Hi! It’s that time of year again. Many families are asking us for ideas of gifts to get for their kids. We have done several gift guides in the past – Here is last years!
So, to do this year’s we asked our therapist to each pick 2 of their favorite toys. I am going to share them over the next several blog posts as well as their reasons why, and how they use them.
- Stomp Rocket – I think this toy has made the list almost every year. It is definitely a favorite for the kids and the therapists. In fact we have written a whole post about using the stomp rocket in the past. Here are a few of the reasons that were given this year:
- It’s a great way to work on balance for standing on one foot – also works on weight shifting in the legs
- When retrieving the rocket kids can work on squatting to pick it up off the ground or tip toes to reach for it out of the therapists hands
- It can help with power and jumping by jumping onto the launcher either by jumping forward onto it from level ground, or jumping off a small elevation (they may forget that they are nervous by focusing on the rocket launcher rather than the height)
- If you have kids prone across a peanut or your lap so they are weight bearing through their arms you can work on weight shifting and use the hand to launch the rocket
- We often take it off of the stand because the kids like to direct where they are aiming the rocket!
- Scooter Board – The exact words when recommending this were ‘You can just do so many things with it.’ So here are a few of those things:
- Bear walking with hands on the scooter board – requires a little more control than hands on the ground
- Pulling yourself forward with your hands on your belly – works on coordination
- Sitting on it and using your feet to push you backwards or pull you forward – targets sitting balance and leg strength, but can also work on alignment and dorsiflexion strength when pulling forward (kids try to keep toes pointed to the ceiling)
- Check out our hungry hippos/wreck it ralph idea for a great way to work on core strength!
- If you have a place to anchor a rope, you can work on core strength, upper extremity strength, and coordination by having them pull themselves forward on flat ground or up a ramp while either lying down or sitting
- Spot It – Maybe because it’s newer to our clinic but the therapists and kids have been loving this! Honestly it’s been really good as motivator for getting a lot of repetitions of an activity (especially a non-preferred activity) in. You can modify how you play the game to make it age/developmentally appropriate for whoever you are playing with, or let them exercise their creativity by coming up with a new way to play – that’s my favorite way to do it, I’m always impressed with the ideas! In addition to the repetitions here are some other ways it can be helpful:
- Pointing to the matched item
- Matching objects
- Visual discrimination and scanning
- Grasp to turn the card over
- Bean Bags – This is another toy that is like the scooter board, we use it for a ton of things. We also have varied bean bags to make it more interesting such as some of these: frogs, turtles, and ladybugs. Here are just a few of the ways we use these:
- Work on dorsiflexion (lifting the toes up off the ground) strength – here’s a post with an idea on how to do this
- Target practice – easy to get hands around and also they tend to stay put once they land rather than rolling off so great for throwing at targets such as hula hoops or spots
- Good for squatting to pick up or going on toes to reach up
- Can be used on a physioball for reaching to work on balance and moving outside base of support/trunk strength and then throwing at a target
This is just the start to our list for this year, check back for the rest! We’d also love to hear your favorite toys so we can incorporate them as well!