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Early Intervention Speech Therapy

Welcome to Preschool Books!
August 29, 2014 8:00 AM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling
As we all know, the first day of school can be daunting and even scary, especially when children are just 3 and 4 years old and entering a classroom for maybe the first time. Reading fun, light-hearted stories about the experience can really put their mind at ease. Today's post highlights several age-appropriate books that can be used with children entering school for the first time and getting ready to begin preschool!

1. The Night Before Preschool - written by Natasha Wing, illustrated by Amy Wummer

  • Appropriate for children ages 3-5, preschoolers
  • We actually own this book and it is adorable! I purchased it last year when my daughter began preschool as a 3-year-old and was very nervous about her first day. This endearing tale helped to lessen her fears and encourage a sense of anticipation and excitement for the fun times that were waiting for her "big girl" school!
  • Earned 4 and ½ stars on Amazon

2. Maisy Goes to Preschool: A Maisy First Experiences Book - written and illustrated by Lucy Cousins

  • Appropriate for children ages 3-5, preschoolers
  • This book is part of the "Maisy" series and kids love them! We own "Maisy Cleans Up" and it is one of my younger daughter's favorite books. The summary on Amazon states that: "Preschool for Maisy means a day filled with friends and things to do, from the time she hangs her coat on a special peg to the time she says good-bye. There's painting and snack time, stories and nap time .... (this book is a) child-friendly look at a day in the life of a preschooler."
  • Earned 5 stars on Amazon

3. Curious George's First Day of School - written by H. A. Rey

  • Appropriate for children ages 3-8, preschooler - 3rd grade
  • Summary from Amazon: "Curious George has been invited to Mr. Apple's class to be a special helper! George is just the right monkey for the job - until he starts to wreak his usual havoc, that is. Red and yellow paint makes orange, yellow and blue makes green ... and a mixture of all the paint colors makes a big mess! ... A full-color twenty-four-page paperback with bonus activities inside, including an ‘Ants on a Log' recipe, a word search, and a ‘Color Your World' craft idea."
  • Earned 4 and ½ stars on Amazon

Here are some additional books celebrating the first day of school, appropriate for preschoolers:

Franklin Goes to School (Classic Franklin Story)

Little Critter: First Day of School

Amelia Bedelia's First Day of School

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Back to School: Know Your Child's IEP Team
August 26, 2014 8:21 AM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling
If you are sending your child off to preschool for the first time or maybe you are sending them to a new school this year, today's post is for you! Building a rapport with the professionals working with your child is vital to their progress and will be instrumental as you make decisions in the future. Now is the time! Read below to learn what to do:
  • Reach out to your child's therapists - Most therapists will send home a "welcome back to school" note, introducing themselves, letting you know the days and times your child will receive therapy, etc. They may send you their contact information and the best way(s) to get in touch with them. If they do, RESPOND! Acknowledge their note and let them know you are an involved parent who is concerned about your child's progress. IF you DON'T receive a note from your child's therapist(s), initiate communication. Send a note or call the school, maybe even stop by for a visit. Set up a line of communication and build a relationship with the individuals working with your child.
  • Find out HOW they will communicate with you - Ongoing communication with teachers and therapists throughout the school year is important. In the past, we used email to interact with parents; however we now use a communication book which travels back and forth between home and school with the child. All of the students' teachers and therapists, as well as their parents/caregivers write in this notebook. Homework and follow-up activities are attached to it as well. Find out the policy at your child's school so that you are aware of WHO is working with your child, WHAT they are working on and HOW things are going.
  • Ask them to send home activities to work on at home - I always love when parents ask how they can support their child's communication skills at home. The work we do at school is only improved when reinforced at home. Homework and follow-up activities are imperative for your child's success!
  • Review your child's IEP goals - Take out your child's IEP and review the goals. Look for work to come home that supports their goals and what they should be working on. If you don't have it, lost it or never received a copy, contact your child's school and ask for a copy of the IEP to be sent home.
  • Request a face-to-face meeting - Although this is not mandatory, as a parent you can request a meeting at any time, so if you feel like it is necessary, request to meet with your child's teachers and therapists to discuss all the topics listed above and any other concerns you may have.

