Monday, July 29, 2013

8-Bit Art Start for Little Hands

With summer in full swing and many people packing up and getting ready for vacations, I have been asked for suggestions for long plane and car trips.  A few weeks ago, while looking for birthday presents at a local toy store in Park Slope, I happened to see a cute set of sticker/workbooks called Pixel Heroes and Pixel Dolls.  I was immediately sold on the small size and how easily they would fit in my work bag (doing homecare this summer has forced me to look for smaller and more easily transportable items); I couldn't help but think how perfect they would be for so many of my clients who would be doing an extensive amount of traveling this summer and needed to keep working on their fine motor skills.

Using a fine pincer grasp to put stickers in the squares

Pixel Heroes and Pixel Dolls are quite similar to the Orb Factory mosaics that I wrote about here. Each book contains 9 different dolls or heroes to replicate.  On the left hand side of the book, you will see what the doll looks like and on the right hand side there is a grid shaded in guiding the user where stickers need to be placed.   There is an envelope full of small square stickers in the back of the book for easy storage and helps a child keep their work organized.  The gist of the sticker book is to use the different colored stickers and place them in the correct boxes.  They are required to go back and forth between the left and right sides of the books to make sure that they are following the correct pattern.  While this sounds easy, for many of the children I work with, it may be quite a challenge. First of all, the stickers are flat and not easy to manipulate so it's perfect for those kids who need to work on increasing grasp strength and in-hand manipulation skills.  It requires patience and focus to get the stickers in the boxes precisely.  This is a fun activity for older children who need to work on improving their grasping skills and it won't seem so therapeutic to them.  Remember, a child who has good grasping skills will have typically be able to hold a writing instrument properly, be able to manipulate buttons and snaps easier and develop other higher level fine motor and in-hand manipulation skills.  
Pixel Heroes Sticker Book

In addition to what has already been discussed, Pixel Heroes and Pixel Dolls can work on the following occupational therapy goals:
Improve Eye-Hand Coordination-a simple but great activity to focus on eye-hand coordination skills.  The pixel sticker books require a child to look at where the sticker goes and move it around with their fingers until it is in the box the correct way.  For some of my kids, I have them remove the stickers if not placed in the box as close as it can be.  It's important for them to not only put the stickers in place but to correct it if it is not in the right way.  
Improve Visual Tracking and Scanning-if you have a child who has difficulty with this visual motor skill, Pixel Heroes and Pixel Dolls is a perfect activity to work on that without them really knowing that is what you are focusing on.  In order for the doll/hero to be completed correctly, they have to constantly scan between the picture on the left and the grids on the right.  They need to scan each row and figure out what color sticker goes in each box.  
Improve Self-Esteem and Confidence-as with many arts and crafts projects, they can help build a child's sense of confidence and self-esteem.  Don't ever under-estimate what completing a challenging activity all by themselves can do for a child's self-esteem.  I love seeing their faces as they place those final stickers into the grid.  I like to show the kids how their accuracy improved over time by comparing the first few rows with the final ones.  
Improve Attention and Focus-it's important for children to really stop and focus on the picture and the grid.  Unlike the Orb Factory mosaics, there isn't a number or a color for the children to place the stickers on.  They have to rely on being able to copy the pattern provided on the left to the blank grid on the right hand side of the book.  When I first begin this activity, I have the children talk the pattern out to me for the first few rows to help them be more successful in completing the picture.
Pixel Dolls Sticker Book
Improve Organizational Skills-I encourage children to start at the top, left-hand side of the page when beginning their hero or doll.  I have them complete it line by line and not color by color.  For older/school age kids, working this way is important for handwriting, reading and math skills as they all start in the top, left hand corner.
Improve Upper Extremity Strength-I have been having some of my older kids complete their chosen pixel hero or doll while lying prone on a net swing in order to work on improving his/her arm and neck strength.  I love killing two birds with one stone and this is the kind of activity that allows me to do just that.  A kid can work on building their fine motor and grasping skills at the same time as upper extremity strength.  A great way to hide the "work" behind the whole thing.  One of the things I like best is that I can tell a kid that we will stay on the swing until they finish a certain number of rows.  So instead of constantly asking how much longer they have until they are finished, they can just take a look at how much work they have left.

