Monday, July 23, 2012

Swim Lessons

Kaelyn has done swim lessons for most of the summer now.  The classes are two week classes at a time.  She goes for 30 minutes Monday - Thursday mornings.  We kept re-enrolling her every two weeks so that she would continue to learn and get better at it.  She still could use more lessons but she has made great progress and is a lot more comfortable in the water than she was before she started.

The whole class practicing holding onto the wall and kicking their feet.

Waiting her turn to do one of the exercises.

By the second week of the second class, she was able to put her face under water and swim to the teacher (as long as she's wearing goggles).  She can't hold her breath for very long periods of time and she hasn't learned how to keep swimming when she lifts her head out of the water to take a breath.

Practicing with the kickboard.

Getting ready to swim on her own over to the instructor.

Her teacher showing her how to make "big" arm motions.

Cutie.  She saw that I was taking pictures so she had to stand up and look at me and pose for me.

Floating on her back.  She was so afraid when they first started to learn this but now she lays back on her own and floats around even when we're in our pool,

One day, she kept standing up at the top of the steps every time it wasn't her turn rather than sitting on the steps in the pool like she's supposed to.  When I asked her after class was over why she didn't sit down, she said, "Well, I just wanted to see the world and I wanted the world to see me!".   :-D  I sternly told her that next time she needed to sit down with the other kids like she was supposed to but I was quite amused with her.

She wanted me to take pictures of her one day - one with Garmin and one with Kecky.   I have felt sheepish many days with various pals sitting "with me" up on the bleachers.  And she makes sure they are out where they can watch her and turned in the correct direction facing the pool.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Children's Museum - Part 2

This is the rest of the pictures from our day at the children's museum and the fountains.

Kaelyn playing in the fountains.

After playing for awhile, she came over to where I was sitting under the tree and said that she just wanted to "take a rest" for a little bit.  :-)  She didn't actually fall asleep, though she did a pretty good job faking it for the second picture here.  She layed still for maybe five minutes then was up again.

Some days, I LOVE that fact that I live in Florida.

We waded out into the Indian River.  It has a small beach area but the water is much calmer here than the ocean.  You can see that it is quite shallow a good ways out.  You could see schools of small fish and there are a couple of sand bars where the water covers the sand only by 2 or 3 inches.

The water was nice and warm.  You can see a little bit of the pier that's at the park we were at.  Besides the fountains and the museum there, it is a beautiful place to just walk and hang out.  There are several shelter houses with picninc tables and it's just a great spot.

After we finished outside, we went back over to the museum for a little while longer.

Kaelyn decided to be the worker at the bakery here.  Under the counter where she was standing, there were shelves with various foods that you would get from a bakery.  There was glass in front of the counter so any little shoppers had to show the baker what they wanted and then you could reach in from behind the counter and get the things.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the little girl who had been pretending she was the cashier had to leave so several of the kids asked Kaelyn if she wanted to do it.  So she got to be the cashier for awhile.  (I helped her bag a lot of the groceries because it took her awhile since she dutifully pushed a button on the register for EVERY item she picked up.)

The cash register had lots of play money in it so we just made sure all the kids had some before they checked out.

Then it was back to the vet's office.

We hadn't gotten a chance to try the fishing game the first time we were in the museum.  Kaelyn ended up really, really liking it.  The cool thing about it was that the fish actually looked like different kinds of fish.  There was a picture guide that showed several different kinds of fish so you could look and see what kind you had caught if you wanted.  Kaelyn just enjoyed catching them.

Kaelyn, Garmin, and Kecky in front of the entrance.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer fun - Children's Museum

I have tried to do something fun with Kaelyn every Friday since she doesn't have autism summer camp on Fridays.  I knew that there was some kind of children's museum in Jensen Beach so we decided to check it out.  It is small but it is super cool and Kaelyn had a blast there.  One whole side of the building is set up like a town and kids can dress up and pretend they're doing different jobs.  There was a garage with a taxi with its hood up.  You could unscrew the tires and take them off and change them, pretend to change the oil and several other things.  Then there was a kid's sized grocery store stocked with real sized boxes and containers of pretend food.  The house had three different house building projects you could do.  There were stencils and paper so you could design your own blueprint, there were building blocks, and then these large conncectable slats of wood where you could build larger structures.  There was a toddler beach themed play area, a vet, a health/learning room, a pretend post office area and a firetruck right in the center.  The other side of the building had a huge ship that you could climb up in and learn and practice doing all kinds of things that sailors used to do on ships.  There were plastic balls that you could load into the ship's cannons and shoot them and they landed down on the floor level.  Kaelyn didn't want to try that because it was too loud for her but I thought it looked like a lot of fun.  This is just the first part of the pictures I am going to post.