Best of Luck for a Happy and Successful 2014-2015 School Year!

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The Free APP Every SLP Needs!
August 22, 2014 12:39 PM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling
Today I met with an SLP who specializes in Assistive Technology and does consultative work for the Birth to 3 population in our county. She was a wealth of information, and I learned a ton of new techniques that I can use and expand with the young child and family we met with today, as well as other children I work with in both 0-3 and 3-5. One of the most remarkable new resources I learned about today was an app called: Choice Board Creator. 

Choice Board Creator is a free app perfect "for creating customizable choice boards for the unique needs of individuals with communication challenges. It reinforces correct choice by expanding the select image as well as playing the customized auditory rewards. It is an excellent tool to train and prepare users for more sophisticated communication devices via an easy, simple-to-use choice-making platform."

 Here is a list of just some of the valuable features of this app:

  • Large buttons
  • Black/white contrast to facilitate visual attention
  • Box sizes are adjustable
  • Customizable so that you can have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 boxes per page. Below is an example of a 6 box screen as well as the pop-up directions box that can be accessed to customize your boards (insert picture).
  • Users can download their own pictures (from your iPad library) as well as snap camera pictures on the spot - both are simple and require few steps
  • Users can create blank boxes as distractors to suit users of all levels
  • Users can also type text into the choice box - use this feature to teach sight words, etc.
  • Users can download different sounds, their own music, as well as their own voice to accompany pictures

Below is an example of a three picture boards I created in about 2 minutes in my living room. I used the camera button and snapped pictures of three items and placed them into each box. If I were to use this in therapy I would record my voice naming each picture:  duck, pizza, glasses. When you touch the picture, my voice would be heard naming it.  A set-up like this can easily be used for picture/curriculum vocabulary identification, function, etc. (ie. "Find the duck." Or "Touch the object that helps you to see," etc.)

I am VERY excited about this app! A program like this will be very instrumental during the school year when conducting my language-based recipe lessons. I will now be able to snap pictures of the ingredients on site, as well as actions and steps taken to create the recipe. The possibilities are endless! As the app site description says "The possibilities are (ONLY) limited by your creativity." Good luck!

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Summer Speech Fun at Home
August 19, 2014 8:00 AM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling
Just a few weeks left before September arrives and school is back in session! During these remaining August summer days, you may be looking for fun, inexpensive ways to keep your child(ren) entertained as well as challenged and engaged. Today I'd like to share some of the fun ways we like to pass the time at our house when we are home together on my days off. My 4 year old especially has an active imagination these days and wants (and needs!) to be kept busy and amused!
  • Put on a Show! Pull out some of your child's favorite story books and act them out! Let your child choose the book(s) that they love the most....Goldilocks and the 3 Bears? The Very Hungry Caterpillar? Whatever it may be, use baby dolls, stuffed animals or even yourselves to act out the story. The way we have made this work in our house is the following: I am the narrator and read each page of the book. My 4 year old uses her Barbies, baby dolls, stuffed animals and various toys as props to reenact her favorite books. She LOVES this! We practice this several times and then perform for my husband and our little one. It's a great way to help your child(ren) use their imagination and develop pretend play skills. For example, when we needed a trophy for Barbie, we used a light up magic wand and when we needed a sea lion, we used a pink stuffed manatee. Creating a book "show" will challenge your child(ren) to think of creative ways to express themselves and the message their favorite book conveys.
    • Communication Skills Addressed: Developing pretend play, language development, pre-reading skills, problem-solving, story retelling
  • Create Exciting Scenes! All you need is some large blank pieces of paper, a few crayons and lots of stickers! I find my best and most inexpensive stickers at A.C. Moore and Michael's craft stores. Make a farm scene by coloring in some grass and sky and using farm animal stickers. Create an ocean scene by coloring in some sand and waves and fill it with stickers of colorful fish and buckets and pails. After your little one has finished theirs, have them tell what they did and describe the scene they created.
    • Communication Skills Addressed: Sorting and categorizing, describing, story telling
  • Bang Out Some Music! If you have some instruments you don't mind you child(ren) "playing" on, go ahead and bring them out! Put on some of your own favorite kid-friendly tunes or sing some of your own and have a mini concert right in your living room! We have a few CDs that are our favorites! Of course, Disney's Frozen, as well as Jack Johnson's Curious George CD and The Sound of Music Movie Soundtrack. We put these on and "sing and dance like no one is watching!" Short on instruments?? Try using some of your kitchen pots and pans. Also toys like nesting cups and large building blocks make wonderful impromptu drum sets! Short on children's music?? Sing some old familiar favorites like Old MacDonald Had a Farm, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and The Itsy Bitsy Spider.
    • Communication Skills Addressed:  Developing speech/language rhythm and appropriate prosody.

