I LOVE TO CREATE AND BE CREATIVE
I'm an occupational therapist. I make adaptive equipment, therapeutic toys, and splints to help people function independently.
In order for me to function in everyday life, I need to make things. I dabble in drawing, fabric printing, felting, painting, paper crafts and mixed media art.
This is a therapeutic toy I made. I work with a lot of kids who have poor motor control and difficulty interacting with toys. We have a few toys in the clinic that are simple to activate. They are great for facilitating reach and active range of motion in a variety of positions. Parents always ask me where they can buy them, but unfortunately, many of them are discontinued. I wanted to make something that could be easily replicated.
I used PVC pipe for the frame. I wanted to dye the frame, but that endeavor didn’t work as well as I’d hoped (I’ll try again soon). I found a clear ball that twists together at the Party store. It works well, in that the lights can easily be replaced or you could add anything you like. I used a Dremel to make a hole on each side of the ball. Then I took LED light up balls and cut out the light. I put those and some bells inside, and voila, you have a simple, light-up, auditory toy that can be easily activated.
I brought it to work, and it surpassed my expectations. It was adorable to watch a little girl’s face light up when she realized she could make the lights turn on. It worked well for a little boy with a brachial plexus injury who unknowingly was practicing external rotation. A mother of an older girl with limited motor control was very excited to make one because most toys that her daughter could activate were “baby” toys and this looked more age appropriate.
I continue to tweak it and rework it. Because the PVC pipe and the ball are so easily changed, the possibilities and add-ons are endless.
***Disclaimer: flashing lights should not be used with persons who have photosensitive epilepsy.
This is not my design, but it’s a favorite of mine when working with babies. I used Aquaplast and formed it around a thin dowel with the edges extremely close, but not touching. Once the Aquaplast has set in form, but is not hardened entirely, I removed the dowel. I then cut beads into strips and slid the top bead of each strip through the space between the edges of the Aquaplast. Then to keep the beads from falling out and to give it a clean finish, I heated the sides up and used curved scissors to create a smooth edge.