Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Make- It- Yourself Zoomball

"Zoom Ball" also known as "Forward Pass" is a commercially available toy that involves 2 players.  Each player grasps a handle in each hand alternating opening arms apart and bringing them together. When player A moves arms apart the "ball" shoots across to player B who has hands together. Then player B moves arms apart so that the "ball" shoots across to player A (who has hands together). The players repeat as long as strength holds up and they are having fun...   This is what the commercial toys look like.....

I prefer to make my own because:
1) I can use any length cord I choose; the shorter the cord the easier to play
2) I think that the handles are much more comfortable
3) It is recycling something plastic
4) and of course, it is FREE !!!!

Materials used are:
1) nylon cord
2) 4 detergent bottle handles
3) 2 soda bottles
4) duct tape

I demonstrate how to make a zoom ball the video. You may also like to simply use what I call a "batter". After connecting the 2 soda bottles,  one player may use it to push a ball across the room or bat at a suspended ball.  The soda bottle spouts function as handles.
The boy in the photo is actually on top of a scooter board that you can't see and he pushes the ball, scoots toward it and repeats. We did this during an occupational therapy session. Two players can turn this into a back and forth push the ball game......

The bottom photo shows a close up of the cord attached to a handle. 

A few of the many therapeutic benefits of Zoom Ball: It promotes

1) visual attention, tracking, convergence and divergence
2) bilateral coordination
3) strong shoulders, neck, arms and grasp
4) sensory stimulation as played in a variety of positions
5) motor planning, rhythm
6) social skills, working with a partner, turn taking
7) endurance and persistence as player recites the alphabet  or counts to 100.
8)  exercise......

1)Play while kneeling
2) use feet instead of hands
3) face away from each other.....

Source: Make Zoom Ball for Individuals with Autism by RecyclingOT on Rumble

Monday, December 25, 2017

Make-your-Own Manipulation Snowman Toys

The possibilities are endless when cutting up plastic containers for seasonal activities. Here are a few easy to make winter snow people. They kind of remind me of  Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head because children may attach whatever accessories parents cut up.... such as a hat, broom, shoes, buttons, scarf.... The accessories may be woven on, screwed on, tied on, buttoned on and even snapped on. The photos demonstrate just a few ideas.

The scissors are rather sharp so an older person will need to do the cutting. After the initial cut, trim the pieces to be smoother. However, I have never been cut from plastic, paper-yes, never plastic. It may be rough but not sharp.

The photos and video demonstrate two types of snow man or snow woman toys... 

1) cut the large and medium sized ball and the separate smaller snowball head with extension to be woven. I have cut several of these to use at work with clients who enjoy repetitive fine motor tasks.
2) cut a stand up snow person out of a large white bottle. Decorate as desired.

Either toy provides practice to manipulate whatever you choose... perhaps buttoning, tying, buckling or screwing the hat back on.

In general, it is easier to remove fasteners than attach. So young children or those with challenges may focus on undressing their snow people, perhaps in preparation for bath time and an older child may dress them back up later.

The close up of the green buttons shows how I punched holes in the green plastic and snowman and attached the "button" with cord. Cut a variety of fabric colors with slits so that that children can change the buttons.

This really does remind me of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head....

The photo above demonstrates a snow person cut out of a large juice bottle before being dressed up. 

I  punched holes in the pink bottle top piece shown below to tie "hair" on. The screw cap holds this in place or can just function as a hat. 

Coloring and erasing with the dry erase marker is great for pre-writing practice, especially for the kiddos who resist holding writing tools. We occupational therapists like to sneak in skill training into fun games.  I also love how this activity lends itself to pretend play.   

The following video demonstrates how I made these toys..... 

Source: Plastic Manipulation Snowman by RecyclingOT on Rumble

For those of you who prefer potatoes to snow people....

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Developing Skills to Screw and Unscrew Bottle Caps

Unscrewing and screwing caps and covers onto containers not only teaches a functional skill, but develops eye-hand coordination.

It is generally easier for young children and older clients with developmental delays to first learn how to open (unscrew) and later learn how to close (screw cap on).

I cut a variety of container or bottle tops from detergent bottles, vitamin jars, dishwasher soap bottles, juice bottles etc. Some clients enjoy matching the covers to the corresponding threaded pieces. You may choose to start out using all the same size covers/caps and threaded pieces to make the task easier and then build in challenge by requiring matching.
In the first video, a young man who is blind and has autism unscrews the pieces and then inserts the  cover into the container hole and then stacks the threaded piece onto the dowel. He enjoys using his advanced matching and sorting skills.

Source: Unscrewing Bottle Caps to Insert or Stack by RecyclingOT on Rumble

After removing the covers, my client inserts them into the corresponding holes in the container. This former kitty litter bucket functions as a shape sorter after he separates the two pieces.  

Source: Matching Lids Sensory Activity by RecyclingOT on Rumble

This man enjoys pulling on the threaded bottle tops that are attached to the book stand with elastic cord. He regularly seeks out sensory stimulation by pulling on objects, including his clothing. He also enjoys using force to unscrew the covers before inserting into them a bucket.

Source: Container Lids Sensory Activity by RecyclingOT on Rumble

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Handle Jig for Holding a Magic Marker

My client has a traumatic brain injury and her hands are spastic with contractures and she is challenged to engage in any functional activities such as coloring. Her right shoulder has some active movement so I made the following jig to take advantage of the skills she does have......

I  have used handles from detergent or juice bottles to build up objects to make grasping easier. The first  video shows her using a handle with a piece of  plastic attached. I cut 2 holes in the black plastic in order to push the marker through. Unfortunately, her knuckles were rubbing against plastic while grasping the handle tightly, so I made a revised jig with the plastic cut away and covered with soft fabric and duct tape.  You will see how I made this in the first video.

The second video shows her making horizontal lines on paper. She really enjoyed doing a familiar task, actually she simply enjoyed an opportunity to use her hand, at all.....

Source: How to Make a Jig for Coloring by RecyclingOT on Rumble

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

2017 SALE



My book sells on Amazon for $35.00, but you can buy it through pay pal for only $25.00 until the end of  2017


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Adapting Handles to Increase Functional Hand Skills

I have been using handles from detergent, dishwasher soap and other types of bottles for over 20 years to make materials easier to grasp and use. The following videos demonstrates how to make it easier to perform insertion tasks, use a ring stack and sponge painting.

These ideas are described in my book THE RECYCLING OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST.

My book sells on Amazon for $35.00, but you buy it through pay pal, here for only $25.00 until the end of the year.


Source: Improving Function with Adapted handles by RecyclingOT on Rumble

Source: How to Make an Adapted Handle for Sponge Painting by RecyclingOT on Rumble

Friday, October 27, 2017

Spider and Web Fine-Motor Activity

This activity gives lots of sensory stimulation as children or older clients move the heavy ball around, tie or untie the knots and push the black fabric "spider legs" into the web.

1) I wrapped stretchy strips of fabric all over a weighted ball, tying lots of knots so that all stays in place.
2) Punch holes around the top of a container and weave cord to create the "web". Use more cord to increase challenge when pushing the "spider legs" inside.
3) Grade according to the student or client's needs by tying knots loose or tight, one knot or several on each black fabric piece "spider leg".
4) Challenge balance by performing while standing, kneeling, half kneeling or sitting on a ball.
5) I attached the web to the ball with cord so that they don't get separated.......

 Play some spooky music and Happy Holloween!

Source: Spider and Web Fine-Motor Activity by RecyclingOT on Rumble