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Apraxia Apps for the iPad
August 15, 2014 7:37 AM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling
Apraxia remains for me one of the most challenging conditions to treat in early intervention.  I am always looking for new ways to improve my therapy and the quality of resources to share with my students and their families. Recently I began researching once again some new apps to try in my therapy sessions and to share with families who have access and the ability to download apps to their home devices.

Today's post highlights a group of apps created by the NACD or National Association for Child Development. According to the app site, the NACD is a "unique organization with a unique approach to brain growth and development. Founded in 1979....NACD has helped parents enhance the development and function of their children for over 30 years...It is from this background and experiences that the NACD team of neurodevelopmentalists and therapists, including SLPs, has created the NACD Home Speech Therapist line of speech apps," which are all listed and described below:

  • NACD Apraxia - This app focuses mainly on the skill of syllable CV (consonant + vowel) development and according to the app site, it can be used for adults and children with apraxia as well as traditional articulation practice. It provides an informational video for users to review if needed and breaks the CV syllables down into sound patterns, for example bilabials (b/p/m) are one group, alveolars (d/t/n) are another group and so on to make executing therapy easier and more organized.
  • NACD Apraxia Words - This app takes the developmental skills to the next level, thus focusing on speaking CVC (consonant + vowel + consonant) words. It provides separate informational videos for both parents and therapists. Similar to the first app, you can chose which sound group you would like to focus on (bilabial-bilabial; i.e. "map"), (velar-bilabial; I,e. "cub") and so on.

Each of the 4 apps costs $4.99 and receives high ratings and positive reviews from users, some even calling it the "best speech apraxia app." One parent reported that her youngest child struggled with apraxia and felt the Apraxia Words app "was instrumental in the progress he's made."

The apps also offer a "progress tracking" feature so that you can "save the progress for each user...and can resume....where you left off." Wonderful for SLPs working with multiple students! There is an additional charge of $4.99 to obtain this portion of the app.

The additional 2 apps created by the NACD in this apraxia series are:

  • NACD Apraxia 2 Syllables
  • NACD Apraxia Endings

Please write in and share if you have tried these apps!

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Learning Apps and Games for Toddlers, Continued
August 12, 2014 7:59 AM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling
Last week I highlighted one of my favorite apps for very young children: Peekaboo Barn! Today I'd like to share another group of apps that are geared towards young children called TinyHands: Educational APPS for Toddlers. One of my favorite aspects of these apps is that it lists the age for which each app is designed starting as young as 1+. These apps also focus on basic skills, such as sorting colors, shapes, clothing, etc. as well as matching and finding the pairs that go together. Other TinyHands apps are for children 3+ and focus on sorting, matching, classifying and building at a more complex level. I have downloaded several of these apps and have used them both in my own home with my children, as well as in therapy sessions and they are perfect for young kids and "tiny hands"!