The Pixel Heroes and Pixel Dolls books will be a huge hit with your older preschoolers and school age kids, both at work and at home.  These are perfect for parents who need something to keep in their bags when going out to eat, waiting for a therapy appointment to start or just to keep your kids away from iPads, video games or the television.

I was able to pick my books up at a local toy store in Park Slope, Brooklyn so I wouldn't be surprised if you would be able to find it one of your local toy stores.  I love being able to support the local small businesses in my hood and encourage you all to do the same.  If you can't find them, I happen to have an obsession with an online toy website called My Sweet Muffin, that sells these books (and a million other amazing products).  I originally discovered this store because of an obsession with a certain Danish toy product but have come to realize that they offer tons of other amazing products that are not only fun but therapeutic.

I would love to hear about your experience with the Pixel Heroes and Pixel Dolls sticker books.  Do you have other products that you have seen or used that are like this?  As always, I am just a click away and love hearing from my readers.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

An App That Has Me All Fingers and Thumbs

I am sure it is totally obvious how much I love finding good apps.  Ones that will motivate my kids and keep them interested while still working on specific goals.  Months ago I found Dexteria, an occupational therapy app created for school age children (also great for adults who may need to work on building up strength after a hand injury) that focuses on improving fine motor skills.  While it has been a great app for my older clients, it was a bit challenging and not motivating enough for my younger children or those older clients who have significantly decreased grasp strength and in-hand manipulation skills.  So when I saw that they released Dexteria Jr. I immediately downloaded it and began using it right away.  It's a true must have for all you therapists who use an iPad during therapy.

Binary Labs created Dexteria Jr. in conjunction with occupational therapists.  There are 3 activities that work on improving pinching, grasping and coordination of motor skills.  I have been using this for a week or so with a variety of kids (including my own 3 year old daughter) and they all love it.  For my preschoolers who struggle with aquiring higher level fine motor skills, this is a fun app that easily motivates them to work on those challenging skills.  It's clear to me that a lot of thought and collaboration was put into the creation of this app and I am thrilled to have it out there.  Not only am I loving using it in my sessions, I love having it to suggest to my colleagues and to parents of children I work with.

The app is broken down into three mini-games and each game has multiple levels that focuses on a different fine motor skills.  I will describe each game here:
Squish the Squash
Squish the Squash-works on encouraging a child to use a pointer finger to squish the vegetable.  I encourage my kids to stick only their pointer finger out and let all the other fingers go to "sleep".  This can be quite challenging for those kids with decreased grasp strength.  There are a number of levels and the expectations increase on each level.  The number of squash they must squish goes up; they start moving around the screen and eventually you have to squash them 2 to 3 times before you earn a point.

Pinch the out for the multiplying yellow peppers
Pinch the Pepper-this section of the game focuses on developing a pincer grasp.  Kids are expected to pinch the peppers on the screen.  Again, there are a number of levels and the expectations and challenges go up with each level.  At first, the peppers remain still; eventually they begin moving around the screen.  My favorite part of this game is that eventually the red peppers will begin changing color; if the pepper is yellow and it is pinched, it will split into 3 more peppers.  This is perfect for working on improving a child's focus and ability to regulate their actions.

Trace and Erase..Step 1.  Drag the line to the star
Trace and Erase-this game is perfect for working on pre-writing and tracing skills with preschoolers.  A child is expected to trace a variety of lines and shapes by drawing a line from a dot to the star.  They are timed and their accuracy is measured.  Once they are done tracing the lines, they are then expected to erase each line.  As they erase the lines, they begin to see a picture of themselves.  Once all the lines are erased, the camera will go off and take a silly picture of the kid.  Talk about motivating! My kids keep asking to do more levels just so they can get there picture taken at the end.

