Last week I had the opportunity to guest post over at OT Cafe, where I wrote about one item I like to keep in my therapy bag: ping pong balls!
School-based occupational therapists often have to cart around therapy materials from school to school, so it’s important to have access to versatile, lightweight materials that can be used to work on a variety of skills. That’s why I love keeping ping pong balls in my therapy bag!
I have used ping pong balls with students from Kindergarten all the way to sixth grade to work on fine motor, visual motor, oculomotor, and attention/regulation skills.
Here are three examples of how you can use ping pong balls in OT treatment:
1. Have the child hold the ping pong ball with their thumb and index finger while making an “O” shape. Then have them maintain that “O” position as they pinch their fingertips together to make the ping pong ball go flying! This is excellent strengthening practice for kids with decreased strength in the thumb and/or web space between the thumb and index finger and can be really difficult at first. Once the student is able to maintain the “O” shape while pinching and launching the ping pong ball, then they can start trying to aim as they pinch the ball so it either drops or bounces into a small bowl (which is another supply I keep with me in my therapy bag). Have a contest with your student to see how many balls you can get into the bowl…it’s actually pretty tricky!
Learn the other two ways I use ping pong balls in OT sessions by clicking HERE!