When people come over to our house for the first time, they are usually a little surprised. Our family room looks like a crazy Romper Room, filled with swings, (including a net swing, pogo stick swing, and tire swings), and the kids’ favorites: the trapeze, balls, and a mini trampoline. My family owns many, many pieces of therapy equipment. Since our children’s occupational therapist is three hours away, she sets up a program for us and we come home and try to replicate all the exercises. This has necessitated that we purchase much in the way of therapy equipment.
We also have many pieces of smaller, less expensive equipment, and of these, I would have to say our scooter boards are the favorites, hands down.
Scooter board are relatively inexpensive, typically under $35, and they are easily stored and transported. Plus, they offer all kinds of therapeutic benefits. Scooter boards are great for building kids’ core muscles, they provide good vestibular and proprioceptive input, and they are really, really fun.
There are so many fun activities you can do with scooter boards. Here are some of my kids’ favorite games:
- Races. We have three scooter boards and often have races in the kitchen (where there is no carpeting and plenty of space). The kids often race each other for some imaginary prize, but they like it the best when one of us parents join in the fun.
- Ski Run. The kids use toilet plungers—ones that we bought exclusively for therapy—like ski poles to pull themselves around the floor while they sit cross-legged on the scooter boards. This is much more difficult than it sounds. We sometimes have them scoot to one side of the room, pick up an object and bring it back, all while “skiing” with the plungers.
- Bungee Scooting. We hook bungee cords on our kitchen cabinet handles on either side of the room. You could also install hooks on the walls that you could attach the cords to. The kids pull on the bungee cord while they are sitting on the scooter board so that when they let go, they will go racing across the room. They can do this activity while sitting or while lying on their stomachs. Either way, it is a great core strengthener.
- Tower Crash. Have your child sit on his bottom and use his feet to push the scooter board. When they get to the end of the room, take a big cardboard block or a ball and put it between his legs and then scoot to the other side of the room. Take the blocks and stack them up and after several times, the child can then fly into the tower of blocks, knocking them over.
- Scooting. Have your child use the scooter board to get around from one place to another or one station in an obstacle course to another. Kids can sit on the scooter and use their feet to propel them, or they can lie on their stomachs and use their hands to scoot. Regardless, it’s a fun way to get around!
Note: Many of these ideas came from Occupational Therapist Linda Kramer of Children’s Therapy Services.