In addition to what I have already mentioned, here are a few more occupational therapy goals that can be addressed when using this app:
Improve Grasping Skills-the pinching game is perfect for working on improving a child's grasping s I would work on generalizing this skill by following up with a hands on activity like the Orb Factory Mosaics or stringing small beads on string.  If you are working on proper pencil grasp with a child, you can have them complete the squish the squash and tracing game using a stylus.  I try and do this as often as possible with apps so they can work on grasping skills more consistently.  I recommend the iCreate one found here.  This one meant to look like a crayon is the perfect size for little hands.
Improve Eye-Hand Coordination-all 3 of the games require eye-hand coordination.  This is a perfect and motivating app to be able to focus on coordinating your eyes and hands.  Once you feel as though they have mastered this, you can then try and find more hands on/less techy activities such as stringing beads or mosaic activities.
Trace and Erase...Step 2.  Check out the picture that pops up
as you erase your lines.  
Improve Visual Tracking and Scanning Skills-this is a great game to work on improving visual tracking and scanning skills.  The squash and pepper game require a child to follow the vegetables around the screen prior to either sqishing them or pinching them.  They begin to move faster and faster so it's really important that they maintain their eye contact at one object at a time instead of moving from one to the other.   If you want to work on generalization of their tracing skills, have them complete a paper tracing activity right after.  I am a big fan of the Kumon books; try out the Amazing Tracing and Easy Mazes ones to compliment this activity.
Improve Modulation/Regulation Skills-I like that in order to be truly successful with these games, it requires a child to slow down and be steady in their movements.  For example, if you rush through the trace and erase game, you won't stay in the lines.  I tend to have to remind my kids that speed is not as important as staying in the lines in order to get them to slow down.
Improve Attention and Focus-sometimes I find that the timed apps make my kids rush through activities.  While playing Dexteria Jr., it's important to remind the kids to maintain their focus on the vegetables or the tracing shapes and not the timer.  All three of the activities require you to focus but on different things.  For example, the tracing game requires you to focus on staying in the boundaries.  The pinching game requires you to focus on the color of the peppers.
Improve Upper Extremity Strength-not all iPad games are easy to do while lying on the net swing but once a child is familiar with this one, you can present it to them while on the swing.  I have so many kids who complain about working on upper body strengthening and say they are tired within seconds of getting on the swings.  However, if I have them engaged in a game, they don't mind spending more time in that position.

There are a ton of things to love about this app and as an OT, I could go on and on about the therapeutic benefits of it.  The best part about it is that the design is very child friendly and motivating for the younger kids.  They are having serious fun while working on skills that are necessary for success in academic skills such as handwriting, drawing and cutting.  What's also great is that while it is therapeutic, it can be used at home with caregivers and parents.  Children don't mind doing their OT homework when this app is involved.

While there is still a lot of summer left, I know some parents are looking for activities to get their kids ready for the new school year.  I promise Dexteria Jr. will be something all you early educators who use the iPad will want in your catalog of apps.  And I promise you will be recommending it to parents for home use.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the app and how you use it in therapy or at home.  If you have any other apps that are like this that you want to suggest to my readers, please let me know.  I am always a click away and value your thoughts and opinions.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Building Just Got More Fun!

Recently, I took a trip to the Bronx Zoo with my family to check out their new Dinosaur Safari.  While we were annoyingly shut out of the actual safari part, we were still able to participate in a variety of fun arts and crafts activities that they have set up in conjunction with the exhibit.  As a therapist, I am always on the lookout for new toys that will motivate my kids to be challenged when working with me.  When I walked into the area, my eyes immediately went to the dry erase board filled with the cutest homemade zoo animals and dinosaurs made out of LaQ construction toys.  I had never seen them before but spent some time playing with them at the zoo and went right home to order them for my office.  I won't husband and 3 year old daughter spent hours creating this weekend.  They didn't follow a pattern but used their imagination to build creatures from Quinn's mind.  They had so much fun playing and telling stories to each other based on what they had built.  While daddy did most of the work, Quinn still got to be an active participant by pulling some of the pieces apart and finding the pieces that daddy needed.

LaQ construction toys are a great way to work on improving grasp strength and fine motor skills.  There are 7 different shaped pieces/connectors.  With those 7 pieces, what one can build is just endless.  The pieces are small and require a child to use a pincer grasp to push the pieces together.  For kids who struggle with grasping skills, this is a fun way to work on improving that without them even knowing it.  And if they are fans of construction toys, they will be asking to play with these all the time.  Unlike Legos, LaQ blocks are thin so you can really only use two fingers on each hand to push them together (for therapists/educators who do a lot of homecare, they are small and light enough that you can throw them in your work bag and bring them from place to place without being weighed down).  The pieces are colorful and they make this awesome snapping sound when they are pushed together.  For some kids, it is great to have some kind of sound to know that they have successfully gotten the pieces together and should move onto the next step.  

There are a variety of sets to choose from including dinosaurs and food.  While each set comes with a book full of patterns, you can check out their website for many more great ideas.  The nice thing is is that there are 3 different levels of patterns so there should be something for everyone to choose from.  I like the patterns on the website a little better than the books that come with the sets because they break down the steps with more clarity.  

