Summer Hand Injuries

We all love summer as it brings warm weather and outdoor fun. Summer hand injuries can put a damper on the good times we look forward to. With proper caution and planning, you can save yourself a trip to the emergency room and a medically created setback!

  • Wrist fractures: Sports-related activities increase fall risk. Biking, rollerblading, skateboarding, and scootering tend often lead to wrist fractures or sprains. Be aware of uneven sidewalks and other pedestrians, and wear wrist guards for protection.
  • Burns: Bonfires, barbeques, and fireworks pose danger around open flames. Keep your distance from the fire, and use long-handled tongs when grilling to protect your hands. Keep your children safe by keeping them aware of the fire.
  • Tendonitis: Golf, tennis, and baseball become more popular in warmer weather, which is often accompanied by elbow tendonitis and pain. Prior to play, consider stretching your wrists to prevent tendon tearing and inflammation. Check your racket/club/bat to ensure proper fit and that it’s not causing unnecessary strain.
  • Lawnmower accidents: 25% of yearly lawnmower summer hand injuries lead to finger or toe amputation. Always use the proper safety guards/precautions when cleaning out lawnmower blades. Keep children away from the lawnmower.
  • ATV accidents. Every year, ATVs cause 135,000 injuries and 700 deaths. 30% of deaths are among children below age 16. If you choose to ride an ATV, please consider the following precautions:
    • Wear a helmet and protective eyewear
    • Limit the number of riders
    • Only ride during daylight hours
    • Never operate an ATV under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Have fun this summer, but keep yourself and others away from summer injuries. If you sustain an upper-extremity injury, don’t hesitate to call the Milliken Hand Rehabilitation Center!

Summer Activities For The Kids

The start of summer is such a fun and exciting time for kids!  But, for many the lazy, hazy days of summer can start to drag if the kids are bored or spend too much time in front of the screen.  However, with a little bit of planning, it’s easy to keep kids engaged in a variety of activities.  Summer is a great time to try out some new, exciting learning opportunities.  Engaging, hands-on activities over the summer help to ensure kids are ready for the grade ahead and don’t regress.

  1. Explore local attractions. Within the St. Louis metropolitan area, there are so many great local attractions to check out.  Even if you have been to these places before, there are always new things to explore and new ways to keep your child learning throughout the experience.  If you go to the zoo have your children plan out on the map how they are going to get around to see their favorite animals.  Of, if you go to the botanical gardens have them practice their reading skills by reading out loud the posted signage.   Even a small trip to a local park or trail can be a great time to search out different species of wildflowers, trees, or birds.  Regardless of where you go, there are so many opportunities to keep children learning while at our local attractions.
  2. Attend a local summer camp. While all camps are great for keeping kids engaged, if you want to keep your kids learning over the summer look for camps that focus on science, art, and other educational skills.  Washington University Program in Occupational Therapy actually offers its own summer camp for children ages 9-16 with executive function difficulties (difficulty with planning, organization, goal-setting, task monitoring, etc.).  If interested in learning more about this camp, see link below.

https://otservices.wustl.edu/items/trainyourbrain/

  1. While swimming is often a go to over the summer, especially in the St. Louis heat, swimming can have great benefits for kids who struggle to manage sensory input.  Swimming provides vestibular input by moving in all directions, proprioceptive input by the resistive muscle activity with the water, and tactile input as swimmers are constantly feeling pressure from the water.   Regardless if kids have sensory needs or not, swimming is also a great form of exercise to help keep active over the summer and improve coordination skills.
  1. STEM Projects. STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) projects are great for kids of all ages.  On a rainy summer day, stay inside and create a marshmallow catapult, make slime, make ice cream in a bag, experiment with various versions of the same chocolate chip cookie recipe to learn how each ingredient affects the overall cookie, or figure out what household materials you could use to build a bridge.  These activities are great to help build problem-solving skills, teamwork, direction following, etc.  In addition, they all result in a final outcome your kid will be proud to show others.
  1. Fuel their passions. While there are certainly many ways to try and keep kids engaged and learning over the summer, the best way to do that is to incorporate their passions and favorite things into learning experiences.  Whether they are into sports, Minecraft, gymnastics, space, or history find age-appropriate ways to feed their interests through books, movies, games, and other hands-on experiences.  The more they are interested in what they are learning the more they will get out of it.

