Summer Favorite Things

For this blog post I’m going to go all “Oprah’s Favorite Things” on you, but unfortunately I am not able to give one of each item to my audience like Oprah did. Here are a few of my favorite things that are making my summer easier. Please comment and add to the list so that we can all share ideas that make life easier.

Puddle Jumper
Stearns 3D Puddle Jumper (Turtle Blue)

We discovered this floatation device last summer and it made a huge difference for our son at the pool. It keeps him afloat and he is able to walk in the water unlike on land. Every child’s abilities are different so this won’t work for everyone, but it has been a great tool for us. Obviously, an adult is right by him at all times. The weight limit is 30 – 50 pounds. Isaiah is around 45 pounds and we are at the maximum stretch of the chest straps now. We are looking for something similar to move on to, but haven’t found anything yet. Does anyone have ideas for the over 50 pounds crowd?

Swim shoes
At times Isaiah’s feet tend to drag on the pool bottom. Since pools have a roughed up surface for safety, this has resulted in sores on Isaiah’s feet. We bought mesh water shoes, but Isaiah tended to rip through them so we switched to water sandals similar to the ones below (although not in pink).

Mulch Box
rubber mulch play pit
After playing at The Magic House in the rubber mulch pit, we decided to re-create that for our backyard. Isaiah enjoys sandboxes too, but the mulch pit adds the advantage of not dragging sand into the house. We used a raised bed garden kit for the frame. We bought it at Sam’s Club at the beginning of the spring season, but it is the same as the model shown below that is available on Amazon. Ours is 8 inches deep and 7 feet long which is pretty big. Amazon also offers a 6 inch deep one that is a 4 foot square. We purchased rubber mulch from Sam’s Club as well, but that might be a seasonal item. Home Depot or Lowe’s probably has it year round.

Summer Camp
Isaiah has enjoyed the Variety Adventure Camp and TASK‘s camp at CBC High School the past two summers. I have also heard great things about Camp Independence which is run by the Carol and Paul Hatfield Cerebral Palsy Sports and Rehabilitation Center. Next spring, I hope to post information about local camps ahead of time to help families looking for camps for the summer. Please comment regarding local camps your children have enjoyed.

Respite/Summer Voucher Program
Respite hours come in handy in the summer. I plan to research more respite options to share on the site soon, but I wanted to mention UCP Heartland‘s Summer Voucher Program. This program is offered to children with developmental delays (not exclusively Cerebral Palsy) who receive Regional Center benefits. They reimburse half of your childcare costs up to $400 for childcare needs during the summer. The applications are available in spring and they have limited funding so apply early next year if you are interested.

Screen Door Touch N’Hold Stopper
National Hardware V1345 Touch N’ Hold Door Closer, White
Feel free to laugh at how excited I get about this one, but this new doorstop has made me so happy this summer. Instead of holding the screen door open and fidgeting with the slide piece to get it to stay open while Isaiah wheels into the house, we just open the door and tap a button with our foot and that will hold it open. Then when you are done, you push the door slightly beyond the current position and it closes. No more fooling with the slide piece that never quite seemed to hold our door. It’s hard to explain how happy this makes me to get in and out of our house a little easier this summer.

Small Pool
Right now is a great time to head to Target for discounts on pools and water fun activities. Most of their outdoor items are 30% off now. Let’s face it, school may be starting soon, but we have a couple more months of hot temperatures ahead.

Skin So Soft Bugspray/Sunscreen Combination
We have used this product this summer and it’s been great to have bugspray and sunscreen combined in one lotion. It has worked well in both areas keeping away bug bites and sunburns. Kelly, a mom in my local Mom’s Night Out group is an Avon representative if you would like to order from her. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Avon-by-Kelly-P/280766665389831

Accessible Playgrounds in St. Louis
forest park accessible playground
We have had fun making the rounds at local accessible playgrounds. Here is a list of St. Louis area accessible playgrounds. Please comment if you know of more playgrounds I should include.

Recreation Council’s Summer Opportunities Guide

The Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis puts together a comprehensive guide of summer opportunities for children with developmental delays. The guide includes day camps, overnight camps, events and activities. The Recreation Council offers an informational meeting in conjunction with SSD in late winter/early spring. Representatives from local camps and programs are available to answer questions during this event as well. The Recreation Council offers some vouchers for help with summer camp costs on a limited first-come, first-served basis.

Do you have any summer survival products or tips to share? Anybody know of a swim vest for older children or an adaptive swing that doesn’t cost as much as your mortgage?



  1. Julie Sparks

    Have you checked out Giant Steps Camp in Maplewood?? It is amazing. Six hours a day, one on one staffing, swimming twice a week, plus field trips, games and crafts. My son has been doing it for 6 or 7 years now and it is his favorite part of the summer!

    1. JT

      Thanks for letting me know about Giant Steps Camp. Glad to hear it has been so great for your son. I’ll have to check it out to include on the website before next summer. Thanks.

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