In addition to what I have already spoken about, there are several other OT goals that can be addressed using LaQ construction blocks:
Improve Organization and Sorting Skills-there are 7 different shaped pieces in all LaQ sets.  They may come in a variety of primary and pastel colors, but these 7 shapes can make thousands and thousands of designs and patterns.  Many of the kids I work with need help organizing their work and on each of the patterns provided, there is a grid provided telling you how many of each shape and color you need.  I like to have my kids sort these out before they begin to put their creations together.
Improve Bilateral Coordination Skills-for those of you who work with school age children who continue to struggle with bilateral coordination, this is a great activity to work on encouraging that skill. There is no way that a child can be successful with this toy if they don't use two hands.  They will need to hold pieces in both hands in order to put complete the patterns and be successful in creating a final product.
Improve Visual Motor/Perceptual Skills-while there is room for a child to be totally creative, there are hundreds of patterns to choose from.  When I was at the Bronx Zoo, there were mostly zoo animal and dinosaur patterns out for kids to create but through my google searches, I have found all different kinds of patterns.  I bought this set more geared towards girls that includes a head band and jewelry box, to name just a few.  Once you pick a pattern, it really requires you to visually attend to what you are doing in order to follow the patterns so the pattern comes out the way it is supposed to.
Improve Frustration Tolerance-this is a challenging activity.  It requires a child to have an enormous amount of patience, which many of the kids that I work with lack.  It may require them to not only accept but ask for help from a friend or a grown-up.  Asking for help can be a frustrating thing for a child who wants to believe that he/she can do things all on their own.  They would rather figure it out on their own which often leads to them giving up.  Encourage kids to ask for help and talk to them about how everyone sometimes needs help and that it is okay.
How awesome are these LaQ creations?
Improve Focus/Attention Skills-this is an activity that requires a child to really focus on what they are doing.  They need to focus on what pieces they are taking and focus on following the directions/patterns.  If their attention strays, they may have to take apart the whole project and start again from the beginning.  If I know a child has difficulty with attending, especially to new and more challenging activities, I like to set a timer for them.  They know before even beginning that they will be required to focus for x amount of time and just knowing that sometimes keeps a child's focus and attention on what it needs to be on.
Improve Confidence and Self-Esteem Skills-I have always noticed how completing long term Lego projects often bring out a tremendous amount of pride in a child.  I have bought Lego sets for my kids who have fine motor delays and decreased self-esteem and confidence and worked on these sets for weeks or months at a time.  When they finish the project and can show it off to their parents or caregivers, they are beyond proud.  This is a similar activity and from what I have seen so far, when a child finishes their creation, whether it is from their imagination or from a pattern, they are beaming with pride.
Improve Social Skills-while a child could be happy doing this completely on their own, it is also a great activity to do with a friend.  This is a perfect activity to do in a small group to work on turn taking, problem solving and working on pragmatic skills like asking and accepting help from a peer.  For many of the kids that I work with, the idea of completing a project like this with the help of another is a difficult concept.  As children get older, they will be required to participate in group projects at school and will have to learn to be flexible and work as a partner and not an individual.  This is a great activity to do in order to prepare your child for working as part of a team with friends and classmates.

More awesome LaQ creations at the Bronx Zoo
I can't say enough about how great these manipulative toys are.  My only regret is I didn't know about them earlier in the year because I had many kids on my caseload who would have loved them and we would have been able to work on so many skills without them even realizing it.

I would love to hear from you guys about how you are using these at home or at work.  Do you have any creations you want to share with us?  I am just a click away and would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Ice Cream

Due to the major heat wave we are experiencing here on the east coast, I figured I would try keeping with the summer theme and feature a cool app that has been bringing my daughter and many of the kids I work with great joy these hot days.  Wombi Ice Cream is a fun and creative app that allows children to make ice cream cones and ice cream sundeas for their customers.  While there is plenty of opportunity for a child to be creative with the app, there is also lots of great educational aspects to this game that enables them to work on improving a variety of skills, including, but not limited to, memory and focus and attentional skills.

