Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Meanderings - Farm Time

This week, I thought we could take the outdoors theme a little further with farm activities. Here are some great ones.

First up is The Diary of Dave's Wife, she had a birthday party with a farm theme for her son, which was adorable. For this segment, we will be focusing on her Barn Backdrop. I love it and she was able to make it inexpensively. How cute to set that up to play with farm animal toys!

Counting Coconuts has a great Farm sensory box. What child wouldn't want to break out singing "Old McDonald" after playing with this? She also has an amazing number of other sensory box ideas on her blog.

Here is an adorable hand print craft. Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas contributes this. I love that the kids first paint on the barn, pond and meadow. Then they have to turn their hands in different directions for the animals.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday Meanderings - Nature

Last week we started touching on getting kids out in nature. This week I am including links to gardening with kids. We grow a variety of plants and my son loves it! I can also get him to try more vegetables, if he has a hand in growing them and picking them.

The Micro Gardener has a great story about a "Jack and the Beanstalk" themed garden. My son loved green beans, then he hated green beans and after eating some raw, straight from the garden, he is back to loving green beans. Give this a try!

What is that? You say that you have no space for a garden? Nonsense! Here is a great garden that Life on the Balcony made from a pallet! I love this, it takes up almost no space and is sitting on an apartment balcony.

Planet Pals has a great list of recyclable seedling containers. I love the eggshells! You could then plant the eggshells directly into the ground when the seedlings are ready to be transplanted. As I am putting the eggshells in the ground, I would probably crack the bottoms a little to give the roots a start on working their way out. While you are on their website, be sure to check out all the great recycling ideas.

I was on HGTV's website recently and saw this great pizza garden. This is a pretty large garden, but you could also do this in a big round oak barrel. It is rare for a child to not like pizza, so this is almost always a home run!

Teach your kids how to garden!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Autism Spectrum Diagnoses

The Center for Disease Control released a new report last week stating that 1 in 88 children are diagnosed with some form of Autism.That is a 23 percent increase from their report in 2009 and a 78 percent increase in the report from 2007. In addition to the increase, the CDC goes on to report that boys (1 in 54) are almost 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with a form of Autism than girls (1 in 252).

The majority (62%) of the children in this study had no intellectual disability. The majority of the children were rated as average or above average on intelligence tests.

Should this study frighten parents? I do not believe so. I believe that this article encourages parents to be proactive in treatment for their children. The study states that most parents noticed a developmental delay in their child prior to the age of 1. Most of these delays were thought to be vision or hearing related. Due to this early intervention, the children were able to be diagnosed at an earlier age. The earlier a child is diagnosed, the sooner parents were able to obtain therapy including but not limited to speech, occupational and physical therapy.

With early detection, dedicated family and quality therapists many of these children have been able to make great strides in their health.

As you review the developmental milestone reports that your doctors provide you and the numerous ones that you can find online, please keep in mind that each child develops differently. These reports are just guidelines of when your child should be reaching, or should be closing to reaching a milestone. On the other side of that coin, if your child is nowhere near reaching a milestone, you need to advise you pediatrician immediately and see how they think you should proceed. Allow your doctor to be a partner in your family's wellness. Provide them with the information they need to make sure your child is on the right track.

Read the full report from the CDC here.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday Meanderings - April Showers

Well, April has finally arrived and with the coming of April, we welcome in flowers and sunshine. Do you garden at your home? I have found numerous projects that you can do with your kids to get them out in nature. In order to appreciate nature, a child has to be involved in nature. Here are some projects to get you started.

First up is Burgh Baby with an absolutely adorable Fairy Garden. I spent a summer working in a garden center and the owner made lots of fairy gardens and even offered classes for kids. It is pretty easy. You can find a container, or just a section of your yard. Then you can build your houses, or buy small birdhouses. I have even made fairy houses out of the small single serving milk containers. Decorate any way you want, and then go to the garden center and buy small plants. I love the way Burgh Baby glued pennies on the roof of her fairy home, for good luck. I also love her fairy swing in the tree! This is a great activity for kids to scour your yard for fairy goodies like pieces of bark, twigs, twine, seashells and so much more.

Do your kids love to water the plants? My son does, but sometimes he drowns delicate plants with the force of the water hose. Need a solution? Try out the Thumb Waterer from Fun in the Making. This can be made from recycled containers (be sure to clean them well first). You can even offer up a history lesson!

Seasonal Gnome made a beautiful garden loom. This is not only great for getting outside with nature but can really encourage fine motor skill with the weaving of items into the loom. It is also inexpensive since you scavenge the wood and then you just need twine.

My favorite is this post from Artful Adventures. Have you heard of Land Art? It is amazing. You go outside, round up some of your favorite items like leaves, blossoms, stems, rocks, etc. and then you arrange them into art. I love this fish scene. I have been on hikes before and you suddenly stumble upon a Land Art project that someone created and left. It is shocking and beautiful. Get outside and create some Land Art with your kids!

Get outside and enjoy the weather with your family! Our next Monday Meanderings will again involve getting outside with your kids.