Pediatric PT Toolbox!

Pediatric PT ToolboxHere are my Pediatric Physical Therapy must haves. My recommendations for toys and equipment that every Pediatric PT needs in their “toolbox”!

dyna disc1. Dyna-Disc

One of my favorite tools in the Pediatric PT toolbox is the Dyna-Disc, which can be used to work on weight shifting and dynamic balance in sitting, tall kneeling, quadruped and standing. Great sensory tool as well, offering two different tactile experiences! See the Dyna-Disc in action in our Flat Feet Treatment Ideas post.

therapy ball

2. Therapy Ball

Extremely functional tool with many uses the Therapy Ball is a must have for any Pediatric PT Toolbox! Great for tummy time, practicing transitional movements, dynamic sitting balance reactions, addressing trunk strength and postural control! Can be used with children of all ages in a myriad of ways! See the Therapy Ball in action in our Hypotonia Treatment Ideas post.

foam roller

3. Foam Roller

Functional tool to practice transitional movements, such as sitting to stand, and sitting to quadruped. Great to practice weight bearing through hands and feet in preparation for crawling. The Foam Roller is excellent for straddle sitting to engage trunk musculature while keeping upper body free to participate in table top activity! See the foam roller in action in our Sitting 101 post.

incline ramp

4. Incline Ramp

Great piece of equipment to encourage tummy time, crawling, climbing, and standing balance. Helpful for practicing early motor milestones with young children, encouraging dynamic movement. The Incline Ramp is also excellent for use in treatment of toe walking and flat feet. Check out the incline ramp in action in our Tummy Time Tricks post.

peanut ball

5. Peanut Ball

One of my favorite dynamic sitting options! The ideal Peanut Ball size option allows the child to maintain hips, knees and ankles at 90/90/90 with feet weight bearing through floor. With lower extremity aligned and activated, we can optimize trunk strength and postural control. The peanut ball is a great tool to practice tall kneeling, quadruped position, and prone propping! See more ideas for the peanut ball in action in our Sitting 101 post!

BOSU

6. BOSU Ball

Great piece of equipment for challenging standing balance, addressing balance reactions, engaging lower extremity musculature and promoting alignment. Practice squat to stand, single leg balance, step up and down using the BOSU. BOSU can provide a nice challenge to upper body weight bearing as well, addressing shoulder strength and stability. The BOSU is also a fun sitting option to challenge trunk muscles!

wedge cushion

7. Wedge Cushion

Great tool for dynamic sitting activities, promoting postural control, trunk strength and dynamic balance. I also love using the wedge cushion in standing for active range of motion of lower extremity muscles as well. There are two great options, the Original Wedge Cushion in a 14″ size and the Wedge Jr. in 10″ size. See the wedge cushion in action in our Toe Walking post.

stepping stones

8. Stepping Stones

Great for creating obstacle courses, practicing step up/step downs, working on balance and motor planning! For older children allow them to set up the Stepping Stones in the configuration of their choice to encourage active participation from the planning stage to the execution.

balance beam kit

9. Balance Beam Kit

Fun tool to build your own balance challenge. Can also use individual beams as hurdles to jump over, or stand them up to use as bowling pins to knock down. The Balance Beam Kit is great to allow each child to construct their own unique obstacle course, addressing motor planning, coordination and of course balance work! Check out our Five Fun Activities with the Balance Beam for more great activity ideas!

bucket bridge

10. Bucket Bridge

Great for navigating, addressing alignment and lower extremity strength. Can be modified to increase step length, practice stepping in and out, stepping and jumping up and down. Stack them up to promote tall kneeling, and turn them over to use as target for throwing! Check out the Bucket Bridge in our Apraxia Treatment Ideas post.

floor scooter

11. Floor Scooter

Helpful tool to use both seated and prone. Addressing overall strength, motor planning, coordination and body awareness. Connect a few scooters together to create new fun activities with or without peers. See the Floor Scooter in action in our Winter Olympic Post.

balance board

12. Balance Board

The balance board engages intrinsic foot musculature, promotes lower extremity strength, alignment and balance reactions. See the Balance Board in action in our Operation: Alignment post.

playground balls

13. Playground Balls

Perfect to promote hand eye coordination, visual tracking, bilateral coordination, throwing, catching, kicking, bouncing! This set of six colorful Playground Balls is great for setting up stations around the gym, school or home environment, each color representing a different ball challenge.

bean bags

14. Bean bags

There are so many great bean bag options! These Shape Bean Bags are a great tool for children of all ages, providing helpful sensory input, allowing child to identify colors, shapes and for our older children reading the words on each bean bag. Bean bags allow us to practice hand eye coordination, object manipulation and grading of force and movement in throwing skills. We also love the Sport Time animal bean bags as seen here.

bubbles

15. Bubbles

A wonderful motivator for children who are practicing sitting, standing, crawling, and transitioning between movements. Bubbles engage the child’s visual system as they reach for the moving bubbles they begin to shift their weight, activating postural control, incorporating hand eye coordination and keeping a smile on everyone’s face! See bubbles in action in our Encourage Independent Walking post!

tactile footprints

16. Tactile Footprints

Offering visual and tactile cues for foot placement to incorporate in many activities, addressing alignment, motor planning, body awareness and promoting activation of the muscles needed to maintain stable base of support! Check out the Tactile Footprints in action in our Toe Walking Treatment Ideas post. A must have for the Pediatric PT Toolbox!

spot markers

17. Spot Markers

One of my favorite pieces of portable equipment in the Pediatric PT Toolbox. The Spot Markers provide great visual cues for alignment work, promoting jumping across distance, marker for a stop and start point, or for use in color matching activities! Check out the Spot Markers in action in our Five Fun Activities with Colored Spot post!

pop tools

18. Pop Toobs

Excellent tool for bilateral manipulation, dexterity and upper extremity strength. Great to practice pulling open and pushing together, engaging both hands in a functional activity. I also love using the Pop Toobs as hurdles to step or jump over and negative space footprints. Check out the Pop Toobs in action in our Operation: Alignment post.

balloons

19. Balloons

Wonderful tool to address hand eye coordination, visual tracking, grading of force and practice with throwing and catching skills.

yoga for kids

20. Yoga Kit 

Yoga is a great tool for the Pediatric PT toolbox to address strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, motor planning and body awareness. The Yoga for Kids Kit allows the therapist, parent, teacher or caregiver to customize each yoga pose to the child’s needs. Learn more about the custom Yoga Kit in our Yoga for Kids post here.

Finally the most important tools cannot be purchased or fabricated. Enthusiasm, positivity and encouragement! A smile and a cheer can go a long way towards motivating a child to maintain focus, feel comfortable and confident and ultimately achieve success both in and out of PT treatment sessions.

I hope you have found this post to be helpful, whether you are new to the field of Pediatric PT or a seasoned veteran. I would love to hear, what is in your Pediatric PT Toolbox?

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