Wombi has successfully created a game that is cute and colorful so it easily catches the eyes of the kids as they work.  Some may not like this, but there are no words used so a child is forced to rely on visual cues when playing this game.  Since I work with so many children who often forget to look at visual and social cues enough, I think this is a great addition to the game.  I encourage children to look at the faces of the customers as they are ordering and receiving their ice cream.  If they delivered a satisfactory order to their customer I point out how they are they smiling.  When they make an order that isn't what their customer ask for, I point out that they have an unhappy face and that they won't take the ice cream from them.  It's could be a great chance to work on making a child more aware of how their actions have an impact on others.  Even though it is just a game, a child can work on this important social/life skill in a fun and un-stressful manner.

A character comes comes up to the window of your ice cream truck and places their order.  It starts off easy with one or two requests and gradually increases the demands.  In the beginning, a child is asked to create ice cream sundaes or cones using a couple of specific ingredients.  As they play on, they will soon be asked to not only include ingredients, but also to make sure they leave out other ingredients that their customer does not want.  A great chance to work on memory skills; however, if your child has a hard time remembering, they can scroll between the order window and the ice cream page to ensure they make the correct order.

In addition to what I have already mentioned above, here are some of the other occupational therapy goals that can be targeted:
Improve Visual Memory Skills-while there is some free play involved, there are also many opportunities for children to have to remember what their customers asked for on their cones or sundaes.  I love that it gets more challenging with increased play and that they may need to also remember what NOT to put on their customers order.  This really requires a child to think back to what they saw and not just throw together something.  If they don't make what their customer asks for, they will not get paid!
Improve Focus and Attentional Skills-in addition to visual memory, a child is required to maintain his/her focus and attention on the game in order to correctly complete their customer's order.  It is important that they pay attention to the details of their customers order and remember to put them all on the ice cream or else they will have an unsatisfied customer.
Improve Modulation and Regulation-a child is required to regulate their speed when placing the ingredients onto their order.  If they move too quickly, the ingredients will fall to the ground.
Improve Organization Skills-I love to work on improving a child's ability to organize their thoughts and work with this app.  For children who lack organization, I often have them start with the cone, add the requested ice cream flavor(s) and then put the toppings on.  I like to have them start from the bottom and move their way up.  Sometimes, I won't let the children move onto the toppings until they are certain that the ice cream and cone are exactly what the customer has requested.  This can be frustrating for children, but an important skill that will be useful in so many areas of their lives.
Improve Memory Skills- I love that while you can be creative and choose your own ingredients, there are also opportunities to work on sharpening ones memory skills.  The longer you play the game, the challenge increases.  When your customer comes to the window to order, they may ask you to use specific ingredients.  If you don't use them in your ice cream creation, they won't pay for it and will walk way unhappy.
Improve Social Skills-while this app can easily be done indpendently, I enjoy using it in the social context as well with my little kids.  You can work on taking turns adding ingredients to your ice cream to improve team work.  This is also a great opportunity to work on children working on accepting things not going their way; they need to be flexible if their friend chooses to choose orange flavor ice cream even if they wanted vanilla.  This can also be a great opportunity to work on improving language and conversational skills between friends by having children ask each other questions such as their favorite ice cream flavors, what they like on their ice cream and many others.

This is a great game for your preschooler and can be done successfully independently.  While I use it at work socially, children can do it by themselves at home and parents can rest assured that they will be learning some important skills that will be helpful when they are in school.

I would love to hear from any of my readers if they have found other ways to use this game in social ways during their sessions.  Do you have suggestions to share with my readers?  I am just a click away and would love to hear from you all.

As the heat wave continues on the east coast, I hope you are all finding ways to stay cool and enjoy the warm summer days.  If you are looking for something fun to do with your younger ones, definitely check out Wombi Ice Cream.  I guarantee your child will have lots of fun and will forget about how hot it is outside!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

It's all in the Pop(sicle)

With summer and the heat here, I thought it was time to write about an awesome popsicle maker that the whole family could enjoy.  Last year, I was looking for a way to make my own popsicles.  I am an avid baker and thought that it would be a great activity to do with Quinn who had recently begun to show an interest in cooking and baking with me.  When I went into William's Sonoma, I spied the Zoku Quick Pop Maker and knew I had found what I was looking for.  This year Quinn is a full fledged baker and I think we are going to spend a lot of time this summer experimenting with different tasty recipes to keep us cool all summer long!

