OTs use lots of different toys, tools and resources in therapy sessions chosen specifically to meet the needs and interests of each child. But some resources are very diverse, which we love using with most kids, and the kids love them too! So, we thought we would share our top 3 clinic resources with you, some of which you may not have heard of before.
My Nook Modular Play Sofa
The My Nook is a modular play sofa made with ten individual pieces of different sizes. Designed and created by a family in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, these cushions have become one of our go-to clinic resources! With so many different ways to use it, imaginations can run wild. Kids can create different builds from pre-designed pictures (for example, a racing car, house, space pod, prison etc.) or their imagination. Here are just some of the key skills that can be targeted using the My Nook cushions:
- Gross Motor Skills – picking up and moving around the cushions are great for building whole-body strength and coordination. Children can also use the cushions to create obstacle courses!
- Executive Functioning – figuring out how to build designs from pictures is a great exercise to work on our planning, sequencing and problem-solving!
- Pretend Play – once we have made our builds, we love using them for pretend play! Kids love jumping into their racing car and pretending to go on a drive or doing role play in their house.
- Social Skills – Working together with a peer to build a design is great to work on teamwork, communication and negotiation skills.
- Visual Processing – Kids need to use their visual processing skills to ensure that their builds look the same as the pictures!
For more information, visit their website.
Sensory bins are essentially large containers filled with different materials and objects selected to stimulate the senses. Sensory bins are incredibly customisable and can be made to include whatever sensory experiences are most beneficial for our children. For example, you could use dried chickpeas, raw rice, sand, water, jelly, coloured pom poms – the options are endless! Many OTs know of and use sensory bins in therapy, but you may not know all the different ways we can use them! Not only can we target sensory processing needs, but we also work on all these skills below:
- Regulation – by meeting your child’s sensory needs, sensory bins can be used as a calming tool when your child feels dysregulated.
- Visual Processing – hide things inside the sensory bin can be a great visual processing activity. Add lots of different colours and shapes to make it an extra challenge!
- Prewriting and Handwriting – Adding wooden/foam letters and numbers inside the bin can be a great way to work on school readiness skills. Children can also use them to make handwriting more enjoyable and exciting! For younger kids, hide different shapes inside to work on shape recognition!
- Pretend Play – Putting toys such as cars, pretend food items, animals etc. can be a great way to turn your sensory bin into an imaginative play activity
- Fine Motor Skills – Sensory bins can add lots of excitement to building fine motor skills. Scooping, stirring, pouring using different tools such as spoons, tongs, cups etc., are just some suggestions!
The My Burrow is a sensory tool that is a combination of a weighted blanket, lycra tunnel and body sock. Made of a stretchy fabric with tough Velcro to stick to the floor, kids can crawl underneath the burrow to find their own ‘stretchy safe place’. Although it is designed as a sensory tool, we have seen some creative ways to use it in our sessions to target multiple skills:
- Gross Motor – crawling on all fours and commando crawls underneath the My Burrow are great for building strength, coordination and core stability.
- Regulation – Doing some heavy work with the My Burrow at the start of a session or as a movement break can help kids to maintain their attention and keep their bodies regulated
- Pretend Play – Hiding play items such as animals and pretend food under the My Burrow is a great way to incorporate pretend play into sessions. We hide and seek games under the My Burrow for our little kids or use cause and effect toys while lying underneath.
- Fine Motor and Pre-writing – place letters and numbers underneath, and kids can crawl under the My Burrow to find letters in the name or letters from different letter families. We also love to place puzzle pieces underneath for the kids to find and then complete the puzzle.
For more information, visit their website.