Private donor helps to pay for therapies

David Britton with Stillwater Newspress (Oklahoma) had written an article titled: Private donors helping OSU’s Child Development Laboratory thrive after slash to funding.

There have been budget cuts that impacted this program that provided services for children with delays and various disabilities.

The article points out that several therapies are provided, including: physical , occupational, speech and language, and music therapies.

Recreation therapy is not specifically identified.

Read the article here:

Teaching Children Inner Power

Recreational Therapists wanting to start a private practice could learn a lot from those who are professional success coaches.

I got to have lunch with Kate Butler today at Jack Canfield’s Breakthrough to Success conference in Philadelphia.

I’m eating lunch and I happen to overhear her say that her young daughter had written a book. Naturally, that caught my attention.

Kate is the author of “More Than Mud.” It is a children’s book that teaches about confidence and imagination and perspective. And then her daughter, Bella followed up with a part 2 of the book, “More than Magic.”

Both of these books teach a lot about tolerance.

I feel confident that Recreational Therapists providing services for pediatrics (rather physical rehab, behavioral health, or community therapeutic recreation) could definitely find her books to be useful in therapy.


Here are my amazon affiliate links for their amazing books:

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Here is the link to Kate Butler’s success coaching web-site:

“Strong is the New Pretty”

Strong is the New Pretty - 2D

Credit: Strong is the New Pretty by Kate T Parker / Workman Publishing.

Danny Pettry comments: I have two nieces: Alyssa (4.5 years old) and Zoe (5-years-old). They don’t know it yet – but I purchased two copies of this book: one for each of them.

One of my favorite authors, Beth Revis, had shared a video today title “the ugly truth about children books” that points out that many children books lack strong, brave, female characters.

Kate T. Parker’s new book is titled: “Strong is the  New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves.”



Praise for Kate T. Parker’s Photography
  • “The powerful Strong Is the New Pretty photo series challenges traditional notions of what makes little girls awesome,depicting young girls who are empowered not by their looks, but by living their fullest, most fearless lives. –
  • “The message behind this photo series is simple and powerful: You are worthy of celebration exactly how you are.” – SELF
  • “[A} heartwarming, energetic series that beautifully showcases what it means to be a girl now.” – The Huffington Post
  • “Fearlessness. That’s what is captured in the photos Kate Parker takes.” – Buzzfeed
  • “A powerful photo series smashes through those age-old expectations by depicting little girls as they truly are: brave, joyful,defiant, curious. And even a little bit messy” –
Confident, wild, joyful, fearless, resilient, creative, strong. Girls are all these things, and more. A mother of two loud, messy, freckled, and amazing daughters, Kate T. Parker began taking pictures of her girls in everyday life—biking, playing soccer, discovering tide pools—and quickly came to realize the most resonant images captured her daughters’ true, authentic selves. Striking and fresh, the photos morphed into the Strong Is the New Pretty photography series, which went viral in 2015 and has now been expanded into a book of the same name.
STRONG IS THE NEW PRETTY (March 2017; Workman; $17.95) is a
celebration of the tenacious spirit inherent within every girl. Featuring
Parker’s stunning photography alongside advice and wisdom from her diverse subjects,
the book demonstrates that all girls—not just the athletic ones—are unstoppable. Girls reading or studying, girls jumping in mud and leaves, girls comforting a best friend, girls on the playing field, and  girls creating art—
STRONG IS THE NEW PRETTY reminds us that beauty is not about being a certain size,

having your hair done a certain way, or wearing a certain dress. It is about being yourself.
Filled with more than 175 color and black-and-white photographs, this important collection will inspire girls and women to be their best selves—to challenge and test their limits, to nurture their curiosity and intellect, to find strength in being creative and kind—in bold displays of anger and joy, and in quiet determination. Because as Grace F., age 13, says: “Being a girl has no limits
About the Author
KATE T. PARKER is a mother, wife, former collegiate soccer player, Ironman, and professional photographer who shoots both fine art projects and commercial work for clients across North America. Her Strong Is the New Pretty photo series has led to collaborations with brands like Athleta, Kellogg’s, and Oxygen. The project has also inspired Kate to launch a philanthropic arm of Strong Is the New Pretty, partnering with organizations that invest in girls’ health and education, like Girls on the Run, Glam4Good, and Girls Inc. She lives with her family in Atlanta, Georgia. Her website is
SoccerGirls (1) (1) low res

Credit: Strong is the New Pretty by Kate T. Parker/ Workman Publishing.

Credit: Strong is the New Pretty by Kate T Parker / Workman Publishing.

Q&A with Kate T. Parker, author of Strong Is the New Pretty


  • How did the Strong Is the New Pretty photography series start?
    I am the mother of two young girls, Ella (11) and Alice (8). They are my inspiration for Strong Is the New Pretty. I was photographing them every day and noticed that the images that were strongest and most meaningful to me were the ones where the girls were being themselves, whatever that was at the moment: dirty, feisty, silly, sassy, angry, funny, loud, and louder. They didn’t need to pose a certain way, smile for the camera, or brush their hair to be beautiful. I wanted my girls to know that the images that captured their true personalities showed their beauty. And the images turned into a tool I could use to combat the messages the media often sends to girls and women—that beauty is a particular hairstyle, size, or outfit.


