Improve hand skills with rubber bands!

Doriet Bialer, OTD, MA, OTR has developed a number of hand splint designs using only rubber bands and surgical tape. These splints are quick, temporary, inexpensive and easy to do "on the fly".

Her new manual, "Functional Hand Splints: An Easy DIY" demonstrates step-by-step how to 'twist and turn' a rubber band to improve various grasp patterns, even a dynamic tripod grasp for handwriting.  Imagine, walking into a classroom, with just rubber bands and tape, and immediately being able to influence a students skills!

Available as a set with manual and enough materials to get you started, manual only (you have to gather materials) or materials only (refills).

Visual Tracking Activities with Touchable Bubbles

YES! A bubble that doesn't always break when you touch it or when it lands on a surface. Players can REALLY VISUALLY TRACK the bubble then use coordination skills to catch it. Can you make a snowman or catch 5 on a paper? MORE INFO HERE...

Some things to try:
- Catch a bubble on each finger
- Make a snowman
- How many bubbles can you stack on top of each other?
- Make several dots on a sheet of paper. Then try to catch a bubble on each dot.
- Called out different body parts to catch a bubble on (elbow, thumb, back of hand....)
- Complete a simple path while holding a bubble.

Buying info: Here

Pustefix Bubble Bear - The original premium bubbles with pop-up wand!

This bear, with the chubby tummy, was the first bubble container with a pop-up wand. Gently squeeze his belly to make the wand appear. Unlike cheap knock-offs, this cutey has a semi-closed inner top that the wand emerges from reducing spills & mess. It also contains PREMIUM bubble juice that produces more consistent bubbles per blow. Nothing is more frustrating than huffing & puffing repeatedly only to get one lone bubble! We even offer bubble juice refills! More info HERE...

Bubble cups: Oral motor- Respiration, Lip Closure, Blowing without fear!

Bubble cups: a favorite by staff & child

What's a bubble cup? Take a sturdy cup and make a hole slightly below the upper rim. (The lower on the cup wall the more "huffing & puffing" will be required). Next cut a square (double layered) from a handi-wipe it needs to be about 2" larger than the cup's rim. Secure it over the cup top with a rubber band. Place a straw in the hole you made. Now turn the cup upside down and dunk the handi-wipe top into a bowl of very soapy water.  (Avoid getting water into the straw or hole). Players blow through the straw creating long piles of bubbles on top. Since there is no bubble juice actually in the cup, there is no fear of a mouthful of yuck!  (Most children learn very quickly to coordinate suck vs blow with this motivating

touch bubbles by
Touchable Bubbles 

YES!  TOUCH, CATCH, STACK... Finally a bubble that doesn't allows break when you touch it or when it lands on a surface. Players can REALLY VISUALLY TRACK the bubble then use coordination skills to catch it. Can you make a snowman or catch 5 on a paper? MORE INFO HERE...

Activities that address: Suck, Breathe, Swallow - Talk, Listen, Process

Cup & Scoop in the classroom improves hand skills

Cupping or Scooping can easily be incorporated into daily tasks in and out of the classroom.

Barrier Games develop organization, direction following & giving

Imaginetics: played as a barrier game. Lay the game flat and place a file folder or other stiff material upright in the middle creating 2 sides. Before beginning place stickers on the edges of the playing board or draw designs on paper placed by each edge. They must be the same on each side of the divide, but 4 different designs. These will be used as navigational tools. (ie- place a large purple circle in the corner between the daisy-side and the happy face side). Player 1 makes a simple design, then verbally directs player 2 to re-create it on the other side of the barrier without watching what is done. All done- remove the barrier to see how they did. 

Directions: Giving & Following in a Cooperative Game

Robot-Programmer Game:
There are 3 levels of play, but set-up is the same for each. Create, at least 6 locations and place matching treasures at each so you can tell that teams have been at each location. (Maybe #1 has all bean bags/#2 all plastic eggs/#3 wood blocks/#4 paper balls/#5 pencils/ #6 plastic cups etc). You need 1 more location than there are teams. Players work in teams of 2 or 3. Player 1 is the robot, who can only follow orders given and the others are programmers in charge of the code/directions. Have each team sit on a rug square or other floor marker as their "home". Place chairs and other obstacles throughout the play area. Programmers must navigate their Robots to a location, collect a treasure and return it home, before navigating to another treasure.
  •  Robots can only walk in a straight line.
  • Turns can only be right or left. So to turn completely around 2 commands are needed.
  • Turns commands do not include any steps forward.
  • "Pick up a treasure" or "Put down treasure" needs to be a command.
  • The number of steps to be taken can be given in 1 command (Forward 3 steps) 
  • Robots STOP when they are about to bump into an object or another robot.
Basic Version: Programmers follow their robot and give commands verbally as they go.
Standard Version: Programmers draw arrows & numbers on small pieces of paper that the robot follows. Several papers may be given at once, but they must be followed in the order presented.
Advanced Version: Programmers draw arrows & numbers on a single paper. The robot follows the directions; must start again if changes are needed to the program, which can be made on the same paper as needed.

Designed by you...

