This weeks Women Crush Wednesday is without a doubt my favorite! Ok, so she’s my sister but that doesn’t lessen how incredible she is. As my big sister she has gone through all the “firsts” in life before me, first boyfriend, first to graduate school and navigate life on your own in college and now as a mom. She has always been my role model and still continues to be. I can only hope to one day be as good a mom as she is. And y’all are in luck because even with her crazy busy schedule (she’s a mom, OT, and business owner!!) she has agreed to be an ongoing and reoccurring Women Crush Wednesday!!! Below we have a brief interview with her to let you know who she is and what she does but then we jump right into the juicy stuff!
See, Casey will be teaching us different activities to help all those mamas and soon-to-be mamas out there. She uses her Occupational Therapist skills to come up with fun and creative exercises for your little ones.
Soma & Ulte: So you’re an Occupational Therapist; can you tell us what that is exactly and why you got into this field?
Casey: I began with an affinity for Physical Therapy, but quickly found that OT was where I belonged. OT stands for Occupational Therapy. The profession has been around for ages but it has recently got more attention because of the rise in autism diagnosis and sensory realted issues. But we help all people of all ages. We don’t help people find jobs, as many think. Your occupation is what you do everyday that makes you thrive. For a kid that means play, for a baby –eating and rolling. For a musician that means compose, for many adults that simply means getting out of bed, walking to the bathroom and taking care of your own grooming needs. Its SOOO broad and really individualized and dynamic and functional. I’m a big ball of loud energy and I love people, especially the elderly and kids. And I love helping people but I haven’t always known how to do this. So it only seemd natural I’d find a profession that revolved around facilitating independce and play with the populations I connect so well with. It’s the fun creative side of me applied with science to help people reach their potential. It’s loving on kids, listening to elderly, and getting moving.
Soma & Ulte: How has having your own kid influenced the way you approach your work?
Casey: Well now I see why parents would become so nervous when I was pushing their kids a little past comfortable. Its super easy and tempting to just give them what they want and not challenge them, so now I really get that.
Soma & Ulte: What’s it like being a working mom?
Casey: Fun and Busy! I really do enjoy my jobs and I keep in check why I do each and work hard to balance it all.
For today’s post we asked Casey to incorporate pumpkins into an activity that promotes learning and development for babies. What would seem an impossible and daunting task to me was met with enthusiasm and dozens of ideas! All off the top of her head I might add. Below we have a few pictures to explain the activities along with that skills they work on! And I will use any excuse to share pictures of my irresistibly adorable nephew!!
First up is what we’re calling the Pumpkin Carry Relay: Start with an array of pumpkins in varying sizes and tape off a square on the ground.
Let your little one pick his first pumpkin
Carry or roll pumpkins from one container or space to another. You can do this outside or inside, and you can use any thing you happen to have around the house. Such as a brown grocery bag, a laundry basket, or empty diaper box.
Obviously celebration and cheer is essential to the process! This little game is actually doing a lot for you little one too. This works on one or two step directions, hand eye coordination, and sensory input. Any time you are handling heavy objects, you are providing proprioceptive input which is basically pressure (in this case) to the joints which is calming and organizing. Hudson LOVES this type of input and seeks out lots of opportunities to push and carry heavy items. IF your kiddo enjoys this too, than err on the heavier side of pumpkin choosing, if not then choose smaller ones.
Another option to try in this same setting is a sort of pumpkin stepping stone path.Create a path of stepping-pumpkins using varying sizes and spaces and have your little one walk across or climb over (if really big).
This next one puts all those pumpkins we showed you on Monday (here) to good use. We call this one the Q-Tip Challenge
Start with a pumpkin that is carved out and has holes drilled out of it.
Then arm your little one with Q-Tips and show them where to insert the Q-Tips. This works on visual motor and fine motor precision.
Again, celebration is key!
And it’s a bonus if they clean it all out for you in the end!
Now after all that play and fun it’s time to relax and take in all your little one has accomplished!
Thank you, Casey for all these brilliant ideas and days of fun!!
Soma & Ulte