Offers exciting way to introduce new food flavors and textures

Fine Motor/Sensory

  • Supports oral tactile exploration

 

3 to 5 years

 

Wikki Stix Traveler

Age:

3 years and up

Developmental benefits:

Speech/Language

  • Supports letter, shape and color identification and recognition
  • Encourages pretend play to promote language development

Fine Motor/Sensory

  • Involves fine motor muscles for grasping and placing pieces
  • Supports tactile exploration

Gross Motor

  • Supports hand-eye and bilateral coordination

 

Kidoozie Pop-Up ‘N Play Goal

Age:

3 years and up

Developmental benefits:

Speech/Language

  • Introduces turn-taking opportunities
  • Introduces opportunities for social interaction

Fine Motor/Sensory

  • Involves proprioceptive input
  • Promotes sensory regulation
  • Encourages coordinated movement of the eyes, head, and body

Gross Motor

  • Encourages mobility
  • Supports bilateral coordination
  • Engages both legs and arms

 

Fold & Go Trampoline

Age:

3 to 8 years

Developmental benefits:

Speech/Language

  • Introduces turn-taking opportunities
  • Introduces opportunities for social interaction

Fine Motor/Sensory

  • Involves proprioceptive input
  • Promotes sensory regulation
  • Encourages coordinated movement of the eyes, head, and body

Gross Motor

  • Helps to strengthen core muscles and movements
  • Encourages balance and stability
  • Engages both legs and arms

 

Bead Bouquet

Age:

4 to 8 years

Developmental benefits:

Speech/Language

  • Introduces new shapes, colors, and patterns
  • Enables child to follow simple directions

Fine Motor/Sensory

  • Involves fine motor muscles for grasping and placing pieces
  • Supports tactile exploration
  • Promotes visual spatial awareness

 

Boogie Board Jot & Mermaid Sequin Board

Age:

4 years and up

Developmental benefits:

Speech/Language

  • Supports letter and shape identification and recognition
  • Encourages letter and sound correspondence
  • Enables child to follow simple directions

Fine Motor/Sensory

  • Involves fine motor muscles for grasping and writing/drawing
  • Supports tactile exploration

 

Spooner Freestyle Board

Age:

4 years and up

Developmental benefits:

Fine Motor/Sensory

  • Promotes sensory regulation
  • Encourages coordinated movement of the eyes, head, and body

Gross Motor

  • Helps to strengthen core muscles and movements
  • Encourages balance and stability
  • Engages both legs and arms

 

Hopscotch Action Game

Age:

5 years and up

Developmental benefits:

Speech/Language

  • Introduces turn-taking opportunities
  • Promotes sequencing
  • Introduces opportunities for social interaction

Fine Motor/Sensory

  • Promotes visual spatial awareness
  • Encourages coordinated movement of the eyes, head, and body

Gross Motor

  • Helps to strengthen core muscles and movements
  • Encourages balance and stability
  • Engages both legs and arms

Rush Hour Traffic Jam Logic Game Jr.

Age:

5 years and up

Developmental benefits:

Speech/Language

  • Introduces turn-taking opportunities

Fine Motor/Sensory

  • Involves fine motor muscles for grasping and placing pieces
  • Helps develop hand-eye coordination
  • Supports tactile exploration
  • Promotes problem-solving strategies

Gross Motor

  • Supports bilateral coordination

6 years and up

 

Sing-Along Pro Karaoke Microphone

Age:

6 years and up

Developmental benefits:

Speech/Language

  • Promotes sound/word/phrase imitation
  • Encourages melodic intonation and volume control
  • Develops storytelling abilities
  • Introduces turn-taking opportunities
  • Introduces opportunities for social interaction

 

Rubik’s Race

Age:

7 years and up

Developmental benefits:

Speech/Language

  • Introduces turn-taking opportunities

Fine Motor/Sensory

  • Involves fine motor muscles for grasping and placing pieces
  • Helps develop hand-eye coordination
  • Supports tactile exploration
  • Promotes problem-solving strategies

Gross Motor

  • Supports bilateral coordination

 

Crazy Aaron’s Mixed by Me Glow in the Dark Thinking Putty Kit

Age:

8 years and up

Developmental benefits:

Speech/Language

  • Enables child to follow simple directions
  • Promotes sequencing

Fine Motor/Sensory

  • Involves fine motor muscles for grasping, mixing, etc.
  • Supports tactile exploration
  • Promotes sensory regulation

Gross Motor

  • Supports bilateral coordination

 

Enter to Win!