Some of the TinyHands apps are FREE and some cost a few dollars, roughly $1.99-$3.99 per app. All of the apps are colorful and welcoming, including friendly looking animals and objects. In addition they are slow moving and allow time for little ones to process information and take their time. There are numerous TinyHands apps to enjoy and choose from, so make sure you take the time to peruse them all and see which ones will best suit what you are looking for. Below are some of my favorites:

  • TinyHands Lotto 1 educational matching puzzle games, toddler & baby learning first words, iPad apps for boys and girls: "Fun educational game for toddlers ages 1.5 and includes 10 mini game boards" - Your child can sort various pictures! Perfect choice for very young children just learning to use an iPad.
  • TinyHands Sorting 1, educational puzzle games for babies and toddlers, colors and shapes learning apps for preschool kids: "For children ages 2+ and includes 12 mini game boards and the opportunity to sort and classify by shape, color, seasons, vehicles and more"!
  • TinyHands Town center, Educational puzzle games for babies, toddlers and preschool kids age 3+: Teaches children to "sort, order, match and count by shape, pattern, color and everyday objects" using "10 mini game boards." Takes kids on a journey to various everyday situations, such as a diner, a minimart, an auto shop, a bakery and stores to buy clothing, hats, gifts, etc.

Please share some of your favorite apps for young children!

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Learning Apps and Games for Toddlers
August 8, 2014 7:52 AM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling
During the months of January through May 2012 I wrote several posts about apps that were appropriate and recommended for young children, especially those with speech and language delays/disorders.  It's been over two years and since then I have discovered many new wonderful apps and I'm sure even more yet have been created. Today's post is the first in a series, as an update of some of my favorite apps for very young children and toddlers. Most will focus on following simple commands and understanding basic concepts such as shapes, animals, colors, counting, etc. All are colorful, exciting and designed to teach little ones the foundational skills they need to know!

Peekaboo Barn - This app was recently updated on 3/15/14 according to the info listed in the app store. It now includes numerous animals including a donkey, llama, cow, pig, and all the basic barnyard animals. I really like this app for young children, even as young as 12-15 months because all they need to do is tap the screen to make the barn door open and see what is inside and then tap it again to move on to the next animal. Perfect for following a 1 step command. I currently work with several 2 year olds recently diagnosed with autism and this has proven to be a fun interactive app that does not overwhelm the child. It holds their interest and they like to lean in to listen for which animal is behind the barnyard door. The animal "knocks" on the barn door and oinks, moos, neighs, or does whatever it does behind the door. For young children learning about animals, this app offers an opportunity to GUESS what is in the barn! A great way to begin developing early "prediction" skills!

If interested, this app also offers some additional features, namely the opportunity to record your own voice, so that is what your child will hear when they use the app and the ability to change the setting to one of 12 different languages. Your child will both see the word written in each language, as well as hear the word said in the language chosen. 

*There is also a Peekaboo Sesame Street, which features the real voices and images of the sesame street characters. Perfect if your child is a fan of Elmo and Cookie Monster!

Join me on Tuesday for more of my toddler and young child app picks!

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Speech at the Beach! Summer Themes Continued
August 5, 2014 8:00 AM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling
This week during our summer theme series we are visiting the BEACH! The sounds, sights and smells of the ocean and sand are a perfect way to bring summertime to your sessions and help prepare your students for possible vacations near the water. Learning about and practicing with beachy vocabulary words and topics is not only fun, it is very appropriate for these hot summer school days!

So where to begin?? Start with a book!

Beachy Books are a wonderful way to bring visual imagery into your beach lesson and spark a conversation about all the many ways to explore the sea!  Here are some options for preschoolers:

  • What Lives in a Shell? (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld (Author), Helen K. Davie (Illustrator) - appropriate for children preschool+ - Read all about the main crustaceous creatures found at the beach!
  • Beach Day by Karen Roosa (Author), Maggie Smith (Illustrator) - appropriate for preschool+ Amazon describes it as "a captivating introduction to the beach for young children."
  • At the Beach Paperback - by Anne Rockwell (Author), Harlow Rockwell (Author, Illustrator) - Amazon describes as "There's so much to do at the beach! There are sand castles to build, seashells to gather... and a picnic lunch to enjoy in the shade of a bright beach umbrella."

