7 Top Christmas Gift Ideas!

Where did the year go? It’s almost Christmas already! As we begin to see the decorations and sales going on all around us, I thought I would showcase some great therapy tools I have found to be very useful for the children that I see. As parents of children with special needs will know, most therapy equipment cost an arm and a leg. So in this article, my focus is on sharing the simple therapy equipment that are affordable and really valuable to helping your child achieve their gross and fine motor skills, while having fun at the same time!

Gross Motor Activities

1. Gym roll or Gym ball
I love the simple Gym roll or Gym ball because its great for building core strength and trunk stability, as well head and neck control. We can start using it for babies up to adulthood. The bigger the child, the bigger the gym ball we would use. Find them in Target, Kmart and fitness/sports shops.

2. Balance Boards/Wobble Boards
The simple balance board or wobble board is great for advanced standing balance activities as it encourages ankle proprioception for balance. Again we can use it for toddlers up to adulthood. Find them in Target, Kmart and fitness/sports shops.

3. Mini Trampolines
Mini trampolines are great for the advanced balance activities such as jumping and one-legged stance. Always ensure that the trampoline is used with adult supervision during the activity. We can use them for toddlers up to adulthood. You can get ones with a handle bar to hold onto or the round ones that have no handles. Find them at Toys r us or fitness shops.

4. Tent and Tunnels
Tents and tunnels to crawl into are great for building shoulder and pelvic girdle strength. The coordination needed to crawl helps in the learning to walk later on and the shoulder stability and strength from crawling is important for fine motor activities like writing later on. We can use them for babies to school age children. Find them at www.ikea.com

Fine Motor Activities

5. EazyHold Straps
I recently came across these great straps, which provide the simple solution for children who have difficulty with using their hands or are hypersensitive to their hands being touched. These straps go onto toothbrushes, toys, cups and musical instruments to provide a handle for little hands to go onto, so they can grasp and hold onto the objects. Find it online at www.childrensdisabilityproducts.com.au

6. Scooter boards
The simple scooter board is great for lying on and “paddling” with your arms to get strong shoulder and upper arm strength, which are important for the fine motor coordination needed for writing and fine motor activities. We can use it for school age children and great for peer/sibling group activities. Find them on www.hartsport.com.au

7. Wacky Balls
Finally, I have to throw in this great homemade idea. This is a great way to create homemade therapeutic balls out of balloons and various materials like playdoh, rice, beads etc. You will need balloons, and two persons to do this. One person holds and stretches the mouth of the balloon, while the other person stuffs playdoh into it to create a firm ball that is moldable and tactile fun for strengthening the intrinsic muscles of the hand. You can fill small plastic bags with rice and then stuff the rice bags into the balloon. Or use gel beads to fill the balloons. Make a pair of matching wacky balls, so your child can feel for the matching ball through touch.

I hope that you have found these gift ideas helpful. If you are thinking about what other types of equipment or resources you would like to get for your child, and would like some help or information on how to use these equipment, please contact our Paediatric Physiotherapist on 9557 8521 today.