Today, we’re sharing some fun ways to play with one of our favorite therapy toys…The Zoom Ball!
A therapist’s bag is a magical thing. Kids can’t help themselves from digging through our treasures, knowing that we have all of the best toys and supplies!
Physical Therapists love the big stuff — we always have the BEST balls, stepping stones, large dice, and scooters. Last week, I asked the kids I see in therapy to pick their favorite toy out of my therapy bag as their “treat” at the end of the session. By far, the most commonly chosen item was the Zoom Ball!
Kids see it as a football that zooms through the air on two strings – a fun and fast game.
As a PT, I see it as a prop for encouraging tons of developmental skills like balance, bilateral coordination, hand-eye coordination, and strength.
5 Fun Ways to Play with the Zoom Ball
1 || Back and Forth — this is the way this toy was intended to be used. Two people stand far enough apart to make the strings of the toy tight and zoom it back and forth between each other.
We like to see how many times we can play before we “mess up”. It usually takes a bit of time for a child to get her body coordinated enough to make that little ball move but, once she does, look out! The trick? Keep the body upright and move your hands out to the side smoothly without pulling back. Bilateral coordination (using both sides of the body at the same time) — Check!
2 || Kneel Down — No matter how you play with the Zoom Ball you’ll activate the core muscles. But when you take away some of the stability that is available when standing on two feet, those core muscles kick into high gear. Try kneeling on both knees or half kneeling with one knee forward (a lunge position).
3 || Standing on One Foot — When a child gets “bored” with the game and/or says it is “too easy” I chuckle a bit because I know I have more tricks up my sleeve to increase the challenge! Try playing while standing on one foot!! It’s harder than it looks!
4 || Use a Foam Pad — Once again, we are upping the balance challenge! Have your child stand on a foam pad to play the game. If both feet on the wobbly surface is too challenging, first try one foot on the foam pad with the other foot on solid ground.
5 || Vary the arm movements — After a child can smoothly move the Zoom Ball back and forth by moving their arms out to their sides, I have them try to move their arms up and down (like an alligator chomping). This just makes them think a bit harder about their movements and adds a major bilateral coordination challenge.
Do you use the Zoom Ball with your kids? What are your favorite ways to play? We’d love to hear! Leave us a comment below!
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