It’s time to ditch the heavy coats and boots for summer gear and enjoy the benefits of the outdoors. We realize, however, that with children, that may easier said than done. We know that heading outdoors poses different challenges for different kids.
Although there’s lots more to see, do, smell and taste in warmer weather, it usually means crowds of people and increased noise pollution. For some children, being part of these activities tends to pose a bit more of a challenge. As part of our core values, it’s our mission to work with you to make your goals, our goals.
So, what is the goal, here? To minimize potential issues that may arise outdoors, by anticipating them. As such, our team has put together some important tips on how to make outdoor excursions enjoyable for you and your child.
Lumiere’s Top 10 Tips for Summertime Fun
Always have snacks and water handy
Talk to your child about what you have planned for the day. Changes in routine can be difficult for children to process, so prepare them by letting them know the plan. Predictability and structure can be comforting to little ones. If your child uses a visual schedule make sure to have it on hand.
Use Social Stories to help your child transition activities.
Bring sunglasses, especially if your child is sensitive to light
Bring noise-cancelling headphones, especially if your child is sensitive to sound
Don’t forget to bring hand sanitizer or wipes so you can let them explore various outdoor textures without worrying about them staying messy
Pack a spare set of clothes for the parent and child
For younger kids, have diapers and/or pull-ups at the ready in case you’re not near public bathrooms
Use sunscreen wipes or spray instead of lotion for sun protection
Use Insect-repellent bracelets instead of lotion
Remember that the outdoors provides a plethora of opportunities and new adventures for kids to expand language, fine motor, sensory, and gross motor skills. This means providing many teaching moments for your little one. Anticipating the needs of each individual child can make for an enjoyable, fun excursion! So, go out there, explore and HAVE FUN!
Some other great sites to explore to give you fun ideas when taking your kids outside!
Kid-friendly summer yoga - to get them stretching and flexing
Sidewalk chalk activities - have them get creative while practicing their gross motor skills
Check out our handy list of outdoor festivals this month in our OUT & ABOUT section, below.
Our Summer Camps!
Did you know our therapeutic preschool offers summer camp options? This is a great opportunity for us to teach and learn alongside your kids in an environment that they’re comfortable in, while introducing them to amazing opportunities for fun that only the outdoors can afford.
Here’s a sampling of activities we will partake in, practicing getting outside and immersing kids in the outdoors:
Small field trips around the New City area
Learn how to make homemade ice cream
Carnival Day with snow cones, face paint, and games
Arts and Crafts
Fun, outdoor games
Garden and Plants
Yoga in the park
Summer camp will be incorporated into our therapeutic preschool program. Our preschool runs Monday-Friday throughout the summer. We have a morning program, which runs from 8:30am - 12:30pm and an afternoon program, which runs from 2:00pm – 5pm. The program is for kids up to first grade. Please call our offices to find out more information or to register your child. 312-242-1665.
COMMUNITY CORNER: Meet Claire Conway
Claire Conway is a licensed clinical social worker who has experience working with children and families from diverse backgrounds. She has been a social worker since 2007 since graduating from Loyola University Chicago with her Bachelors in Social Work. Over the next four years, she gained experience working with children and families and decided to pursue her Masters in Social Work from Jane Addams College of Social Work. She earned her degree in 2011. Prior to joining the Lumiere team, Claire managed a program that focused on helping children and families develop healthy family dynamics.
Claire's treatment specialties include anxiety, depression, self-development and building skills around self-regulation. Claire has extensive experience in milieu therapy. Milieu therapy focuses on developing treatment plans utilizing the client's environments and client's peers to aid their skill building. Group sessions are the main focus of the milieu therapy approach. Along with milieu therapy, Claire believes family therapy is key to a client’s success. Claire has specialized training in both de-escalating crisis behaviors and aiding caregivers in developing attunement skills in order to effectively respond to children's behaviors.
In addition to individual therapy sessions, Claire also leads many of the social groups at Lumiere. The social groups focus on providing a safe environment for children to practice skills that will lead to healthy relationships and successful social interactions. The activities within the groups aim to meet the children where they're currently functioning, while building their confidence step by step. During the group sessions, in-the-moment feedback is provided and challenges are created to allow for practice, problem solving and encouragement.
Keep reading to learn more about Claire!
Q: What do you like most about facilitating the social groups?
A: Healthy relationships are the root to human self-esteem and confidence so my passion around groups stems from years of observing that one group session can have the same impact on a child as four individual sessions.
Q: Why are the summer months a great time to practice social skills?
A: In the summer. there seems to be more opportunity for "recreation". The Chicago summer weather allows families to take advantage of parks, lakefronts and museums. The idea of "recreation" is that activities are for enjoyment, refreshment and fun. Recreational activities such as biking, swimming or gardening provides a common language for kids and adults to bond with others. This decreases anxiety that occurs during social interactions and increases confidence in kids and adults. Identifying hobbies and bonding with others around shared interests is the ultimate practice of a social skill.
Q: What's your favorite part about summer?
A: Swimming. I feel at peace when I am in water. In the summer, I can swim outside at the Chicago Park District pools and the Lakefront beaches, both FREE!
Beaches open over Memorial Day weekend. Pools open June 18th, 2018. For more information, go to: https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks-facilities/swimming-pools
OUT & ABOUT: May Festivals in Chicago
CHICAGO KIDS & KITES FESTIVAL, May 5 - Montrose Harbor
MAYFEST, May 18-20, 3100 block of North Ashland, Lakeview
FOOD TRUCK SOCIAL, May 19, Lincoln Park Zoo
MOLE DE MAYO, May 25-27, 18th Street & Ashland
MEMORIAL DAY PARADE, May 26, Daley Plaza
CHICAGO HOUSE MUSIC FESTIVAL, May 26, Millennium Park
RANDOLPH STREET MARKET FESTIVAL, May 26-27, 1341 W Randolph Street
BELMONT-SHEFFIELD MUSIC FEST, May 26-27
NAVY PIER SUMMER FIREWORKS – Memorial Day – Labor Day
(Wednesdays @ 9:30pm & Saturdays @ 10:15pm)
BIKE THE DRIVE, May 27, Lake Shore Drive