Category Archives: Body Awareness

RAPPER SNAPPERS AKA POP TUBES in purple, red, green, and blue

Therapy Activities On A Budget: Rapper Snappers

Rapper Snappers are a multi functional therapy tool perfect for creating fun, budget friendly therapy activities! In this post, Physical Therapist and creator of the ABCs of Movement, Laurie Gombash, PT, M.Ed, shared five different ways to use Rapper Snappers (also known as Pop Tubes) as a therapeutic tool.  Be sure to check out her video below!

Demonstration of rapper snapper activity:  pulling a pink rapper snapper open

Arm Strengthening

Place hands on either end of the Rapper Snapper and pull! Work with the arms overhead to target shoulder strength or work with arms away from the body to target core strength. Target different muscles of the upper body  by pulling in different directions. Try holding the rapper snapper in one hand, at hip level, and using the other hand to pull up and across the body. Alternatively, hold the rapper snapper at shoulder level and uses the other hand to pull down and across the body.

Pro Tip, using the fingers to scrunch the Rapper Snapper back to size is great for finger strengthening!

Self Regulation

Rapper Snappers are a fun way to learn about self regulation.  Help kids visualize concepts like fast breathing or rapid heart beat by opening and closing the Rapper Snapper rapidly. Alternatively, demonstrate slow or rhythmic breathing by slowly pulling apart  or closing the rapper snapper.

Pro Tip, the sound made by the Rapper Snappers as it is opening and closing provides great auditory feedback!

Demonstration of rapper snapper activity:  squeezing a pink rapper snapper closed

Fine Motor & Motor Planning 

Looking for a fun and engaging activity? Use Rapper Snappers to make a marble run!  Bend and twist the Rapper Snapper to make a maze, drop the marble in, and let it run through.  Using two or three fingers to grasp the marble and inserting it into the Rapper Snapper’s narrow opening is a great way to get the small muscles in the hand working.  Planning a successful maze for the marble to run through takes planning abilities!

Pro Tip: This activity can be done holding the Rapper Snapper and moving the marble through or you can use Velcro or other adhesives to adhere Rapper Snappers to a wall or other vertical surface. 

Demonstration of rapper snapper activity:  blowing into a pink rapper snapper

Oral Motor

Shape the Rapper Snapper like a smile and try to imitate it with your lips, now flip it upside down to make a frown!  Purse your lips, give a big blow, stick out your tongue!  There are so many ways to use a Rapper Snapper to help build and strengthen oral musculature! 

Academic Skills

Use the Rapper Snappers to build shapes, letters, and numbers. Connect multiple Rapper Snappers for bigger numbers or shapes. Work as a team to build a giant letter on the floor!  

Rapper Snappers are a small, easy to transport, budget friendly tool that can be used across multiple settings and to target a variety of treatment goals making them the perfect tool when creating therapy activities on a budget!

Watch the Video!

The Value of Therapy Balls and How Best to Store Them

by Shoshanah Shear

I have had the joy of working in four different countries and a number of different facilities. Some equipment regardless of the setting one works in or what the age of the client is. Therapy Balls definitely fit into this category. I have enjoyed using these in treatment with head-injured or stroke patients just as much as with children with learning problems, or even the blind.

I think balls of various sizes, textures, and shapes are a tell-tale sign that you have stepped into an OT room or department. They assist in meeting so many goals and certainly show how dynamic OT is and how creative we need to be with every treatment plan and session. Let’s face it, balls are fun for most ages. They are colorful and versatile. Being round means that they are dynamic, resulting in the ability to grade therapy sessions by working on an unstable surface.

Therapy balls are beneficial for improving:

  • motor control
  • muscle tone
  • trunk control or strengthening core muscles
  • upper limb function for clients with orthopedic or neurological disorders
  • introducing fun games and exercises into therapy
  • eye-hand coordination
  • righting and balance reactions
  • weight shift

Balls can encourage a child to feel excited to come into a treatment room or to prepare a blind child for hippotherapy. Balls can be just as important to an older woman needing to reduce internal scarring from repeated abdominal surgery.

There is one problem with therapy balls: storage. Without due care, your therapy room can quickly become messy, cluttered, and a potential safety hazard. We don’t want our clients tripping over equipment!

If you’ve ever worked in an OT department or been involved in developing a therapy department in limited space, then you can appreciate the need to organize physio/Gymnic balls. There are times that facilities will look into securing a suitable shelf, setting up a hammock specifically for therapy balls, or acquiring an array of other wall or ceiling fittings.

