Sunday, November 24, 2013

Fall Crafts for Children: Thanksgiving Turkey Craft

Creative fall crafts for children can be hard to find.  My special friends at Schilling Farms Middle School shared this awesome Thanksgiving turkey craft with me, and I'm thrilled to pass it on to my readers! I especially like it because it includes tasks like painting and tearing paper, which are good for fine motor skills!

Supplies Needed:
 Small plastic milk bottle
 Coffee Filter
 Liquid Water Color Paint
 Brown Paper Bag
 Elmer's Glue
 Construction paper

Mix 4 parts glue to one part water in a small bowl to make paper mache. Tear the brown paper bag into small strips. Dip each strip covering it completely with glue mixture, then stick each strip to the milk container until it is completely covered.  Allow it to dry completely. Cut a vertical slit on one side.

Paint the coffee filter using various paint colors. Once the filter dries, fold it and insert one edge into the slit in the milk bottle. Cut out the face parts (see photo) and glue them in place. :)

Continue to browse my blog for more craft activities for kids!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

"Retro Baby" Article in USA Today

Avoid Sleep Positioners!
I was so pleased to be interviewed by USA Today for a story about my new book "Retro Baby, Cut Back on all the gear and Boost Your Baby's Development with Time-Tested Activities." 

This is an excerpt from the article, and you can click HERE to read the full article, and HERE to order your copy of Retro Baby:
What gear should parents skip?

"Some popular baby products that child development expert Anne Zachry and other pediatric experts says parents don't need:              

1. Educational DVDs. Research indicates educational DVDs do not help babies learn. Various studies find either no difference in language acquisition between children who watched educational DVDs and those who didn't, or that babies learn language better by interacting with live speakers than by passively listening to language coming from a DVD.

2. Sleep positioners, a flat or wedged mat intended to keep babies positioned on their back while sleeping. They are unnecessary and pose a suffocation risk, Zachry says.

3. Jumping devices, including Johnny Jump Up, Jumperoo, and Jump & Go. Some attach to door frames, others are freestanding. Those that suspend from a door frame pose dangers including head trauma, strangulation and whiplash. All versions encourage standing on the tiptoes, which is not good for baby's feet, and excess jumping puts unnecessary stress on an infant's legs, hips and spines.

4. Bath Seats. They provide support so a child can sit upright in an adult bathtub, but are capable of tipping over. Instead, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends using a hard plastic child bathtub and make sure you never leave a child unattended near water and always have at least one hand on the child while bathing him or her.

5. Bumper pads. There's no proof that the pads, used to keep babies from bumping their heads against the slats of a crib, prevent serious injury. In fact, they are pose a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment.

6. Baby walkers. These wheeled seats are intended to give babies mobility and learn to walk. But children with have fallen into pools, down stairs, and over ledges and been burned when using walks and they may actually delay, not help when a child starts to walk. A safer option is a stationary activity center used in moderation – no more than 15 minutes a day."

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Special "Social Story" to Help Your Child Deal with Feelings of Anger


Many of you know that I’m a huge fan of social stories! All children need to learn how to deal with feelings of anger and frustration, and for children with special needs, understanding and controlling emotions can be a real challenge. That’s why I’m excited to share one of my new favorite children’s books with you!  “Liz Tames aDragon (and Her Anger)” is written by Stephanie Painter and illustrated by Jeanne Seagle. Stephanie has an educational background in counseling and writes about child development and family issues for various parenting publications.

Technically, “Liz Tames a Dragon” is not traditional “social story,” but as soon as I read it, I thought of all the special needs children who could benefit from this book. This book will help children learn to recognize feelings of anger, and it provides “healthy” strategies for managing those feelings. The illustrations are absolutely amazing and depict the story perfectly! To read more about “Liz Tames a Dragon (and Her Anger) or to purchase the book, click HERE.

(For more information and the history of social stories, click HERE).

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Fall Crafts for Children: Holiday Turkey

Fall crafts for children are a great way to spend quality time with your kids.  This is a simple little Thanksgiving turkey craft that children enjoy making, and it's even good for their fine motor skills!  Here are the supplies you'll need:

1 small Styrofoam cup
1 wine cork
Brown paper bag
Scotch tape
6 or 7 feathers of different colors

Have the child cut one strip of paper bag to wrap around the cup and one strip to wrap around the cork. An adult can draw lines on the paper so it's the correct size if the child needs to practice cutting on the lines. Once the strips are cut to the correct size, show the child how to wrap each strip around the cup and secure it in place with a piece of tape, and do the same with the cork.

Secure the tip of each feather to a toothpick using a short strip of clear tape. An adult may need to complete this part of the task, as it can be quite difficult.

Have the child draw eyes, beak, and turkey "beard" on the cork.  Use two toothpicks to secure the cork in place. Now have the child poke the feathered toothpicks in the top of the cup. To increase the motor skill challenge, use a
black Sharpie and make dots were you want the
feathers to go. This will really challenge those visual motor skills. What a cute Thanksgiving turkey!

Browse my blog for more craft activities for kids!

Home Activities for Children with Special Needs: Keeping it Fun!

I was recently asked to write a guest post for one of my favorite blogs: Love That Max! In the post, I shared some fun home exercise activities for children with special needs. Click HERE to read the post!