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Featuring articles from our principal Occupational Therapist, Dr Nicole Grant, members of the therapy team, and guest posts from members of our community.  

Posts tagged brisbane kids
Improving Fine Motor Skills and Food Independence through Yumbox

GRACE HOLGATE

Two-year-old Clara enjoying her delicious lunch from her Yumbox lunchbox.  Photo: Grace Holgate

Two-year-old Clara enjoying her delicious lunch from her Yumbox lunchbox. Photo: Grace Holgate

There is probably nothing more challenging than finding the right lunchbox for your child. While your child’s lunchbox priorities might surround having Paw Patrol on the front and having the ‘coolest’ box in the playground, we know that parents want their child’s lunchbox to be sturdy, leakproof, have a working lock or zipper and of course, have the capacity to fit a variety of healthy snacks.

We know that having the right lunchbox is not only vital to keeping your child’s food fresh but having a lunchbox that also assists children towards food independence is an incredible feature.

During our research to find the perfect lunchbox, we came across some pretty nifty products, but none of them compared to the likes of Yumbox.

Yumbox is a kid-friendly, bento-style lunch container that is brilliantly designed for kids (and adults!). Yumbox is made of high quality, super durable and BPA-free food-safe materials, so you know that you’re buying a safe and reliable product.

Amongst parents and therapists, Yumboxes are a bit of a cult favourite- and for good reason! The bento style divides meals into sections and encourages a more holistic approach to eating. Yumboxes come in a range of different sizes and configurations, meaning they’re suited to a range of appetites and preferences. This is excellent for those picky eaters and the kiddies that don’t like different food touching each other!

But why is food independence and fine motor skills important? We spoke to our incredible Occupational Therapist, Steph Holgate to find out more.

“Fine motor skills are really important to be able to hold and manipulate utensils. When you’re a young child, you use your fingers a lot to hold food and feed yourself,” Steph said.

“As kids transition as they go through staying at home, going to kindergarten and then to school, they are not always going to have parental guidance to help them eat. In a school environment, it is very likely that a child will not have help at meal times, so it's really important that they are able to have food independence to feed themselves and get the nutrition that they need”.

Clara having her yummy morning tea and using her 'Drink in the Box'.  Photo: Grace Holgate

Clara having her yummy morning tea and using her 'Drink in the Box'. Photo: Grace Holgate

We also spoke to Founder of Mini Hippo Imports, Megan Mallen to get an insight on why Yumboxes are lunch and snack time essentials.

“The six-compartment Tapas and Original Yumboxes are better for kids who prefer to pick and choose their every bite, and the smaller sections encourage the development of fine motor skills when eating. Dry cereal, cut-up fruit, crackers and cheese and small baked goods - think muffins, quiches, pastries - are ideal for these Yumbox styles, and encourage the use of fine motor skills to pick up and eat food with their fingers,” Megan said.

“Alternatively, the four-compartment Panino and the five-compartment Tapas styles are better suited to kids who prefer larger meals, like sandwiches, wraps, sushi or pasta, as they feature one big section surrounded by three or four smaller ones. But even when given larger foods in their Yumboxes, kids are encouraged to use their fingers or a fork or spoon to eat their lunch, allowing them to practice those valuable fine motor skills they’ll need as they grow up,” Megan said.

“But no matter which style you go for, there are certain features which make the Yumbox ideal for kids who need to improve their fine motor skills, particularly when eating.  Even the clasp, which easily clicks open and close, but ensures the Yumbox is totally leak-proof by pressing the silicone lining inside the lid onto the food tray's compartments, allows kids to practice their fine motor skills every time they open up their Yumbox and see what’s inside!”

Yumbox provides a range of lunchbox styles that can cater to all of your child’s lunchtime needs! Children can improve their fine motor skills and build their food independence as they eat their delicious and nutritious snacks.

If you’re looking for the ultimate lunchbox that goes beyond storing food, then Yumbox is a must for your family!

Check out the Yumbox website for their great range of products! www.minihippo.com.au 

Great places to take your children with special needs in Brisbane

Great places to take your children with special needs in Brisbane

Brisbane is a city with something for everyone. Bordered by bays and bush, and being a rapidly growing capital city, we really do have a great range of options for entertainment and exploration.

As kids with special needs tend to have vastly differing needs, before embarking on an outing it’s best to consider a few things:

1.    Firstly, what are my child’s interests. What does he or she find fun and exciting?

2.    Who is coming with us. What will I need to take?

3.    Can we get help if we need? How easy will it be to return home or find medical care, or even take time out if needed?

4.    If my child has limited mobility, what access is available for wheelchairs and other mobility aids?

5.    Am I eligible for a discount on entry or are there any special allowances for my child that may give us a better experience?

6.    What is the best time of day or day of the week to go? Do I need to worry about crowds or noise?

Parks

There are quite a few parks out there that have much to offer kids with special needs. A little bit out of the way, but nice for a day trip is Queens Park in Ipswich. Particularly great for kids with limited mobility, the park’s café and amenities all have wheelchair access, and a liberty swing has been installed also for use with wheelchairs. Other parks with liberty swings can be found here -

http://www.libertyswing.com.au/index.php/home/find-a-swing-near-you.html

 Closer to the CBD is Hawthorne Park on Riding Road. This is a great little playground for kids who tend to attempt escape. It is fully fenced, shaded, and is well-padded for those kids that are a little accident-prone. There are a few other fenced playgrounds around, offering a low-risk play experience for young kids.

Cultural Centre

In South Brisbane, there is a line up of some of the best experiences for kids – and they’re free. A stroll or zip around the Gallery of Modern Art and the Queensland Museum can be a great experience for budding artists or curious kids. A lesser-known gem in this part of the city, is The Corner, on the ground floor of the State Library. Suitable for preschool aged kids and below, The Corner is a quiet play area often set up with dress-ups, books, craft, computers, imaginative play and construction toys to keep the kids busy. It’s cool and quiet, and worth a visit if you are in the area.

 Pools and Water Play

Swimming and water play is a big part of our lifestyle as Queenslanders, as evidenced by the number of pools and water play places dotted around our capital city. Some kids prefer to be fully immersed, having a paddle or a kick around, while others just like to be near water – feeling the splashes or smelling the saltiness of the sea. Water is a sensory experience. It can be calming or exciting, depending on your child and their particular preferences. Knowing what your child enjoys is important before ‘throwing them in the deep end’. Luckily, we have lots of options in Brisbane to help kids with special needs benefit from water play.

Many pools, like The Colmslie Pool in Morningside have disability access and offer hydrotherapy, swimming lessons or free play. Alternatively, on Wynnum Esplanade you can find a water park, which allows kids to run in and out of the water fountains or play on the equipment nearby. On the north side, Redcliffe Lagoon also has a water park, which may be preferable for those kids who don’t like to enter water, but like to feel water on their skin.

All throughout the year, events for children with special needs and disabilities are advertised, and can be found on websites such as What's on 4 Kids and Families Magazine - Brisbane.

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