The Zoku Quick Pop Maker is the perfect accessory to make a tasty and healthy summer treat.  Not only that, on days like today, they will be super refreshing.  The process if very simple and easy for little ones to be actively involved from beginning to end.  The first step is to make room in your freezer for the pop maker (I have the two pop maker but you can get one as small as one or as large as three at a time).  Place it in your freezer for at least 24 hours making sure it is lying even.  Once frozen, place the sticks into the pop maker....make sure they are properly lined up as this will help when removing them from the maker.  Pour the juice into the pop maker and watch it's a little like watching water boil but I think the end result will be more exciting for your little one!  Once the pops are done, you use the handy dandy pop remover tool to magically remove them from the mold.  The last, and in my opinion, the most important is to eat your delicious creation.  I am fairly certain you will have a pretty proud prince or princess on hand after their creations are completed and they get all kinds of positive feedback from everyone who eats them!

The maker comes with a handful of recipes that you can test out.  If you are not a member of Pinterest, I suggest doing so immediately.  There are hundreds of recipes for you to try that people have pinned.  In the middle of writing this blog post, I got an email from one of my favorite blogs, Red Tricycle (another must sign up for especially if you are in the NYC, Chicago, LA areas.  They do have a national edition totally worth signing up for no matter where you live), featuring 20 popsicle recipes.  While all aren't meant for this pop maker, you could easily adapt the recipes for this appliance.  This is a guaranteed good time for not only your child, but you as well.

Some of the occupational therapy goals that can be addressed when using the Zoku Quick Pop Maker are:
Improve Sequencing and Organization:  if you have a child who presents with difficulties with sequencing and organization, you can take the steps of this activity and have the child put it in order prior to beginning the actual making of the popsicles.  Go through each step and talk about what supplies you may need in order to get your child organized and prepared.
Improve Eye-Hand Coordination:  depending on the recipe you choose, you may need to cut up fruits which requires good eye-hand coordination.  When pouring the liquid ingredients in, you will need to hold the cup with the liquids in one hand and hold the popsicle maker with the other.  If you have a child who is struggling with choosing a dominant hand (but know they may do better with one over the other), encourage them to use that stronger hand.
Improve Following Directions:  if you don't follow the steps and directions, your popsicles won't turn out the way they are supposed to. This is a good opportunity to talk to your child about the importance of following a recipe.  Many activities that kids are presented with are similar to recipes in that if you don't follow the "recipe", the final product won't turn out the way it is expected to.  
Improve Bilateral Coordination Skills:  when pouring ingredients, it's important to encourage your child to use two hands; one should be used to hold the cup and the other should be used to pour.  In addition, if you are using fresh fruits, they may need to be cut up or sliced.  This is another great opportunity to work on using both hands in a coordinated manner.
Improve Eating Skills:  I am sure many of you have worked with or are the proud owners of picky eaters (myself included).  By actively engaging your child in the process of making food, you may have a positive impact on their willingness to try new foods.  And when you present something to them in this manner, it will be more fun.  I find that kids are more likely to try new foods when they are more involved in the actual process of making it.
Facilitate Social Skills:  cooking is a great social activity.  It is a great opportunity to work on taking turns by dividing up the ingredients and having children take turns putting them in.  After the popsicles are finished, set up a table for the kids to eat them and encourage conversation.  Maybe you will need to lead the conversation but have it based around making the popsicles and then let the conversation go from there.

In addition to all the other things I mentioned above, this is a great way to begin teaching your children about foods and making healthy choices.  Go to the grocery store together and pick out the different ingredients so they can truly be part of the entire process.  Talk about how healthy fruits are and how they provide your body with the power to grow and become stronger.  I don't know of a single kid who doesn't respond well to the idea of becoming as strong as a super hero!

The only downside is that the maker takes up a chunk of space in your freezer.  If you plan on using it all summer, just be prepared to have a reserved space for it in there.  The great thing about it is that the actual freezing process of the popsicles is about 7 minutes so there is instant gratification for you and your kids.

As previously mentioned, you can get the Zoku at William's Sonoma.  I have also seen it in local kitchen stores in my neighborhood.  As always, I am a big believer in supporting small businesses when possible.  If you have a kitchen supply store in your hood, be sure to give them a call before going the Amazon or big box store route.  They truly appreciate and count on every sale they make.

I would love for you to share how you use the Zoku with your kids.  Do you have a recipe you would like to share with us?  I would love to hear of any fabulous new recipes that you may have and I am sure my other readers would as well.  I am only a click away and love hearing from all of you.

Stay Cool this warm summer!