As a working mom, the time I get to spend with Abe aka DinoPT baby is extremely precious. With a treasure trove of toys and activities from my work on the job, Abe has been my guinea pig on more than one occasion. This is truly a win-win for us all. Abe helps me try out new equipment and games, like our inaugural Activity of the Week, Suction Ball! This allows me to pass on my knowledge to the families I work with, and we get to have fun together! This makes me a better parent and a better Pediatric Physical Therapist.
Our “DinoPT Activity of the Week” is for parents, caregivers, educators and Pediatric therapists alike to encourage active play and facilitate learning through play!
What you need:
- Suction Balls, or for even more excitement Light-Up Suction Balls!
- Vertical Mirror, Glass surface or White Board for balls to attach
- Optional: Dyna-disc or pillow for balance challenge
The basics of the activity begin with placing or throwing the suction balls on the vertical mirror surface. You can also do this on a glass door or window, on a white board, or any other slick surface that the balls can adhere. We are beginning to teach Abe colors so I ask him to get the blue ball, he uses one hand to retrieve the ball (pulling with some force), while the other hand stabilizes himself at the vertical surface. He is using both fine and gross motor control, raising himself on his tiptoes to reach the higher balls and squatting low to retrieve the balls placed strategically lower.
You can have the child throw the balls back to you, practicing object manipulation skills (under vs overhand throwing), roll them back, or place them in a basket or other receptacle to begin the game anew!
Abe reaches overhead, rising up on his tiptoes to retrieve balls. He stabilizes with one hand on vertical surface, while his other hand applies force to pull suction ball off vertical mirror.
Abe squats down low to retrieve balls, great for strengthening and stretching his lower extremity musculature. Abe throws suction ball back working on overhand throwing pattern, hand eye coordination and graded force.
Use dyna disc or pillow for added strength and balance challenge!
- Body awareness
- Object manipulation
- Hand-eye coordination
- Reaching overhead/squatting to increase lower extremity strength/range of motion
Increase Challenge by:
- Using dry erase markers on mirror to draw target for child to throw suction ball towards.
- After child retrieves suction ball encourage use of color recognition to match suction balls to colored spots on floor.
- Keeping track of the suction balls by counting, using tally marks on white board or chalkboard.
- Using Dyna-Disc to challenge balance and strength.
For more fun Activities, check out our Soccer Bowling post!
Learn more about Dinosaur Physical Therapy!