Get Gritty! Using a sandbox or sensory table, bring the beach into the classroom! Fill the sand box area with SAND as well as actual beach toys and sea urchins! Your students will love exploring with a pail and shovel, various beach toys and tools, sea shells of varying sizes, shapes and designs. You can even add in some construction-type toys, such as dump trucks and diggers to help little ones go on a seek-and-find digging up the sand looking for shells and treasures! What a great way to have a hands-on vocabulary explosion during your therapy sessions!

Create Their Own Beach Scene ... and Describe It!  Art is one of my most favorite ways to bring language into speech therapy sessions. When children have visual aids, they have a safety net to help catch them if they need it but also support their thoughts as they shape them into words. Give everyone a large piece of blank paper and some crayons. Have them color half the paper blue for the ocean and the other half brown for the sand. Give them beachy stickers and beachy foam shapes and have them design their own beach scene. They can draw themselves there or whatever their heart desires! Let them create and run wild on the paper. Afterward, ask them to describe it to you and you can write their words down for them. Have them tell their classmates about their scene and what they made, telling what stickers and shapes they used and what they drew! What a wonderful way to make summer come alive!

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Recipe: Desserts on the GRILL
August 1, 2014 9:30 AM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling
Welcome to the last post in my summer grilling series! This week you are in for a treat! Delicious desserts that are warm, toasty and sweet...Perfect for hot summer days by the BBQ and cool fall nights by a campfire!

Summer S'mores

Here is a recipe I found that is a varied version of traditional s'mores using oatmeal cookies instead of graham crackers!

You will need:

  • Large soft oatmeal cookies
  • Block squares of milk chocolate (such as the size on a Hershey bar)
  • Large marshmallows
  • Skewers
  • Tin foil

Recipe Steps:

  1. Preheat your grill for high heat.
  2. Place 1 block of chocolate on the flat side of the oatmeal cookie.
  3. Skewer the marshmallows, and roast them, turning constantly, until they are a golden brown all over.
  4. Slide a warm marshmallow onto the chocolate and top it with another cookie (flat side down). Repeat these steps for all cookies.
  5. Wrap lightly in tin foil and let sit for about 3-5 minutes to melt chocolate. Serve with a tall glass of cold milk!

Other ideas? Add in some grilled bananas or try using dark chocolate squares with sliced strawberries. Enjoy!

Grilled Smashed S'mores

Here is another unique version of an all-American dessert!

You will need:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 (10 ounce) package mini marshmallows
  • 2 individual packages graham crackers, crumbled
  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • A grill-ready pan - one that can sit directly on the grill and withstand the heat

Recipe Steps:

  1. Preheat grill on low heat.
  2. Melt the butter in your grilling pan. Pour in marshmallows slowly and stir until completely melted.
  3. Remove from the fire, and stir in the crumbled graham crackers and 2 cups of chocolate chips. Press both into the pan with the back of a spoon.
  4. Allow to cool completely and then cut into squares

Other ideas?

  • Add ½ cup of peanut butter for added creaminess.
  • Add ½ cup of chopped walnuts and/almonds for a healthy crunch.
  • Substitute the milk chocolate with white chocolate chips and add in a cup of dried cranberries. Mix everything and press down into pan ... cool and enjoy!

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Pretzel Perfect: Summer Themes Continued
July 29, 2014 8:10 AM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling
Pretzels are VERY important to my hometown and where I live and work.

The privately run "Pretzel Museum" opened in Philadelphia in 1993. And in 2003, the then Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell declared April 26 "National Pretzel Day" to acknowledge the importance of the pretzel to our state's history and economy. Soft pretzels are served at our sporting events and are often a staple for school and community activities. We love pretzels!! So, it's no surprise that "pretzels" are this week's summer school theme! 

In order to make pretzels fun and more than just a salty snack, I have designed 3 short and exciting activities perfect for preschoolers!