We currently carry over 35 products developed by working therapists, teachers and parents, and over the years there have been many, many more.  Typically, makers of products are looking for the next big thing, the next yo-yo or fidget spinner.  Although that would be great, here at PFOT, we are OT's ourselves. We know how the smallest item may have a huge impact and value to the right client. So big or small - all ideas are taken very seriously. 

Here is a best seller:

Rona's Design Copy: 
Rona's design copy
Rona is a therapist at a school for very high functioning students with learning disabilities. As a result, this is not your usual design copying book. It is divided into sections from the very basic to expert or black diamond level. There are 75 designs. Some copied right next to the original design, some on a separate sheet of paper, some with the full grid. some without. There's a level for each of your clients to work on.

Pizza Delivery A Group Activity

"Pizza Delivery!"

This is a modified version of the competitive "Save the Pizza" game. Now team members work together to complete an obstacle course without dropping their pizza box. Obstacles can include stepping over & around "boulders"  (objects);  Crawling under or through "tunnels" (tables/desks); Carefully crossing a "highway with speeding traffic" (large balls rolled toward them); "Jumping over a river of snakes" (a wiggling jump rope). How many pizza's can your team deliver before time is up?

Parent Permission for Weighted/Compression use

Here is a Parent Permission Form that you may download and use prior to initiating the use of or trial of any weighted-compression item. Please edit, add letterhead & complete prior to sending home with a client. Share with others!

Find permission slip here!

Group Juggling

Group Toss/Juggle:

(In this game let's practice: throwing -catch -memory -attending) Make groups of about 5 players. Review everyone's name if needed. Give each group the same 4 objects (maybe a bean bag, playground ball, a soft hat or cap, shoe/pillow/stuffed brown bag) and decide who will go first in each group. This player chooses an object, says a players name and tosses the object to them. They catch it, say a third players name and tosses it to them. Play continues this way until the object is back at the first one. Remind groups to remember the order of players. Begin again with the same object, following the same order of players!  When it has been tossed to the 3rd player, begin tossing the next object. How many objects can the group keep going at once? 

Activity Idea for Group or pairs

Quicksand Partners:  In a large space, mark off a play boundary. Then fill the space with various size hoops, shapes or ropes laid in circles of varying diameters. Play in teams of 2 - hiker and a rescuer. The hikers must start on any side of the play area and jump over the hoops, shapes and ropes to get to the other side. If they land in one of the shapes/hoops, they are stuck in quicksand and can not move until they catch a bean bag tossed to them by their rescuer, who is anywhere outside of the play area. You decide how many tries - bean bags can be used each time to get "unstuck". (A variation for older students, may be that they only get 5 tries for the whole course. For some, place a black paper /"rock" in the middle of a wide diameter that may be too large to clearly jump over.) 

Mountain Breathing:  A great strategy to encourage a breathing break when upset, stressed or escalating. Demonstrate then ask the child to do this by themselves. Spread out the fingers on 1 hand. Use the other index finger to trace the outside of the thumb as you:  "Let's Climb the mountain-Inhale slowly (1,2), slide up the mountain to the top  - STOP (hold breathe) to see the view 3,4;   then (exhale slowly) slide down  5, 6";  Repeat on all fingers.


Indoor recess activity ideas

Brrr- Baby it's cold out there!  Only a snowman is happy in the cold weather that is overtaking much of the US right now. So what to do when kids can't go outside after lunch? Here's some ideas to spark your creativity.

PickUp Sticks   (Ask parents to save and collect unused chopsticks- put colored tape on tips or decorate with markers)

Rug Square or Construction Paper Hopscotch Game
Gets students up & moving - which is a very good thing!
Pipe Cleaner Fun:  Make letters, shapes, animals, etc.
 then straighten out and use again!
Here is a link to our pipe cleaner special:  PIPE CLEANER SPECIAL
Block Design Copy: There are many games that provide both the blocks & design cards to copy. But if you're looking to DIY- start with any block you have on hand. Be sure each player has the same blocks. 1 designs then others copy. 

Marble & Boink - The Quiet Fidget

  • Boinks have been around in some form for over 30 years.
  • The newest creations are with marbles sewn in for quiet fidgeting. 
  • Use steady, calming, repetitive movements to slide the marble back and forth, back and forth... 
  • Comes with or without a clip. 
  • Clips easily & quickly to attach to book-bags, belt loops, purse handles, etc
  • Even clips to wheelchairs so seniors can keep idle fingers busy.
Available individually or in sets.

Quick Scissor Fixes

Scissors a bit dull or hard to open? 
Try these quick and easy steps before buying new ones.

Cut through several layers of aluminum foil folded tightly to sharpen the blades.*

Cut through sandpaper to sharpen (This will also diminish ruts and dings in the blades)*

Use a screwdriver to just slightly loosen the screw that holds the blades together.*

No screw or screwdriver? Try this old tailors trick: Open the scissor wide and carefully run the blades and intersection flat against your hair. The oils from your hair may help slightly lubricate the scissor just enough to get through your project.*

*Remember to wipe the scissor blades and handles before using again.

Have another tip? Please share it!