Visit our Raleigh Therapy Services Facebook page now through Friday, Dec. 15 to like, comment and share our Gifts that Give More graphic for a chance to win a $50 gift card to Learning Express Toys of Raleigh-North Hills! Only one entry per person. Winner will be drawn at random on Saturday, Dec. 16.

 

  Filed under: Gift Guide, Parenting Tips


A Not-So-Scary Halloween

Ghosts, goblins, and ghouls may soon be making their debut, but that doesn’t mean your child can’t enjoy a not-so-scary Halloween.

For many young children, especially those with special needs, Halloween excitement can turn into total overload causing unnecessary angst and anxiety.

Your child will be introduced to new sights, sounds, tastes and activities during this haunting holiday that may cause him to become overwhelmed. All of those sensory elements combined with the social demands of trick-or-treating can turn a fun night into a frightening and frustrating experience. However, by planning ahead and anticipating some challenges that may arise, you can avoid the “tricks” to ensure your child experiences the “treats.”

Talk about talking

Trick-or-treating gives your child the opportunity to exchange dialogue in a friendly setting. Let him ring the doorbell and practice his greeting over and over again. As you practice, ask him about his costume or his favorite candy to engage him further as a neighbor may do on Halloween night.

Let him glow

Planning to be out after dark? Most “scary” sights are much less concerning during the day but may take on a new look after the sun goes down. Give your son a glow stick or a flashlight to carry to illuminate his path and shed light into the night.

Allow him to give out candy

If donning a costume and hearing new noises will be too much for your son, let him stay home and hand out candy with you by his side. Give him directions about how much candy to give out and what greetings he should use as the costumed children approach for treats.

Trade in the candy

Is your child highly sensitive to sugar and dyes? Does he have food allergies? Let him trade the candy he collects for a special toy. Make sure to have the toy ready to give to him when you offer the exchange.

With positive plans in place, Halloween can be an enjoyable day for you and your child. Have fun!

  Filed under: Parenting Tips, Raleigh Therapy Services


Small Kids, Big Backpacks

Is your child’s backpack loaded up and full of books? Is he starting to complain of backaches? Do his shoulders hurt?

Carrying too much weight in a bookbag or wearing the bag incorrectly, can lead to some issues for your student. In fact, a student’s backpack can be the culprit for a number of aches and pains as well as poor posture and weakened muscles.

While you may not be able to do anything about the workload and books your student brings home each day, you can give him some tips to ensure he’s properly using his bookbag to curb unnecessary pain.

Backpack Tips

Loading a backpack:

  • Make sure all items in the bag are needed that day
  • Place the heaviest items against the back of the bag
  • Use outside pockets to carry smaller items
  • Try to fill compartments and pockets evenly to distribute weight

Students who wear their bookbags correctly will also lessen their risk of shoulder and back pain. Make sure your child knows the right and wrong way to wear their backpack.

Wearing a backpack:

  • Utilize both shoulder straps for even weight distribution
  • Tighten the shoulder straps to ensure the bag doesn’t hang loosely on the shoulders
  • Adjust the straps, so the bag sits in the curve of the child’s lower back when worn
  • Wear both the waist and chest straps
  • Wear the backpack only when necessary

Raleigh Therapy Services Occupational Therapist Maria Georgiou added, “Your child’s backpack should not weigh more than 10 percent of his total body weight. If it does, speak with his teacher to find a solution to lessen the weight of the bag by reviewing the actual contents he needs to complete his work.” 

Buying a Backpack

Another item to consider in reducing your child’s backpack pain is to determine if you purchased the right bag for him and his school needs.

Important features to consider when selecting a backpack include:

  • Organizational pockets and compartments
  • Waist and chest straps
  • Two wide-padded shoulder straps
  • Extra back padding
  • Lightweight canvas material
  • Structure and size; a book bag should not be larger than the child’s back

Continued Back or Body Pains

If your student continues to experience back or body pains even after discussing the proper way to wear and load his bookbag, you may want to speak with his pediatrician. She may want to see him to assess your concerns and determine if an ergonomic evaluation is needed.

  Filed under: Awareness, Occupational Therapy, Parenting Tips