  1. A Story About the Birth of Pretzels!
    • The book, Walter the Baker by Eric Carle is a wonderful story about Walter the Baker who is famous in his town for making the most delicious breads, rolls, cookies, tarts and pies. The Duke and Duchess especially love his warm sweet rolls, delivered fresh to their castle every morning. Then, after disaster strikes in his kitchen, the Duke threatens to banish Walter unless he can make a delicious roll that the rising sun can shine through three times! It's a challenge that has a pretzel-like twist at the end!
  2. Pretzel Yoga Moves Kids Will Love!
    • I used some of my own yoga books and chose 10 of the most fun and kid-friendly moves! After reading Walter the Baker, we practiced twisting our bodies into silly "pretzel shaped" yoga positions! This was really fun for the students and a great way to get them up and moving after the story. It was also an ideal way to work on following directions and 1-2 step commands. If you don't have any yoga books of your own, just scan the web googling "yoga moves for kids"!
  3. A Pretzel Snack!
    • A great way to end our pretzel celebration is to actually taste this doughy delight! To help make our topic come alive I provided the students with mini pretzel logs and two different dipping sauces - one caramel and one chocolate. The students loved both and really enjoyed a salty sweet snack to end our really great language lesson all about PRETZELS!

Join me Friday for DESSERTS that are perfect for the grill!

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Recipe: Grilled Kabobs for Kids!
July 25, 2014 8:00 AM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling
This week I am continuing my kid-friendly grilling recipes highlighting a summertime BBQ favorite: KABOBS! Your little one can easily help you layer up some tasty kabobs using favorite fruits, vegetables and meats. What an exciting way to add health to your child's summertime diet. And remember, not only are they fun to make, but they are also fun to eat! Below are some wonderful kid kabob combinations the whole family will love!

 Hawaiian Hot Dog Kabobs!

These are great just as they are! No marinade is necessary!

You will need:

  • *Metal (grill friendly) skewers (Wooden ones may burn and fall apart under the intense heat of a grill)
  • Hot dogs (cut into bite sized pieces)
  • Pineapple (fresh or canned, cut into chunks)
  • Fresh red peppers (washed and sliced/cut into square sized pieces)

Recipe Steps:

  1. Lay out each ingredient and get your skewers ready!
  2. Preheat grill to low-medium heat.
  3. Lightly grease the grill grate. Thread hot dogs, peppers and pineapple alternately onto skewers.
  4. Grill 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until light grill marks appear.
  5. Serve with cheesy rice or macaroni and cheese and a side of ketchup for the hot dog bits!

Asian Chicken Chunkers

You will need:

  • Skewers
  • Chicken, cut into chucks
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Green peppers
  • Soy sauce
  • Brown sugar
  • Ground ginger
  • Garlic powder

Recipe Steps:

  1. In a shallow dish, mix soy sauce, brown sugar, ground ginger and garlic powder. Stir the chicken pieces, peppers and tomatoes into the marinade until well coated. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours.
  2. Lay out each ingredient and get ready to layer your skewers!
  3. Grease the grill and preheat to medium-high heat.
  4. Thread chicken, peppers and tomatoes alternately onto skewers.
  5. Grill 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, until chicken juices run clear.
  6. Serve with sticky coconut rice and a fortune cookie!

Join me next week for some delicious grilled desserts for kids you won't want to miss!

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Summer Themes Continued: Popsicles and DIY Chalk!
July 22, 2014 8:47 AM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling
This week's theme is all about a childhood summer favorite: POPSICLES! Some of these popsicles you can eat and some you can't! All of them you can make on your own and today's post will show you how!

DIY Rainbow Popsicle Chalk

This is one of the latest crazes this summer! We actually made popsicle chalk at school this past week and the kids loved it! You only need a few simple ingredients, a popsicle holder and a freezer!

Ingredients Needed:

  • ½ Cornstarch
  • ½ water
  • Washable tempura paint (in fun, bright rainbow colors!)