  • What themes emerged as you started taking photos of the girls in the book?
    As the project grew, I met and photographed hundreds of girls from all over the country, and I learned that strength doesn’t always come in one package, and it doesn’t always manifest itself the way it does in my girls. Strength isn’t always loud and feisty. Strength can be in the face of a musician creating music because it is inside her. Strength can be switching tables in the lunchroom because your “friends” aren’t actually your friends. Strength can be meeting a cancer diagnosis with unrelenting positivity. Throughout the making of this book, I was and continue to be so inspired by the girls and young women who are featured between its covers. These are the faces of a new generation of young women who don’t need someone to tell them that it is what is inside that counts because they already know it.


  • How did the subjects in your book find self-confidence, and what lessons would you encourage them to pass along?
    I think the girls found confidence in being themselves by pursuing their dreams—becoming a gymnast, learning to be a pilot, playing football against the boys—regardless of what others thought. These girls were all brave, but it doesn’t mean that they were fearless. They all were scared. They all wondered what people would think of them. They all worried about how they would look. That kind of fear is within us all. Strength comes when we don’t let it dictate what we do.
CellistNoraElHassani low res (1)

Credit: Strong is the New Pretty by Kate T. Parker/ Workman publishing.

  • With the rise of online bullying, images of girls that go viral are too often not positive ones. What advice do you have for young girls when it comes to sharing photos online or letting others take their picture?
    I always remind my girls that the internet is written in stone. At their young ages, they can’t even comprehend how something posted when they’re a child can follow them around their entire life. Parental involvement is crucial: Speak to your kids about the dangers that are inherent in social media and model how to make good choices.


  • Why is it important for a girl to be wild?
    Wild girls should be allowed to be wild. Introspective girls should be allowed to be quiet. Funny girls should be allowed to be funny. And girls who are all these things should be allowed to be all these things and find out who and what they are, without boundaries. Giving girls the space, time, and support to find out just who they are, what they like, and ultimately, what they love, is a key responsibility for a parent or mentor.


  • What can a young woman learn from being resilient?
    We all get down. We all get beat. We all lose a game. We all get a bad grade. It happens to everyone! It’s not how many times something gets in our way or has a negative outcome —it’s how many times we get back in the game and keep working toward our dreams. When we get back up, it’s important to have a good cry, dust ourselves off, and get back in there. Our scars can make us stronger.


  • How do you define creativity, and why is it important to inner strength?
    Creativity is allowing what is in your heart and soul to come out in a form you can show the world. Mine is photography. I feel confident, creative, alive, and driven when I am shooting a project I believe in. I think we all have something in us that makes us feel that way. It just takes some people longer to figure it out. it took me almost thirty-five years to find mine, but it was worth the wait!


  • How can girls retain their ability to live fearlessly when they graduate into adulthood?
    Too often, strength is taught or discouraged out of us as we grow up. But strength is like a. The more you exercise it, the easier and more natural it becomes—–even if you have to start by pretending. While on the journey, start small by trying things you normally wouldn’t, and go from there.


  • What were the most surprising acts of independence you saw while documenting the girls in your book?
    As someone who doesn’t love to fly, I was so impressed with our sixteen-year-old pilot, Aris. She knew what she wanted to do at age 13, took lessons and studied, and has already flown solo. I commend her drive, follow-through and ability to let nothing stand in her way.

Click here to get this book from Rec Therapy Today’s amazon affiliate link

Resources for Rec Therapy (individual or group sessions)

canstockphoto3355752One of my co-workers shared this amazing site today, titled:

It has:

  • Resources: worksheets, videos, articles, and links to products.
  • Help with Emotions: anger, anxiety, stress, depression, and grief.
  • Therapy models: DBT, CBT, Motivational interviewing
  • Topics: goals, education, communication, art, self-esteem, and values.
  • Ranges for: children, adolescents, and adults.

I think RTs will love this: 

Special Kids – receives grant!

I interviewed Becky Bachelor, CTRS a few months ago to provide us with recreational therapy for children with special needs. I thought it was a great webinar. I found it very informative.

Becky works at “Special Kids,” in TN.

I was happy to see that a grant has been provided  to help kids.

The money from the grant (over $1,000) will go towards their “Play with a purpose” program.

The article provides an overview of what their Recreational Therapists do.

Let Kids Be Kids: Using Adventure and Nature to Bring Back Children’s Play

Blog written by guest-blogger: CAILEIGH FLANNIGAN

Caileigh is a play practitioner who uses forms of play as a way to promote children’s development and emotional healing. She is an outdoor play and loose parts researcher who is spreading the word about the importance of free play in natural environments.

