Suction cup balls are one of our favorite toys to play with. We can usually find them in the party favor section at Target but they also sell them on Amazon. We use them to work on many skills such as:
- Throwing: By having the kids throw the balls at a window or mirror they get to work on not only throwing in general but also throwing at a target and throwing with increased force so that the balls will stick to the surface. You can work on throwing distance by slowly moving them further away from the target as they are more successful with getting the balls to stick. You can also work on accuracy by making tape boxes or circles on the window or mirror and having the kiddos try to throw them in the target. You can even make a mini ‘darts’ game!
- Hand Grip Strength: You can have the kiddos work on pulling the balls off of the mirror or the window. In order to do this they need to be able to have a strong enough grip to hold onto the ball while pulling. You can encourage using the other hand by having them stabilize on the support surface while pulling with the other hand.
- Tip Toes: By putting the suction cup balls on a window or mirror just out of the kiddos reach you can have them practice going up onto their toes to reach overhead for the balls. As they get better at going onto their toes you can make it more challenging by not letting them lean on or use their hands on the support surface. Have them try to get the balls off without touching anything but the balls.
- Jumping Up: Jumping up for an object is a skill we often don’t think about but it can be hard to elicit. Just because a kiddo can jump up, doesn’t mean they can jump up while reaching for an object. If you put the suction cup balls even higher on the window/mirror you can have them jump up to grab them. Start with them closer so the kids can have some success but then slowly move them higher.
- Motivation in General: You can also use them just as general motivation. I have had kids reach up with two hands while lying on their belly over a therapy ball to encourage trunk extension strength. By having them use two hands they are less likely to push up with their arms, thereby having to use their extensor muscles. You can also use them for reaching in various directions and then letting the kiddo throw them afterwards. Pretty much anything novel makes great motivation for a kiddo!
What else have you used suction cup balls for?