In the beginning days when we first began incorporating therapy at home I wasted so much money on flash toys and therapy gadgets. I wanted so badly to make therapy fun for my daughter, Willow, and figured that this was my best option. While they worked to an extent it doesn’t take long for the novelty to wear off. The new flash toy is no longer what they see; it is now seen as a piece of therapy equipment.
Therapy is hard and frustrating, so the appeal has well and truly gone. Time to think outside the box, get creative and use things that are affordable and assessable for everyday use.
Here are a list of items that we constantly use over and over again for different skills and activities for therapy.
This is one of my favourite categories to use things from. Children love to think they are using something that they usually don’t get to play with. Items like flour, rice and shaving crème are great examples of ideas to use for sensory play. Pegs and cotton balls can work on fine motor, jugs, spoons and water have endless opportunities for water play……
- cookie cutters
- rice, grains and pasta
- cotton balls
- food colouring
- laundry basket
- plastic food containers
- food colouring
- measuring spoons and jug
- outdoor natural materials (sand/dirt/leaves)
- shaving crème
- aluminum foil
- zip lock bags
Gone are the days where an egg carton was just an egg carton, I often incorporate them into therapy. Using fine motor skills to fill them or setting them up with sensory materials for some creative and dramatic play.
My husband will often make sure that he asks if I need any of the items below for therapy before throwing them out. I really enjoy using these sort of items for two main reasons; they get one more use before they are recycled and because you don’t need to worry if they get dirtied or broken as you were getting rid of them anyway.
17. egg cartons
18. milk cartons
19. empty boxes eg cereal boxes
20. lids of baby wipes
21. bubble wrap
22. foam from packaging
23. paper towel and wrapping paper rolls
24. shoe boxes
25. lids from pasta jars, juices, squeezy yogurts
26. empty herb jars
Cheap craft materials
One of my favourite things to do it visit the cheap dollar stores as they are FULL of never ending ideas on items that can be easily incorporated into therapy. More often then not these items can also be used over and over again and are SO cost effective. Stacking paper cups to knock down to encourage crawling, elastic bands on paper cups to encourage two handed play, painting on butcher’s paper against a wall for some standing practice, stickers on dining chairs to encourage side stepping and cruising along furniture.
27. pipe cleaners
28. sticky tape (coloured and clear)
29. paint (can make homemade)
31. butchers paper
35. crepe paper
36. playdoh (can make homemade)
37. a variety of different sized balls
38. paper cups and plates
39. elastic bands
I can honestly say I have used each and every one of the items on the list at least 10 times each. For both constraint and bimanual therapy and for physio activities to work on a heap of different skills such as rolling, crawling, standing, side stepping, sit to stand and much more. It is so much more satisfying coming up with something unique and creative and it also allows you the freedom to develop a larger variety of activities. This way therapy is in no way repetitive and boring and it is such a cheap, convenient and quick way to implement into your home therapy program.