Human Performance and Rehabilitation Centers, Inc.

Coronavirus: Easy and beneficial ways to keep children active when stuck at home

Being stuck at home in the midst of the evolving Coronavirus situation is a big challenge for all of us, especially parents and caregivers. The days can start to feel really long when we want to keep children occupied, while also limiting screen time. The good news is, your household is filled with common items that can be used to not only keep your child active, but encourage fundamental developmental skills. These activities are also a great outlet to give your child’s brain a break from school work and get the whole family doing a fun activity together.

These activities aren’t complicated, and you don’t have to have Pinterest-level creativity to make them work. Best of all, when your kids engage in these kinds of movement-based games, they’re enhancing their strength, coordination, balance and motor skills without even knowing it.

Balloons

It’s amazing how much fun children can have with a few inexpensive balloons. Blow up several and challenge your kids to keep them all in the air at the same time. Or, bounce just one into the air and see how many times your child can keep it up before it hits the ground. Count the number of times they bounce the balloon in the air, then challenge them to beat their time.

Add another dimension to the balloon game by creating a set of homemade paddles. Attach paper plates to wooden spoons with tape. Children can use the paddles to hit a balloon back and forth like tennis. Or, they can see who can keep a balloon in the air the longest while using the paddle. These activities are great for promoting dynamic balance, coordination and endurance. It also encourages visual attention to task, which helps with handwriting and copying from the board.

You can also create a DIY balloon popper with a cardboard tube or a plastic cup. Take a balloon and tie off its end (just as you do when you blow it up). Cut off the top of the balloon so that it’s open on one end and tied on the other. Stretch the open end over a cardboard tube or small cup and tape it down securely. Place a small object inside (pom-pom balls, cotton balls or marshmallows work great). Pull back on the balloon part and let it go. Use these instructions for help. Make it even more challenging by trying to catch the object with the cup when it falls to the ground.

Spoons

Spoon racing never goes out of style – maybe because it’s fun and is one of the easiest household challenges imaginable. Try balancing a plastic Easter egg on a kitchen spoon while racing your family members. You can adapt this game by using a variety of different objects such as larger wooden spoon, a golf ball, or even a balled-up pair of socks. You can even do this activity with your homemade paddles and balloons. Create your own “field day” by having children hold their own spoon race outside in the fresh air. Balance and coordination are essential for doing everyday activities like carrying a lunch tray at school or walking in line in the hallways.

Plastic Cups

Many of us keep stacks of plastic cups in our pantry, which happen to be the main ingredient of this fun hand-eye coordination activity. Divide cups evenly among children, then have them race to stack them up and build a tower. Play fun music while the race is on and see who can do it the fastest. This activity works on visual motor integration as well as fine motor and bilateral coordination. Another fun cup activity is to line them up like bowling pins and knock them down with a ball. Or you can lay the cup on its side and use it as a target to roll or hit a golf ball into.

Sidewalk Chalk

Using chalk is a quick and easy way to create different agility challenges. Classic hopscotch is a great bilateral coordination and balance activity. The out-and-in jumping pattern mimics jumping jacks as well. Draw zig-zags, curves, or straight-line pathways that you can use to practice your balance while you try not to “fall off” the line. Kids can even race each other through an entire course of various “balance beams.”

Have a pre-school aged child? Draw different large shapes and have children jump to each one, practicing their gross motor skills and strengthening their legs while learning their colors, shapes or numbers. You can also have children practice balancing on one foot while standing in the shapes.

Animal walks

What kid doesn’t like to pretend to be an animal? Children can pretend to be walk like a duck, crab, bear, or jump like a frog while trying to race each other. All of these exercises involve using the entire body to help children build muscle strength, balance, coordination and flexibility. They target the core area, which is essential for all movement. This is especially good for children with poor posture or who have difficulty sitting still.

Laundry Basket

Another great balancing activity is to have your kids use their feet to pick up objects and place them in a laundry basket. You can use laundry baskets, cardboard boxes or mixing bowls. Have children stand up and pick up items with their toes (marbles, pom-pom balls, socks, etc.) and try to place it in the basket without dropping it. You can also place a bean bag on top of their foot and see if they can keep it there while doing the activity. This activity targets balance and builds strength in the hips, core and feet. It is great for kids who are flat-footed or pigeon-toed.