*Important Notes:

  • Make sure you and your child(ren) are wearing play clothes that can get dirty and possibly stained!
  • No tempura paint in your art closet? Try food coloring; however, you will need to add a teaspoon of dish soap to the mixture as well to reduce staining.
  • Flour CAN be a substitute or addition to the cornstarch; however, some people have reported that it causes the chalk to stick to the containers
  • Many recipes similar to this have been posted online. Today's post is a collection of all the most important information you need to know to make this recipe work!

Recipe Steps:

  1. Measure and pour in both the cornstarch and water and mix together.
  2. Separate out enough mixture to fill each popsicle holder individually.
  3. Add in a tablespoon of tempura paint to each separate dose of mixture to create the individual colors (you can add more to brighten your colored mixture).
  4. Once the color is mixed to your liking, pour into the popsicle holder.
  5. Place in the freezer and let set for at least 6-12 hours (ideally the next day).
  6. Remove from the freezer and enjoy decorating your sidewalks with bright and beautiful designs with your homemade chalk!

DIY Rainbow Fruit Popsicles

Ingredients Needed:

Suggestions for fruits in rainbow colors:

  • Red: strawberries, raspberries, watermelon
  • Orange: oranges and mangos
  • Yellow: pineapple, lemon and banana
  • Green: granny smith apples, kiwi, lime, pear
  • Blue: blueberries
  • Purple/Violet: dark grapes, black berries and black cherries

*Important Notes:

  • Any of the above fruits can be used in any combination, based on what you have available or how you want your popsicles to taste. Above are my suggestions for making popsicles in the main colors of the rainbow.
  • Juices can also be used to enhance color and taste.
  • Water can be used to thin pureed fruits.
  • Fruit used can either be frozen (and thawed) or fresh produce.

Recipe Steps:

  1. Puree fruit in a blender or food processor to a thickened liquid consistency, adding juice and/or water to thin if necessary.
  2. Pour mixture into the popsicle holder (or ice cube tray) and freeze for approximately 6 hours
  3. Enjoy!

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Recipe: Simple Grilled Foods for Kids
July 18, 2014 7:35 AM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling
Today's recipes are a collection of simple and basic ideas using fresh fruits and vegetables on the grill! Each recipe only calls for 3 or 4 ingredients, making them both easy and inexpensive! Trying these recipes or ones like them will help to make your family's summer diet light and delicious!

Savory Grilled Pineapple

You will need:

  • 1 fresh pineapple - peeled, cored and cut into 1 inch rings
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • Salt to taste

Recipe Steps:

  1. Place pineapple rings into a large resealable plastic bag. Add honey, butter and salt and seal the bag.
  2. Shake the bag/pineapple to coat evenly. Marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil grate.
  4. Grill pineapple rings for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until heated through and grill marks appear.

*Grilled pineapple goes perfectly with BBQ'd shrimp and chicken!

Tangy Grilled Zucchini

You will need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 zucchinis, sliced 1/4-inch thick, lengthwise
  • Sea salt
  • Balsamic vinegar

Recipe Steps:

  1. Preheat grill for medium heat and lightly oil the grate.
  2. Drizzle zucchini slices on both sides with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with sea salt.
  3. Grill zucchinis on preheated grill until tender, approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Serve with ranch dressing as a dipping sauce.

Sweet Grilled Peaches

You will need:

  • 3 fresh peaches, sliced or 1 (16 ounce) package frozen peach slices (either can be used)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

Recipe Steps:

  1. Preheat a grill for medium heat.
  2. Place peaches onto a large piece of aluminum foil, facing upward. Use two pieces of foil if necessary to hold in all of the peaches without spillage. Drizzle the honey over the peaches, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Close up the foil, sealing tightly.
  3. Place the foil packet onto the preheated grill, and cook for 10 minutes, turning once halfway through.

Serve with a generous scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Join me next week for wonderful summer classroom therapy ideas as well as more summer grilling recipes!

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Summer Speech Themes!
July 15, 2014 7:33 AM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling
Starting today and running every Tuesday over the next 5 weeks until August 12th I am going to highlight fun summer themes that you can incorporate into your speech sessions during the warm steamy days of July and August. Today's theme is PIRATES, which is one that is very popular with both little boys and girls, especially under the age of 6, perfect for our Early Intervention population!

