Category Archives: Outdoor Activities

Field Trip Chaperone: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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One of the perks of having Leah & Joey in the same homeroom class is that when they go on field trips, they’re together so if I get the opportunity to be the chaperone, I go for it! Yesterday I spent the day (freezing my rear off in 50 degree below normal for May chilly weather) but I got to witness first hand not only the love Leah has for Joey but the love his entire class has for him as well.

As we hiked all over our local YMCA’ s camp, I watched Joey and his peers. Although Joey didn’t participate in all the activities, he still watched and took things in on his own pace.

Joey didn’t pay attention to what the camp counselors were saying or collect the same scientific data his fellow 4th grade peers were taking on their clipboards they were carrying around. But he watched his peers work and measure things and even noticed things that the other children down notice like the squirrel running through  woods or the swan swimming across the lake.

As we were walking back to the picnic shelter for lunch, I watched and could feel my heart swelling with love as Leah walked with her brother.

And then today I repeated the whole chaperone fun all over again, this time with Aiden’s class and once again, I froze and left the camp this afternoon feeling like a Popsicle! But there’s one thing I cherish about being a stay at home mom, being able to go on the field trips and volunteer at the Joey, Leah, and Aiden’s school, even if I do freeze and have to go above and beyond the call of chaperone duty occasionally, it’s worth every single second!


And I’ll leave you with just a few words of advice for any parent who’s going to be going on an elementary school aged field trip to an outdoors camp with their child and class. Trust me, if you want to have a successful and hopefully stress free field trip you might want this advice, hahaha!

10 Things About Being A Field Trip Chaperone You’ll Kick Yourself for Not Knowing

  1. If it’s cold outside, not only dress your kid in layers, dress yourself in layers as well.
  2. Bug spray… you may not be able to spray the other kids down, but golly, spray your kid down!
  3. Sunscreen, enough said…
  4. Bring Kleenex, I had more kids ask me for a tissue that my three kids have asked me in a year! But whatever you do, don’t just shove some extras in your pocket and call it a day. You may end up with that one kid in your group who won’t take even a clean tissue from your pocket, they must SEE it come out of the package or it’s not considered clean…
  5. Bring extra band-aids, even though there should be a first aid kit somewhere where you’re at, whoever has the boo-boo is going to want that darn band-aid INSTANTLY. It’s like a life or death situation!
  6. Bring diaper wipes, if there’s no sinks nearby and one of the kids stick their hand in the mud, you’re gonna want that wet wipe ASAP or the mud will end up on your sleeve!
  7. An extra bottle of water for the kid that gets sand in their eyes and you need to wash their eyes out. Again, it’s a life or death situation just like with the band-aids!
  8. Bring a trash bag to collect the dirty Kleenex, band-aid wrappers, and diaper wipes in. Trust me on that one!
  9. Bring a second bag to collect all the cool rocks, sticks, and whatever else your group of kids collect or else half of it ends up in your pockets.
  10. And lastly bring a backpack to put all these above items in…

 

Happy Easter!

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Today Joey had a pretty cool milestone that meant the world to me. As a special needs mom, the littlest thing that your child can do, can be the most amazing thing ever! Especially when they participate and do things “typical” kids do.

Today, Joey gave me the best Easter present ever, he actually hunted his own Easter eggs without any cues from me to pick them up or helping him! Even without tears, he actually was laughing and smiling! He did it all on his own!

There is nothing worse than watching other children having fun, running around picking up Easter eggs and your child not even wanting to participate. I admit, as much as I love watching Leah, Aiden, and other children participate in Easter Egg hunts, deep down it’s always killed me that Joey didn’t want to join in…

This year, he grabbed his basket and took off through the yard picking up his own eggs! Although he may not have gotten as many eggs as Leah & Aiden, and they purposefully skipped over some so Jojoe would have some to get, he had a decent a amount in his basket.

One small step for man, one giant leap for Joey!

 

 

 

Swimming, Splashing, Sensory & Smiles

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Jojoe taking a break in the kiddie pool. Splash away buddy!

 

As a parent one of the number one safety skills you want your child to be able to do is swim. There’s times I feel like I’m failing Joey, since at 10 1/2 years old and he cannot swim. He cannot even float. In fact he has HATED big pools up until this summer.

Typically whenever we would visit someone’s house who has a pool, Joey would sit on the edge or my husband would hold him against his chest and walk him around in the water.

Funny enough, he LOVES taking baths and playing kiddie pools. He’ll splash around in those anyday, anytime. It’s when we’re at a larger pool, he goes into sensory overload, gets overwhelmed and flips out.

This Spring I had decided enough was enough. I want my kid to be able to at least float. So I called our town’s recreation department and spoke with the aquatics director and told him my dilemma. He said to sign up Joey for swim lessons through the town and we’ll see how it goes.

For the past 3 weeks, I’ve been at our local community pool with Joey every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. He’s been in a typical child’s group swimming lesson class. I knew he wouldn’t participate like the other kids but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about Joey, it’s that he’s highly motivated by his peers.

During the swim lesson class, Jojoe has sat on the side of the pool, watching his swim lesson classmates intensely, watching them learning how to swim, mimicking their movements while sitting in the side out of the water. Each lesson, dipping his toes and arms in the water a little further eachtime. On Wednesday after his lesson, I was walking him through the water with him on my back. He was very hesitant the deeper I walked but I kept reassuring him that he was ok and I kept singing, “Just keep swimming.” After a little bit I started unwrapping his legs from around my waist and making him float his legs behind us. I even got him to start kicking his legs while holding onto my shoulders.

Then I took him to the shallowest portion of the pool and showed him his feet could touch. I was having him hold onto the side of the pool and kick his legs!

Turn the clock forward to today’s lesson. Jojoe jumped onto my back in the water after his lesson and we started our walk around the pool with him laughing the entire time! Then we practiced standing in the shallow end. He did it once again! This time, we even added in sitting on the side of the pool and he slid in holding onto my hands!

Talk about a proud Mommy moment! After the first half of his childhood, my boy is finally starting to accept a swimming pool without getting upset! Even though he’s not swimming yet, I’m so incredibly proud of him, It’s a huge step for him to accept something, especially after only 3 weeks!

I can’t wait to see what progress he makes between now and the beginning of the school year at the pool. Even if he’s not swimming by then, at least he’s accepted the pool and fingers crossed next summer will be a little easier!

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Schools Out for Summer!

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Well, it’s official! I’ve got two 4th graders and a 2nd grader! And I’ve got one month before summer school starts for Joey and camp for Leah & Aiden….

I’ve spent the past few days browsing Pinterest looking for ideas of things to do with them during before they have scheduled activities. Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE Pinterest?! I actually made entire board on Pinterest just for Outdoors Fun!

I found some printable scavenger hunts to do with them on The Bird Feed NYC, which knowing Leah and Aiden, the hunts will be a HUGE success! Fingers crossed Joey will show some interest in joining in on the fun!

Be sure to check back for some of our activities we do this summer! I can’t wait to do some of the things I’ve pinned and spend time with my kids!

Source: Scavenger Hunt for Kids: Nature Walk