Balloon Bop Benefits
Thursday, January 10th, 2013
“Balloon Bop” is a fun gamwe often play at POTS. It involves using a balloon, and hitting (or bopping) it to keep it from dropping to the ground. Not only is it an enjoyable game, but it can be used to address a number of therapeutic objectives.
Eye-hand coordination: In general, using a balloon is an excellent way to work on eye-hand coordination because it moves much more slowly than a ball, and allows for additional time to visually track it and prepare to hit it.
Right/left discrimination: Balloon Pop is a great game for learning or reinforcing right versus left. Begin by having your child bop the balloon back to you by alternating hands (right, left, right, left). Next, call out which hand your child should use to bop the balloon. Keep your child on his/her toes by using an irregular pattern so that he/she cannot predict what you will say. If your child benefits from proprioceptive input, play the same game with a light beach ball or a heavier 7-9 inch rubber ball.
Body awareness: Once your child has gotten the hang of the game, call out a body part with which he/should bop the balloon back to you, such as an elbow, knee, shoulder, or foot. You can facilitate right/left discrimination and body awareness together by giving instruction such as, “bop the balloon with your right elbow.”
Balance: Challenge your child’s balance by having him/her stand on an unstable surface, such as a BOSU while bopping the balloon, which will require him/her to make dynamic postural adjustments. To begin, bop the balloon directly to your child. Once this has been mastered, challenge him/her to reach out of his/her base of support (further away from where he/she is standing) in order to make contact with the balloon by bopping it just short of your child or to either side.
Blog written by: Aviva Goldwasser, MS, OTR/L & Chaye Lamm Warburg, DPS, Director of POTS