Note: This article was originally published at


 It is a disappointing thing to see new playgrounds developed in city spaces sit there empty each day, or to walk in the park and hear no laughter. What is missing here is not the children per se, but materials and environments that create challenge, imagination, and creativity that make children want to play outdoors. The absence of such play environments is not only influencing the quantity and quality of children’s play, but also affecting children’s health and well-being. As adults, we need to support children in learning to enjoy what free play in the outdoors has to offer. We need to inspire imaginations, creative minds, and capable bodies. To do this, we can look toward two simple things: nature and adventure.

What’s Happening to Children’s Play?

Outdoor play is a necessary part of children’s development and is considered essential for children’s play and learning. Playing outdoors provides unique opportunities for learning that the indoor environment cannot offer. For example, children engage in higher levels of creativity, imagination, inventiveness, physical activity, language, and curiosity. Most importantly, they are given the opportunity to play freely. Despite this knowledge, outdoor play has been steadily decreasing for North American children.

When we look at why this disappearance of free play is happening, we realize that there are many factors that contribute to the lack of play. There are increases in structured play activities, an emergence of technology-based play objects, higher concerns related to safety and risk, adult control over children’s play activities, academically oriented schools, and an overall disregard for the value of play. More often than not, we see children engaged in a summer filled with structured sports activities or stuck inside with gaming systems and cell phones. We hear adults saying “don’t pick up the sticks!” “don’t go too far!” and “be careful!”. We know that schools are decreasing recess time or taking it away all together.

Unfortunately, it is all too common that today’s society has an overall disregard for the value of play and how important it is for children of all ages. It is ultimately these factors that are placing a barrier between children and their right to play freely in the outdoors.

The inability to cross over this barrier is affecting children in many areas of development. For example, there are increases in anxiety and depression at younger ages as well as difficulties with emotional regulation and self-control. Increases in physical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and asthma are becoming more apparent in young children and childhood disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder are more frequently diagnosed. Children who do not have access to outdoor play will miss out on the many benefits that free play in the natural environment has to offer toward their growth.

Illustration 1 code:

Why The Decrease in Free Play - Bring Back Children’s Play
Source: Blog

The Importance of Free Play in the Outdoors

When children are engaged in free play in the outdoors, they are provided opportunities for freedom, choice, and fewer routines. In free play, there is no adult direction or control, so children are able to play how they want to play. When children are given such freedom to play, they are more likely to engage in higher levels of social interaction, cognitive skills such as decision-making and reasoning, empathy, and physical activity. In turn, they are less likely to become inattentive, anxious, or depressed and unhealthy.

Illustration 2 code:

The Benefits of Outdoor Free Play - Bring Back Children’s Play
Source: Blog

The outdoor environment in particular has many benefits. A natural green space allows children to continuously explore ways to use materials, discover the varied environment, and create their own play experiences. The outdoor environment is not a man-made area and, therefore, is diverse and timeless. Children who play outdoors have heightened senses and emotions from the ever-changing topography and the rich stimuli that a natural space affords. This is how children learn – through experience: by seeing, feeling, touching, and hearing. The outdoor environment is a blank canvas on which children are able to place their own thoughts, wonders, and creations.

The Loose Parts Movement for Bringing Back Play

So what can be done now? After this discussion of the importance of free play in the outdoors you may be wondering how you can bring back play for children in your life. There are two things to support you in doing so: nature and adventure. What you are going to need to do is reintroduce adventure back into children’s outdoor play. To accomplish this, you can use loose parts.

Loose parts are play objects and materials that are open-ended, manipulative, moveable, and non-dictated. This means that children can use the materials in a variety of ways and there is no suggested way or “story” behind these materials. Loose parts allow children to act upon their environment the way that they want, rather than their imaginations and creativity being predetermined by the materials.

Examples of loose parts are items such as tires, logs, sticks, fabric, rope, and rocks. Loose parts can either be synthetic materials or materials that are commonly found in a natural outdoor environment. Loose parts spark children’s curiosity, which then leads to exploration and discovery. For example, if a child is provided with rope, tarp, and wooden pieces, she will become curious about what the materials are and how to use them. She will then begin to explore the materials in different ways through her imagination and creativity. This leads to discovering that the materials can do many things. This process of curiosity, exploration, and discovery is ultimately what leads to play and learning.

Where Can I Find Loose Parts?

You can find loose parts in many places, and they are often free!

  • Parks, forests, and natural spaces
  • Thrift stores
  • Yard sales
  • Hardware stores
  • Fabric stores
  • Local dairy suppliers
  • Grocery stores
  • Your own recycling bin

Here is a loose parts list that will inspire you to get out there and collect your own:

Illustration 3 code:

What Are Loose Parts - Bring Back Children’s Play
Source: Blog

To support children in loving play again, it is important that we create environments and include materials that are fun, engaging, and challenging. If an environment or an object is too easy, children will view it as boring. To reintroduce adventure and free play to your children, consider using loose parts. When loose parts are paired with the outdoors, it will lift children’s spirits, make them love playing again, and ultimately make them happier and healthier.