On the Horizon – 02/23/2009

Horizons Developmental Remediation Center
On the Horizon
On the Horizon

Welcome to “On the Horizon”

Issue 49: Indoor Sensory Ideas and Activities

On the Horizon is an award winning weekly ezine for parents of children with developmental disabilities who want simple, effective strategies to reduce stress, support their child’s development, and improve quality of life for the whole family.

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In This Issue

Help for the Winter Blues

A Note from Nicole: Plans for Summer Camps; A Big Thank You

Idea of the Week:  Organize Those Toys!

Feature Article:  Indoor Sensory Ideas and Activities

The Horizons Team Recommends: Flex
Your Brain DVD; Sibshop

Upcoming Events: Parent Chat; Sibshop; CORE Approach Parent Teleseminar

A Note From Nicole
Nicole Beurkens

Hi Everyone!

I hope you are having a great start to your week! We’re coming to the end of February, and our team has begun looking at the calendar and planning ahead for the summer. It’s hard to think about things like summer camp when we look outside and still see snow, but June will be here before we know it! With the cold weather still upon us in many areas of the
country, we can all use ideas for dealing with cabin fever. Courtney’s article this week provides some great ideas for getting the kids moving indoors.

A big “thank you” to everyone who has sent us notes of support regarding our new book. I know many of you have been waiting for a resource like this. We should be able to start taking orders for it later this week—watch your email for details.

And finally, because I have forgotten to do this for a while, I want to say “welcome” to all of our new readers. We’re so glad you’ve joined

Have a wonderful week!

Looking to the horizon,

Nicole Signature

Idea of the Week

Organizing Toys

Those Toys!

had a couple of months with all the new toys from the holidays. Now
would be a good time to go through all of your toys and get rid of
ones your kids don’t use anymore. Since the spring and summer
months are excellent for garage/yard sales you may want to make a
pile to sell at a sale. Some may just need to go in the trash, and
others you may want to donate to a good cause. Have your kids help
decide (with your final stamp of approval of course) which pile
things should go into. Let’s see how much you can get rid of
and how organized your toy piles will look like (and how long it will

Feature Article
Cabin Fever

Indoor Sensory Ideas and Activities

By: Courtney Kowalczyk, M.Ed.

The snow continues to fall here in Michigan, and it seems like forever since my family and
I were able to enjoy the outdoors without worrying about frostbite. Cabin fever is really beginning to set in. I cannot wait for the warm sunny spring days to arrive, and to go for a bike ride with my family!

The cabin fever that my family and I have been experiencing lately seems to be a common theme among many of the families with whom I have been working. This time of year seems to be difficult for all of us, and especially for children who have sensory processing difficulties. During the mid-winter months, we typically see an increase in sensory seeking behaviors due to the limited amount of play time outside or
elsewhere. The holidays are now over as well, which means that the
lights and intense sensory input of the holiday season has past. It
is still important to make sure that the sensory needs of our kids
are being met. Here are a few simple sensory ideas that you can use
during the indoor times of the year.

  • Set-up a sensory course. Children always seem to enjoy making and playing on indoor sensory courses. You can set-up a simple course in your living room, bedroom, or basement using household materials. Couch cushions, pillows, flat sheets, and other items are wonderful materials that you can use to create a sensory course. Your children will have a blast jumping into a pile of cushions, or crawling under a sheet!
  • Increase tactile input. Many children enjoy touching or manipulating sticky or textured surfaces that provide them with great tactile input as well. Playing with shaving cream on a table surface can be very enjoyable, and it is also a great cleaning activity! You can make sensory stress balls by filling balloons with flour or sugar. Finally, finger painting with pudding or jell-o can be enjoyable, too.


The Horizons Team Recommends

Flex Your Brain

Flex Your Brain DVD Program

It’s Here–A Simple Way to Build Flexibility and Thinking Skills in Your Students!

Help your preschool and elementary students learn to: think creatively; flexibly adapt to change; notice similarities and differences; and compare and contrast perspectives

This fun and effective learning tool has two components:

The “It is a _____” component uses colorful inkblot paintings to promote creative and flexible thinking. Spend a few minutes looking at a different inkblot each day, and think about what it could be. This can be done as a great morning warm-up activity, in an individual therapy session, or as a discussion with the whole class.

The “Daily Differences” component provides teachers with simple ideas to incorporate variations into the day. Ideas include:

  • Change the location of items in the classroom
  • Sit in different shape configurations at “circle” time
  • Serve “chilly cookies” from the fridge instead of the cupboard for snack time
  • Take different routes as you travel throughout the building

Note to Parents: These make great gifts for the teachers and therapists in your child’s life!

For more information, click here


Sibshop – Horizons
Sibling Network!

Next Session: March 14th, 2009

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM at our center

We feel strongly that as part of our
family-focused mission we need to be attending to the needs of all of
your children, not just the ones with disabilities. Siblings of
children with disabilities have their own unique needs and experiences,
and we will be using the renowned Sibshop model that is designed to
provide them with support, education, and fun.

Limited to 20 children. Participants must
have a sibling with disabilities and be aged 7-14. Lunch will be
provided. The cost is $20.00 per child for Horizons families and $30.00
per child for non-Horizons families.Click on the links below for more
information or call the office with any questions!

sign up online, click here

Upcoming Events

Please join us!

  • Horizons
    Parent Chat: Objective Support with Michelle & Courtney

    (Horizons Families Only)
    Monday, March 2, 2009, 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM EST
  • Sibshop – Horizons Sibling Network
    Open to everyone!
    Saturday, March 14, 2009, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM EST
  • CORE Approach Parent Teleseminar: Sensory Processing Strategies with Sarah VerMerris, OT (Horizons Families Only)
    Thursday, March 19, 2009, 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM EST
  • HANDLE® Intermediate Training
    April 6-11, 2009 and May 4-9, 2009
  • Sibshop – Horizons Sibling Network
    Open to everyone!
    Saturday, May 16, 2009, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM EST
  • Sibshop – Horizons Sibling Network
    Open to everyone!
    Saturday, July 18, 2009, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM EST

See our Event Calendar for more details…

On the Horizon is a weekly ezine for parents of children with developmental disabilities who want simple, effective strategies to reduce stress, support their child¹s development, and improve quality of life for the whole family.

Our mailing address is:

Horizons Developmental Remediation Center

3120 68th Street SE

Caledonia, MI  49316

Our telephone:

(616) 698-0306

Our email address:


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