Stefanie Ortiz, DPT, is a licensed Physical Therapist at HPRC Pediatric Rehabilitation in Columbus, GA. She joined HPRC in January 2018 after completing her DPT in Physical Therapy in 2017 from Armstrong State University. Stefanie received a B.S. in Rehabilitation Science from Armstrong State University in 2014. Her practice area is Pediatric orthopedics. She lives in Columbus, GA with her fiancé and sweet baby boy. Stefanie’s favorite past times include sports, outdoor activities and crafting.

Ice Cream Puffy Paint Craft

Craft of the Day: Ice Cream Puffy Paint

This Ice Cream Puffy Paint craft is a great way to work on many different fine motor, visual motor, and sensory integration skills! Cutting and coloring are school based skills that require a great deal of coordination, strength, and visual attention. Mixing the puffy paint and painting with your finger is a fun way to involve your sensory system and help your kids feel more comfortable with a variety of different textures. You can make this craft easier by cutting it out beforehand and allowing your younger kids to color or paint once the ice cream cone is assembled. We hope this activity is a fun and entertaining way to continue working on your therapy skills at home!

Click here to get the ice cream printable!

Home Speech Therapy Activities to Keep Your Kiddos Busy

With public schools closed due to the recent outbreak of COVID-19, you may find yourself and your kiddos getting stir-crazy. There are a number of activities you can do with your children to keep them engaged and active. HPRC’s Brittany Hinkle, M.S., CCC-SLP would like to share some free resources with our parents.

  1. Articulation Take Home Packet (Free for a limited time!)
  2. Helpful Speech Tips and Techniques to Help Your Child Speak Clearly 
  3. Podcasts, Apps, Youtube Channels and Websites

 

coronavirus

Information on the Coronavirus/COVID-19 

General statement from Human Performance and Rehabilitation Centers, Inc. 

Human Performance and Rehabilitation Centers, Inc. (HPRC) would like to acknowledge we are closely monitoring information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as state and local health authorities. With any newly emerging infectious disease, knowledge evolves with time and recommendations are changing rapidly. As new information is released, HPRC guarantees to keep our patients updated.  

HPRC clinic locations continue to remain available for all of your therapy needs. We have made some important changes in how we deliver care. These changes were implemented in order to minimize contact between people and the spread of COVID-19. 

What HPRC Is Doing

  • All team members are required to wear a protective face mask
  • Practicing social distancing
  • Scheduling less patients in the clinic at one time
  • Staggering staff schedules to promote social distancing
  • Cough and sneeze etiquette  
  • Frequently cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces 
  • Hand sanitizer made readily available in all clinics and frequent hand washing 
  • Mandating a 14-day quarantine to any staff that has been exposed to COVID-19
  • Screening all individuals that enter the clinic by taking temperatures and completing a questionnaire

What Can You Do?

  • Stay home if you’re showing symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19
  • Wait in your car to avoid the waiting room if practical
  • Clean and disinfect your surfaces at home
  • Wash hands often
  • Leave vulnerable family members at home

Our Clinicians are now providing Telehealth services.

Telehealth is a live one-on-one video appointment with your therapist that enables current patients to see and talk to their healthcare providers from the comfort and convenience of their home. This allows us to #flattenthecurve by promoting social distancing and allows our patients to continue care. Give us a call today to see if you are eligible for telehealth.

Visitor Policy

To help ensure the safety of our patients, providers, employees and community, our facilities have implemented a zero-visitor protocol. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding while we stay focused on proving high-quality care. *Some exceptions may apply (e.g. pediatric patients). Call prior to your visit should you have concerns. 

If you feel sick 

COVID-19 is a virus that is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person in two ways; between people who are in close contact with one another and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. In efforts to keep our patients and staff safe, if you experience fever, cough or shortness of breath we ask that you contact your clinic by phone to reschedule your appointment. We are waiving any late and cancellation fees for illness-related cancellations.  

Stay informed 

The CDC has the most current information about the virus, including everything you need to know about how the virus spreads, how it’s treated, how to protect yourself, and what to do if you get sick. Stay on top of the latest by visiting the CDC website, which is being updated frequently. 

You can also learn how your state’s department of public health is responding to the situation by visiting the website for the state where you live: 

Our team is working hard to be safe and calm, and to continue to provide the best possible care, in every way, to our community.

 

 

Are walkers, exersaucers and jumpers safe to use?

They’re colorful, engaging and fun, and they seem like great places to place your infant while you take a much needed break.

But are walkers, exersaucers and jumpers really good for infants?