No matter how you choose to keep your kids engaged, the value of any learning over the summer cannot be overstated.  Parents can feel good about keeping their kids engaged in tasks that don’t involve spending hours in front of a screen and kids can look forward to trying new things that keep their minds and bodies active.

 

Common Sense of Learned Skills?

Parents – does this sound like you?

  • I don’t understand how you’ can get 100% on your math test but you forget to turn in your homework every day!
  • You’re so great a building complex Lego kids, but why can’t you organize and clean your room better?
  • The refrigerator is RIGHT THERE! Please just open it and put the milk back in next time rather than leaving it on the counter.

If so, then you are most definitely NOT alone!

Some of these skills may seem like common sense. Skills in one area, like math or tinkering and building, are strengths for our children. But these skills don’t necessarily translate to other important areas of functioning, like remembering to turn in homework or organizing a messy room (which have nothing to do with intelligence).

When looked at through a lens of discreet skills that are actively developing in our children, then we see a more comprehensive picture than just “smart” or “logical.” We start to see our children’s skills of organization, time management, working memory, and planning. Then, we can start to provide direct and specific strategies to support the development of these skills.

Called executive functions (EFs), these can set your child up for not only school success but for life success, as well. These higher-level thinking skills, like working memory, planning, and attention, are so important that the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University reports that “individuals and society experience lifelong benefits” when opportunities to learn and practice EF skills are presented. And research backs up that EF skills can be explicitly taught (Takas, Z. K. & Kassai, R, 2019).

WashU’s Program in Occupational Therapy offers just such an opportunity for your 9-16 year old each summer. The Train Your Brain summer camp is a week-long, half-day program for your child (with or without a diagnosis that affects EF skills) that explicitly teaches time management, planning, goal setting, and organization through engaging STEM projects. Different than other science or STEM summer camps, Train Your Brain uses STEM projects as a means to an end of learning EF strategies that campers can take with them to use at home and school.

So if you see yourself in the statements at the beginning of this article, take a look at the Train Your Brain summer camp and consider giving your child an opportunity to learn and practice important life skills.

 

Keep Kids Active During Summer Break

While the school year might be over and “traditional” learning is on pause for a few months, the summer is a great time to help kids continue to learn and gain skills.  Keeping kids active and learning over the summer helps make sure they are ready for the grade ahead and don’t regress in any areas.  The summer is the best time to try out new and exciting learning opportunities that are hands-on and engaging.

  1. Explore local attractions. Within the St. Louis metropolitan area, there are so many great local attractions to check out.  Even if you have been to these places before, there are always new things to explore and new ways to keep your child learning throughout the experience.  If you go to the zoo have your children plan out on the map how they are going to get around to see their favorite animals, or if you go to the botanical gardens have them practice their reading skills by reading out loud the postage signage.   Regardless of where you go there are so many opportunities to keep children learning while at our local attractions.
  1. Attend a local summer camp. While all camps are great for keeping kids active, if you want to keep your kids learning over the summer look for camps that focus on science, art, and other educational skills.  Washington University Occupational Therapy offers its’ own summer camp for children ages 9-12 and new this summer 13-16 yr olds with executive function difficulties (difficulty with planning, organization, goal-setting, task monitoring, etc.).  If interested in learning more about this camp, see the link below.

