By Wendy Harron - December 5, 2011
Gift Ideas to enhance an IM program
Are you looking for a gift for your child who is participating in IM sessions? Parents at our clinic ask me all the time what would be a good gift for their child. Something to enhance their therapy yet is fun. Below I’ve listed some games which can be found at the Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon or Toys R Us, so they are easy to find.
Games which require coordination, strength and endurance such as Twister are always good options. You can also use your Nintendo Wii with games such as the Step Aerobics game on the Wii Fit or the Just Dance games which require you to move your body to the beat of the song while imitating dance moves. There is also a Kids Just Dance version of this game which even has some preschool songs on it such as “The Wheels on the Bus”. There are also games such as Big Brain Academy, Margot’s Word Brain and Challenge Me Brain Puzzles which require you to do specific tasks to force you to solve and think quickly for the most points.
Timing skills are a big focus during IM sessions. Games such as Bop It, Bop It Bounce, Bop It XT and Bop It Extreme have you pace yourself and listen to a command that you have to follow. Very good for working on those neuron connections! Electronic games such as Simon, Loopz or Hyperdash are also good for speed, timing and coordination as well as following more motor planning tasks as you recall patterns and move your body. The Hyperdash games or even the Mickey Mouse-ke-Tag version gives commands and asks you to locate and find specific things in the game. You need to listen and process the directions, then react. You can’t go wrong with the Cranium line of games. Cranium’s Hullabaloo has kids listening and reacting to commands. Balloon Lagoon has mini games in which you have to perform certain tasks in a time limit. Their games are very creative, and usually have you thinking and laughing on your feet!
Some games that also include good fine motor or visual perceptual skills are Perfection, Run Yourself Ragged and Scrabble Flash. These also have a timing element that is good to help practice what they have learned during their IM sessions. Pictureka games also provide you with stimulation to look, scan and locate objects within a time limit. My personal favorite is the Disney version as the kids enjoy seeing their favorite Disney Characters drawn in a funny way.
So all in all, while these games are beneficial for practice, they are not a replacement for IM as they do not give the millisecond feedback that we get with the IM program. But they are a fun way to help reinforce what your child is doing and learning – a way to reinforce the growth of new neuronal connections in the brain. These can be very fun, and something the whole family can participate in!