But what can do you do if your practice is in rented space that doesn’t permit attaching anything to the walls or ceilings? Or if your OT room is in a building with prefabricated walls and ceilings, reducing the strength and stability of the internal structure?

When I started in private practice, one of the first pieces of equipment I obtained was a large therapy ball with bells inside. Amongst my first private clients was a child who was blind from birth and severely sensory-deprived, hence the bells within the ball. It was wonderful to introduce a ball game in which he could participate because he could hear where the ball was.

The problem was how to store the therapy ball. I grappled with this dilemma until I discovered the wonderful Ball Stacker. It looks professional and neat and makes a good impression when a parent comes into the therapy room for the first time. Now you can use therapy balls even if you can’t attach brackets, shelves, or hammocks to the wall or ceiling.

Another valuable accessory to the therapy ball, is the Ball Handpump which offers the freedom to alter the pressure in the ball according to the goals of your client.


Shoshanah Shear

Occupational Therapist, healing facilitator, certified infant massage instructor, freelance writer, author of “Healing Your Life Through Activity – An Occupational Therapist’s Story” and co-author of “Tuvia Finds His Freedom”.

Move Mindfully Card Deck and Sensory Systems

by Stephanie Kennelly

Therapro is excited to offer the Move Mindfully Card Deck, available at our store. This product helps integrate physical fitness, mindfulness and social emotional skills into practice. The deck not only offers individual poses, but also routines to address a variety of common needs, such as “accident prone” and “lethargic”.

As a Blog Bonus, we are offering a free download of three poses from the card deck to get you started with a simple routine.  Read on to learn more about each pose and how it relates to your Occupational Therapy goals.

Belly Breathing

Belly Breathing

Getting into the Pose:
Belly Breathing is often taught with the Hoberman Sphere. The brightly colored, collapsible tool offers a visual tracking point to feel the diaphragm expand and contract. However, hands can simply be placed at heart and belly when teaching belly breathing as well. To start, we recommend a seated position in a chair, for back support. As a modification, this pose can also be completed laying on the floor. In this position, try a small object or toy placed on the belly for extra visualization of the up and down movement.

Therapy Resource:
Belly breathing is a great way to work on postural stability while maintaining an upright position without a collapsed trunk or slouched shoulders. This pose also taps into interoception and body awareness as breathing is tracked.

More Info on Belly Breathing

Tree Pose

Tree Pose

Getting Into the Pose:
Tree Pose is an introductory balancing pose that all body abilities can enjoy. We start by cueing the heel to touch the ankle. As balancing progresses, the foot can be placed on the calf or thigh. However, make sure to avoid any pressure on the knee joint. The hands press together at midline, palm to palm, providing additional input.

Therapy Resource:
Like belly breathing, this pose works postural stability through core activation in a static hold. It also works on bilateral coordination as hands and feet press towards midline while maintaining balance and focus. The stacking of joints over the anchored foot (ankles, hips, wrists) taps into theproprioceptive system. If you need additional proprioceptive input in this pose, try stamping feet before attempting to hold static. Activate the vestibular system by experimenting with the foot and hand placement.. Also, try small movement, such as swaying, within the pose. Work on vision by providing various focal points experimenting with gaze up, out, down and even eyes closed. If you see the MORO Reflex in this pose, return to Belly Breathing.

More info on Tree Pose

Child’s Pose

Child's Pose

Getting Into the Pose:
Child’s pose is often used at the beginning or the end of a session. However, it can be used whenever there is a need to decrease overstimulation. It can be completed on the floor or at a table.

Therapy Resource:
As you cue stacked fists, you are working on bilateral coordination and proprioception as joints are stacked together at midline. On the floor, there is the additional tactile input from the legs and arms on the Earth. Seekers may need to rock, or add extra movement to the pose, while avoiders may have to stay more upright. Offer a vestibular system modification of seating in a chair, hands stacked on forehead and chin slightly tucked.

More Info on Child’s Pose

About Us-

This blog post is a collaborative effort of Sweet Inside Yoga and 1000 Petals.

Sweet Inside Yoga is a company providing resources for occupational therapy, physical therapy, mental health practitioners, classroom teachers, yoga teachers, professionals, parents, and others in the community to use with individuals who can be found seeking and/or avoiding yoga activities.

1000 Petals is a well-being training and consulting company based on the science and practice of mindfulness and movement. They provide integrative mindfulness and movement solutions in workshops, events, retreats and self-care classes. Subscribe to their newsletter to receive weekly tips and resources on integrating mindful movement into your therapy.