                   https://otservices.wustl.edu/items/trainyourbrain/

  1. Explore the outdoors. Thankfully this summer has more opportunities to experience indoor attractions due to more things being open and available, but it is still important to spend time outdoors.  Whether this is going for a hike and learning about the leaves and trees around you, camping for the weekend and problem solving on how to pitch a tent, or trying out fishing for the first time and researching the different species of fish, each of these opportunities provides a fun experiential learning experience for kids and parents alike.
  1. Cook together. Cooking is a great home-learning opportunity that combines math, science, and reading skills.  From picking out a recipe, getting and measuring the ingredients, as well as learning the science behind how foods are cooked, this fun activity will keep children constantly learning.  If you want to change things up, even more, have themed cooking nights where you cook foods from different cultures and eat the meal the way individuals would in those countries.
  2. Fuel their passions. While there are certainly many ways to try and keep your kids engaged and learning over the summer, the best way to do that is to incorporate their passions and favorite things into learning experiences.  Whether they are into sports, Minecraft, gymnastics, space, or history find age-appropriate ways to feed their interests through books, movies, games, and other hands-on experiences.  The more they are interested in what they are learning the more they will get out of it.

No matter how you choose to keep your kids engaged, the value of any learning over the summer cannot be overstated.  While this summer certainly holds more opportunities for traveling and being with others, also use this time as a great way to explore new learning opportunities while gearing up for the school year ahead.

Summer Activities For Kids!

Parents are always looking for ways to keep their kids engaged and learning throughout the summer.  But it seems like this summer, the need for summer activities for kids are even more apparent.  The school year did not wrap up the way it was intended; many homes were turned into classrooms, and many parents were putting on their teacher hats.  While students may not be logging on to zoom calls to check in with teachers, there are still ways to keep kids learning and engaged while socially distancing and being safe amongst a global pandemic.

  1. Take a virtual field trip.  During these socially distant times many museums, aquariums, planetariums, etc. have started offering free virtual experiences online, see some great option here.  While it may not quite feel the same as visiting these places in real life, it is a great opportunity to take your child’s interests and explore even deeper.  Whether this is by reading a book or article based on something interesting you found on your tour, re-creating a painting you saw in a museum, or star gazing outside, these resources are a great way to get the ball rolling on ways to continuously learn.
  2. Attend a local summer camp. While traveling long distances and attending out of town camps may not be happening this summer, St. Louis County has released guidelines for local summer camps to continue with camps safely.  While all camps are great for keeping kids engaged, if you want to keep your kids learning over the summer look for camps that focus on science, art, and other educational skills.  Washington University Occupational Therapy offers its’ own summer camp for children ages 9-12 with executive function difficulties (difficulty with planning, organization, goal-setting, task monitoring, etc.). Learn more about this camp.
  3. Explore the outdoors at a distance. Unfortunately, many summer plans have been canceled or adjusted due to COVID-19 and the need to maintain social distancing, but one thing that is still a great option is spending time outside.  Whether this is going for a hike and learning about the leaves and trees around you, camping for the weekend and problem solving on how to pitch a tent, or trying out fishing for the first time and researching the different species of fish, each of these opportunities provides a fun experiential learning experience for kids and parents alike.
  4. Cook together. Cooking is a great home-learning opportunity that combines math, science, and reading skills.  From picking out a recipe, getting and measuring the ingredients, as well as learning the science behind how foods are cooked, this fun activity will keep children constantly learning.  If you want to change things up, even more, have themed cooking nights where you cook foods from different cultures and eat the meal the way individuals would in those countries.
  5. Fuel their passions. While there are certainly many ways to try and keep your kids engaged and learning over the summer, the best way to do that is to incorporate their passions and favorite things into learning experiences.  Whether they are into sports, Minecraft, gymnastics, space, or history find age-appropriate ways to feed their interests through books, movies, games, and other hands-on experiences.  The more they are interested in what they are learning the more they will get out of it.

Regardless of which way you choose to keep your kids engaged the value of any learning over the summer cannot be overstated.  While our world may continue to look different and our summer plans are continuously changing, use this time as a great way to explore new learning opportunities while gearing up for the school year ahead.