ARRRRGHHHHH!

Here are 4 great ways to bring a pirate theme into your speech and language sessions!

  1. Go on a Treasure Hunt! - Gather together some "pirate treasures," hide them around your office or classroom and then create a treasure map for your students to follow to find the hidden treasures! An ideal way to work on following directions and spatial concepts, such as "under," "over," and "behind"!
    • Not sure what to use for TREASURE??? Look around your home and office for loose change, beads and baubles, fake jewels and candy! Or visit your local dollar store for a stash of pretend gold coins and you are all set!
  2. Make Your Own Bag of Pirate Booty! Using brown paper bags and at least 4-5 treats (such as marshmallows, small pretzels, Cheez-its and Cheerios), set up an assembly line at school and have the students name each food. Place foods into bowls with scoops and let each child have an opportunity to fill their bag with some yummy booty!
  3. Build a Pirate Ship! All you need for this activity is a LARGE card board box and art supplies! Lay the box down horizontally and cut off the top so that there is now a bottom and four sides like a boat. Add cuts into the box for windows and a door. Add a flag using some spare fabric (or an old t-shirt!) and broom handle. Let the students color, paint, glitter and glue the ship to their liking and add on a skull and cross bones picture at the end and you are all set! Let the pretend play begin!
  4. Play Pirate Games! Games like "Pin the Patch on the Pirate's Eye" and "Pirate BINGO" are perfect ways to keep the fun in your lessons and still work on the speech and language goals you need to address! Be creative and have fun and your students will love it and the parents will appreciate it!

Join me Friday for more summertime foods your kids will love!

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Recipe: BBQ Your Kids with Love
July 11, 2014 7:55 AM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling
Last week I shared my own personal homemade cheeseburger recipe. It is delicious whether fired up on the grill or cooked in the comfort of your kitchen. This week and throughout the month of July I will be posting kid-friendly recipes that are perfect for summertime and meals on the grill! I know my girls and other children I know often shy away from grilled food mainly because it looks and tastes different then what they are used to. My older daughter loves hot dogs... unless they are charred with black stripes from the outdoor grill. Then, she cries and asks for a "plain hot dog" AKA a boiled hot dog. This happens time and again with other food favorites such as shrimp and corn on the cob, which both my girls love, but only if made "plain" and not barbequed!

This week I am sharing 2 ways to make a deliciously seasoned Corn on the Cob that even the pickiest kid will love!

Honey Sweet Corn

You will need:

  • Corn on the cob (cut in half)
  • Sea salt
  • Softened butter
  • Honey
  • Tin foil wrap

Recipe Steps:

  1. Wash and dry the corn. Make sure the cob is cut in half and therefore easier for small hands to hold.
  2. Lay out a long piece of tin foil wrap and place the pieces of corn on top. Curl up the sides of the foil so that you are cradling the corn inside.
  3. Drizzle about a teaspoon of honey onto each cob.
  4. Spread a slab of softened butter across the top of each cob.
  5. Sprinkle some sea salt on top of your corn.
  6. Wrap up the sides of the foil, as you would a present. Fold the sides together and create a seal to help lock in the flavor when the corn is cooking on the grill.
  7. Place on the grill at medium heat for about 15-20 minutes.
  8. Remove, unwrap and enjoy a deliciously sweet and buttery mix of corn goodness!

Mom's Yummy Corn

You will need:

  • Corn on the cob (cut in half)
  • Sea salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Lime juice
  • Softened butter
  • Tin foil wrap

Recipe Steps:

*Follow the steps above substituting with the seasonings for this recipe.  These seasonings when used together give the corn a subtle savory flavor that is delicious for a summer BBQ!

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About this Blog


    Stephanie Bruno Dowling, M.S. CCC-SLP
    Occupation: Speech-Language Pathologist
    Setting: Early Intervention in Delaware County, PA
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