Pediatric PT Toolbox

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

1. Dyna-Disc

The Dyna-Disc 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 Five Fun Activities with the Dyna Disc!2. Therapy Ball

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.

3. Foam Roller

The Foam Roller is a fantastic tool to practice transitional movements, such as sit to quadruped and sit to stand. We can target weight bearing through hands and feet in preparation for crawling. The Foam Roller is also excellent for straddle sitting to engage trunk musculature while keeping upper body free to participate in table top activity. See more uses of foam roller in action in our Foam Roller Appreciation post!

4. Incline Ramp

The Incline Ramp is a 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.

5. Peanut Ball

The Peanut Ball is a wonderful dynamic sitting option! 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 also a great tool to practice tall kneeling, quadruped position, and prone propping! See more ideas for the peanut ball in action in our Five Fun Activities with the Peanut Ball!6. BOSU Ball

The BOSU is a 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. The BOSU can provide a fun challenge for upper body weight bearing as well, addressing shoulder strength and stability. 

7. Wedge Cushion

The Wedge Cushion is ideal 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 15″ size and the Wedge Jr. in 10″ size. See the wedge cushion in action in our Toe Walking post.

8. Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones can be used to create obstacle courses, practice step up/step downs, work 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.

9. Balance Beam Kit

The Balance Beam Kit is a hands on tool, allowing each child to construct their own unique obstacle course, addressing motor planning, coordination and of course balance work! 

10. Bucket Bridge

The Bucket Bridge allows us to target motor planning, obstacle navigation, address 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! 

11. Floor Scooter

The Floor Scooter is a tool to use both seated and prone. In each position we can target overall strength, motor planning, coordination and body awareness. Connect a few scooters together to create new fun activities with or without peers. 

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 Toe Walking Treatment post.

13. Playground Balls

Playground Balls with just the right amount of bounce allow for hours of fun! Use them to promote hand eye coordination, visual tracking, bilateral coordination, throwing, catching, kicking, bouncing skills. 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.

14. Bean Bags

Shape Bean Bags are a helpful tool for children of all ages, providing 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 Sportime Animal Bean Bags as seen here.

15. Bubbles

Bubbles are 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!

16. Tactile Footprints

Tactile Footprints offer both 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!

17. Spot Markers

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!

18. Pop Toobs

Pop Toobs are an 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. 

19. Balloons

Balloons are a wonderful tool to address hand eye coordination, visual tracking, grading of force and practice with throwing and catching skills. We can target reaction time and reflexes too!

yoga for kids

20. Yoga Kit 

Yoga is a great addition to 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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