Suckers are a multi-functional and multi-purposeful toy for kids of all ages. As an Occupational therapist, suckers have been an integral part of my therapy and intervention for many years now. My job as an OT, is to promote creativeness and imagination, to promote important everyday functional skills to enable children to become more independent and reach their potential.
What I like most about Suckers is the many ways they can be used and the huge amount of skills they promote. The Suckers have a silicone cup which can be used to connect to other Suckers or they can stick to a variety of surfaces without leaving a trace e.g. window, mirror, fridge, bath, erase/white boards, tables etc.
When Suckers are pulled off they make a satisfying 'POP' noise which often aids satisfaction and motivation keeping the child engaged.
These toys firstly promote a range of fine motor skills. They promote fine motor strengthening (hand and upper body) and promote grasp strength and coordination.
Suckers also promote visual motor coordination, which involves fine motor control and visual perception, allowing us to use our hands and eyes in a coordinated manner to perform tasks such as dressing, handwriting, forming letters/shapes etc.
Suckers when used on a vertical surface also promote crossing the midline, reinforce bilateral coordination, core strength and balance.
These toys are also a fantastic sensory tool. The pulling of the Suckers can be classed as a 'heavy work activity', so promote proprioceptive input which helps to regulate the body. The texture and feel of the Suckers also promotes tactile input, the various colours promotes visual input and the pop noise promotes auditory input.
The Suckers can be implemented as part of a calming technique when a child becomes anxious or overwhelmed as they provide calming, regulating input. In addition, they can be used as a fidget toy to aid attention and concentration.
Here are some activities that can be incorporated into your childs routine:
Stick Suckers to a mirror, while working on a vertical surface you are promoting upper body strength, it also helps to improve control, wrist, shoulder and elbow stability. You can encourage a child to cross the midline by putting Suckers on the opposite side of the body to the hand they are using.
Stick Suckers to a Bosu ball or an unstable surface. This activity works on balance but also problem solving and motor planning. Give the child instructions to follow to promote sequencing skills e.g. pull a green, then red, then yellow and so on.
During bath time, stick Suckers to the bath side or the floor of the bath!
Letter or shape formation, see what letters or shapes can be made from Suckers.
Stick Suckers to a therapy or exercise ball and encourage the child to pull off the Suckers while keeping their balance on the ball. Child sits in the middle of the ball and pulls Suckers from either side. You can incorporate crossing the midline in this activity also.
Grasp promotion. Encourage a child to use their middle, index and thumb to pull the Suckers from a surface. This is promoting the strength in the fingers used for handwriting thus improving grasp strength.
Buy Suckers from www.sensorylivingshop.com