Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hiho, Hiho, Hiho Batik We Go

I don't consider myself entirely crafty.  I love it and am inspired by crafty moms who spend hours crafting with their children.  When I had my daughter 3 years ago, I imaged making holiday cards for all our family and friends using her footprints or letting her go wild with markers and finger paints.  Well, that hasn't totally happened but as she gets older we are attempting it more and this year we made the cutest Valentine's Day cards.

Living in New York City has so many advantages.  Awesome restaurants, great shopping and amazing cultural opportunities.  Once you have children, you realize there are so many great places to go to as well.   I live in Park Slope and love it for all the reasons mentioned above.  However, we also are the home to many independent shops and not overrun by chain places quite yet.  Not long ago, one of my favorite shoe stores closed and I was totally bummed.  I had bought shoes for me and for Quinn and was sad that I wouldn't have this place so close anymore.  A couple of weeks after it closed, I discovered a kids batik clothing store would open in its place.  Not so disappointed anymore.  Right before it opened, I came to discover that not only would they sell insanely adorable clothing, they would have a studio in the back room so you could design and then paint your own batik article of clothing.  No longer sad about old shoe store but super excited for a new place to learn a new craft.

I have purchased many of the awesome shirts from Hiho Batik.  A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to finally try out the studio in back with one of my favorite people.  There are certain kids I work with who I just connect to.   Years ago, when I began working in my private practice in the city, I had the great luck to meet Jen and Riley.  I fell in love with this family immediately and felt so connected to this little 1 1/2 year old girl who wouldn't stop crying for anything.  Riley and I shared a birthday and I felt that we were meant to be working together and when she finally stopped crying, a relationship was born.  Riley has graduated from occupational therapy with me but the relationship has lasted for 7 1/2 years and each year I try and do something special with her for her birthday.  This year I knew exactly what that would be....we were hitting up Hiho Batik together for the first time.

I didn't realize until I went to Hiho Batik how many occupational therapy goals can be addressed.  I quickly learned that this fun little afternoon taught me that I could use this with the children I work with to help them gain skills and feel better about themselves.  I could not have been more impressed with Julia and Robyn, the owners of Hiho Batik.  They were so welcoming and helpful for us novice batikkers.   When we were feeling stressed about what we were doing, they bent over backwards to help us and reassure us that we were doing a great job.  They offered us extra templates, gave us support and made us feel like we were doing a great job  As a therapist, it means so much to find a place like this that will make an artist of any level feel good about what they are creating.  I can easily suggest this place to any of the families I work with because I know that when they go there, they will be treated like royalty.  They will be made to feel like they are doing a great job and that is what matters to me.  I spend a lot of time talking to the children I work with that things don't have to be perfect; they have to try their hardest and their masterpiece will be just right.

*Improve eye-hand coordination/visual motor skills-any time you are working with a writing instrument (in this case, the wax "pen") and tracing something, you are working on eye-hand coordination
*Improve attention and focus-when you are tracing over your design with the hot wax, you have to pay careful attention and focus on the lines.  If not, your design won't come out the way you imagined it
*Improve creativity and imagination-if you decide you don't want to use one of the patterns that Hiho provides, you can make any design you want.  This is a great opportunity to have a child work on being more creative and thinking outside of the box
*Improve self-esteem-the look on Riley's face when she finished her shirt was priceless.  Then when she got to see her completed shirts (and they were AMAZING) she was super psyched.  She put her shirt on immediately and the compliments kept pouring in.  While this is an activity that is great for any school age child, if you have a child who loves fashion, this is the perfect activity for them.  How much fun is it to tell you friends that you actually created the shirt/dress/sweatshirt you are wearing???
*Improve social skills-this is a great activity to do with a friend.  You can talk about what you are doing, what colors you are choosing, why you have picked a particular template, etc..  I would love to plan a weekend event for The Meeting House down the line because I think it would be amazing and a great place to practice so many of the social skills that we have been working on this year.

I can't wait to go back to Hiho Batik with the kids I work with and with my family.  I know that my nieces will love this.  During my visit last week, Quinn and I made an awesome dress for her third birthday celebration.  While it isn't an ideal activity for a toddler, we certainly had a great time making her special dress together.  Here Quinn is wearing her lollipop dress for her candy store birthday party!
She was so excited to put it on and was showing it off to her friends.  I love that we had that special time with Riley and we created a memory together.  Every time I look at this picture or her dress, I will think of this amazing time we all had together at Hiho Batik.

For all my New York City readers, I highly recommend this place.  I am not the only one who thinks this place rocks.  Check out New York Magazines writeup about Hiho Batik.  They were included in this years Best of New York issue.  For all my out of town readers, if you have plans to come to NYC, definitely hit up this place.  It will make your trip to the city that never sleeps even more memorable.

I would love to hear from any of you who have visited Hiho Batik.  It would be fun to see what you or your child have created while there.  If you have any questions or comments, I am only a click away and love to hear from my readers.

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