Last week we had the pleasure of attending the Young Child Expo in NYC. There were over 1,000 people there to support the efforts of educating young children, many of which we were able to interact with at our S&S booth. We were also fortunate enough to be able to attend some of the inspiring and well respected key note speaker presentations at the conference.
While hosting our booth, I had the pleasure of meeting Temple Grandin, PhD, Professor of the Department of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University. Dr. Grandin had a session which touched on her own experiences with autism. Her message was that “there needs to be much more emphasis in education on developing a child’s strengths and building up skills the child is good at, and that there is too much emphasis on deficits.” In her session Dr. Grandin promoted the book we had on display (which she also signed for us!) titled The Giant Encyclopedia of Science Activities and encouraged attendees to visit the S&S booth to consider it. Dr. Grandin said she recommends this particular book because it promotes fun, creative science projects that children can easily make from inexpensive materials found in most homes. She believes individual activities such as watching television and playing electronic games should be limited and promoting creative group activities is key to building awareness of a child’s strengths and skills.
One of the sessions we attended was titled: Active Play (Fun Physical Activities for Young Children) by Diane H. Craft, PhD, Professor, State University of NY
This was a very interesting and fun session. The purpose of the session was to learn fun, creative, inexpensive and safe ways to promote learning, activity and development across different age groups and performance levels. Dr. Craft demonstrated how you can make inexpensive playing equipment which can be used in small spaces both in and outdoors.
For example she took a pair of panty hose, sewed up the opening in the waist, leaving a small hole to insert a deflated balloon. Once the balloon was inserted, it was blown up and tied. The leg of the panty hose was then knotted at the base of the balloon. The legs now provide a way to tether the ball to the ceiling, a post, or floor for punching and kicking. You can even knot and cut the panty hose legs and have a light, safe ball to play creative games with.
For attendees of the session, Dr. Craft provided many of these homemade balloon balls and we participated in playing several creative games with them as a group. She also shared videos of groups of children creating and playing other innovative activities which were fun, easy and inexpensive.
Allison Lesch also did a session on managing motor and sensory needs. Here she is visiting our booth to check out our sensory products. It was great to meet so many educators and professionals that share the same passion as we do.
Submitted by: Darci Stryker & Sandy Cervini – Key Accounts Managers at S&S Worldwide