There was a full firefighter's outfit the kids could put on (a picture of that later).

Kaelyn LOVED the veterinarian clinic.  Here she is getting an animal from one of the kennels.  They had lots of different kinds of stuffed animals in the kennels for kids to use.  Of course Kaelyn already had a couple of her ever-present pals with her.

She decided to use Garmin and Kecky the first time she played in there.

Listening to Garmin's heart. 
Notice the x-ray illuminator behind her (and yes, I totally had to google what those are called).  It was divided into two sides and you could turn the light on and off for either side.  There was a pocket with a bunch of x-rays of various kinds of animals below the board.

Dr. Mosenthin  :-)

These were all the bins of doctors tools and you can also see all the lab coats hanging there for kids to wear.  There were blood pressure cuffs, needles, tweezers, stethoscopes along with other things that I don't begin to know the proper terms for.  :-)
(For instance, the reflex hit your knee thingy - see what I mean?) :-D

They had the perfect size carts, a kid-sized register and bakery counter, and all the shelves were on the kids' level.  I love the small scale produce scale (forgive the pun).

Getting some fresh produce from the refrigerator area.

Paying for her stuff.  As for the cashier, it was just kind of whichever kid was there and wanted to do it.  Surprisingly, most of the kids seemed to enjoy filling their carts (shopping) and there wasn't a big demand to be the cashier.  When we came back in later, there was a whole line of kids waiting to "pay" and the current cashier was ready to leave so several of the kids asked Kaelyn if she wanted to do it and she was the cashier for awhile (more pictures of that later as well).

The post office wasn't actually a separate room.  It was just these boxes and there were outfits you could put on and mail to sort and deliver.  The cool thing about it was that each place (the house, grocery store, garage, etc.) had a mailbox and there was lots of mail addressed to the different places.  Kaelyn didn't spend long doing this but I saw some of the kids sorting mail, putting it in the bags and carrying it all over to the different places.

She just put the outfit on to humor me so I could get a couple pictures, thus the pictures I got weren't very good because she was distracted and ready to move on to something else.

This was in the house.  In all the different places, there were lots of posters that taught all kinds of things so besides learning by playing, there was a lot of other things kids could learn by reading about stuff.

This was right down Kaelyn's line of interest.  On one wall of the house, they had things explaining the process of building houses.  On another wall they had pictures and descriptions of different kinds of Florida houses throughout the years.  But on this wall, they had an activity where you could match each kid from a different part of the world to what kind of house he or she lives in.  The "thumbtacks" on the map showed where they lived and there was a description of what kind of house they lived in next to their pictures.  Then you had to look at the pictures of the houses below and try to guess which kind of house went with each kid.  You lifted it up to see if you were right and read more about it.  Kaelyn loves maps and is very interested in other countries so she enjoyed seeing the different style houses.

The "outside" of the house.

The ship.

Kaelyn really had fun with this activity on the ship.  There was a sign explaining how sailors would use different flags for different letters to convey mesages.  The sign had a whole code of the different flags for each letter of the alphabet.  The barrel had all the different flags so you could find the flags for whatever letters you wanted (for instance, your initials).  The flags had little loops on them so you could just clip them on and then raise and lower the flags.  I think you could put up to three different letters (flags) on at one time.

This was in the room about your body/health.  Most of the stuff was a little "too old" for Kaelyn's interest but this was kind of interesting to her.  You sat on the bike and pedaled and it was connected to the skeleton on the bike so you could see what your bones are doing as you are pedaling a bike.

The firefighter outfit.  It was a regular uniform donated by the Port St. Lucie fire department so it was huge on her.  The helmets were just pretend ones though of course.  Since the coat went all the way down to her ankles, there was no way we were getting the pants/suspenders on her.  :-)

Changing a tire on the taxi.

Getting a new tire off the rack.

These were some of the tools you could use.  I have a couple nephews that I think would LOVE this particular thing and could probably spend a lot more time "working on" the car!!!

In the same parking lot as the museum, there is a free water fountains play area for kids besides the fact that all of it is along the Indian River.  Several years ago, we took Kaelyn to play in the fountains a few different times.  At that time, they were in the process of finishing the inside of the children's musem.  After Kaelyn had played in the museum for an hour or two, she wanted to go play in the fountains.  So I sat under a big tree and read while she played.  Then we walked down into the river, which is only about shin deep on me for a good ways out.  She cooled off and played in the water for a bit, then she wanted to go back into the museum and play.  Your admission to the museum is good all day and lots of people were doing both.  We went back and she played a while longer.  She tried a couple things she hadn't done yet and of course, I got more pictures so I'll be posting fountain pictures and a few more museum pictures next time.