There’s growing belief among pediatric physical and occupational therapists that these common childhood devices aren’t the best way to promote gross motor development or cognitive development, and that they actually can promote delays or atypical development. It’s a good idea to understand exactly what’s happening when your infant is using a walker or jumper, so that you can make an informed decision about integrating them into your daily routine.

Possible Safety Concerns

Safety is an ongoing concern with these devices. One of the biggest safety concerns is that the infant is now upright, and mobile if in a walker. This allows them upright freedom of movement before they are cognitively and physically ready for this movement, and it allows them access to a variety of harmful items that are on counters, tables and other places around the house. In fact, these kinds of concerns led to a ban on baby walkers in Canada, which has been in place since 2004.

Understanding Development

To achieve proper physical and cognitive skills, infants and children need to go through certain developmental milestones, such as rolling, sitting, crawling and walking. If you’re apt to put your infant in a walker, exersaucer or jumper frequently, it can interfere with the brain’s pathways and the natural milestone progression. Infants tend to have poor posture when in these devices, as they lean or lock out their legs, or they just lean and keep their legs bent or dangling. This can promote the development of bad habits, such as toe-walking and continually bouncing or jumping when held. Additionally, these devices do not allow infants to rotate their trunks or shift their weight with control, thus affecting their development of balance. Every time we move, our body learns. When an infant is allowed to move on the floor, such as crawling or pulling to stand at a stable surface, they are working on their balance. This is through repetition of movement and feedback from our muscles/joints to our brain. This is a way of developing balance control and is not accomplished in a walker, exersaucer or jumper.  Lastly, these devices also do not allow infants to explore their feet, which is needed for overall development, but especially for the progression towards independent walking.

What to do

Limit the use of walkers, exersaucers and jumpers, to no more than 15 minutes a day. When in such devices, place a pillow or book under your child’s feet so they have a better chance of standing with flat feet versus standing on their toes or rolling their ankles. Better yet, create a play place on the floor for infants, such as with baby gates or corrals, which will keep them safe, but allow them to move and explore on their own. Play mats with toys to reach for are also great. Infants like toys of varying colors, textures and sounds. You can also use a Pack n’ Play to keep your infant safe, as this will allow him or her to roll, crawl and even pull up to standing. Best yet, get on the floor with your infant. Interact with them, help them to reach for toys or their feet, help them roll and do lots and lots of supervised awake belly time.

Overall, we want healthy, happy infants and parents. Safe floor play is the best way to encourage movement and overall development. Placing infants in devices such as walkers, jumpers and exersaucers can limit this.

 

Catherine Stubbs, PT, DPT, PCS is a licensed Physical Therapist and Department Director at Pediatric Rehabilitation, Columbus, GA. She has been employed with HPRC since 2002. Catherine received her M.S. in Physical Therapy in 2000 from North Georgia College and State University and her DPT in 2019 from Arcadia University. She is an APTA board certified clinical specialist in pediatric physical therapy. Catherine lives with her husband, Brian, and children in Columbus, Georgia.

 

Physical Therapists Provide Movement Checkups

Your body is complex, with multiple systems. All of which have to be working well for it to function. Physical therapists are experts in maintaining, diagnosing, and treating the movement system. Like the braking or ignition system in a car, most people only think of the movement system when it’s not working the way it should. Most people have a mechanic for when their car breaks down, and most people have regular maintenance performed on their car. Less common is having a physical therapist and having regular checkups of your movement system. Similar to the systems in your car, problems with your movement system are much easier to treat if they’re found early. This keeps small issues from becoming larger ones. For example, if you have a little bit of weakness, and balance that’s not quite up to par, improving those early could prevent a sprained ankle, or a fall and a broken wrist. An annual movement screen from your physical therapist can find small issues that you may not have noticed with your strength, balance, flexibility, or coordination. Many of these minor issues can be fixed with a few exercises at home, or with just a few visits.

What to Expect

A screen of your movement system is quick and easy. Your annual visit may include:

● A history of your injuries, as well as a health history

● Assessment of your strength, balance, flexibility, etc.

● A review of your movement goals (do you want to run a marathon? Get on and off the floor easily playing with your grandkids?)

● A review and update of your exercise program

About The Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association

Founded in 1956, the Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association champions the success of physical therapist-owned businesses. Our members are leaders and innovators in the health care system. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) represents more than 85,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and students of physical therapy nationwide. For more information, please visit www.ppsapta.org.