The OgoDisk is Oh So Much Fun

adminattention, eye hand coordination, focus, games, gross motor, modulation, ogosports, regulation, school age, social skills, toys Leave a Comment

Now that it is starting to really feel like Spring, I thought I would write about one of the toys that I use at the gym and at The Meeting House that would be a great toy for any and all of you occupational therapists and parents.

Months ago, I blogged about OgoBild Bits toys.  I was initially drawn to the OgoSport Company because I loved that it was born and raised in Brooklyn just down the street from where I live.  I was also drawn to them for their great design and durability after being introduced to them by one of my toy loving parents (thank you Alice) and knew that they would be a huge hit with all my kids.  These manipulative toys have been a huge hit with kids of all ages.  So once I fell in love with the OgoBild Bits, I decided to check out their gross motor sports game, OgoDisk.  Since adding it to my bag of tricks, it has become one of the most popular toys I have used.  It’s been especially popular with our older group of boys at The Meeting House.

OgoSport makes many great products, the OgoDisk being one of my favorites.  The game comes in three different sizes (12-18″) and two different styles (with and without handles).  It consists of two paddles and a koosh ball for passing back and forth.  The middle of the paddle is made out of a mesh-like material that helps the koosh ball bounce with great force.  So even if your child has decreased upper extremity strength, they can still hit the ball far enough to another person.  For children who have difficulty with grasping or decreased hand strength, there are two different paddle styles, one with handles and one without (pictured above).  You can experiment with what works best for your child and will allow for success.  Since the koosh ball is light, it can be played indoors to some extent without having to worry about broken windows or other valuables.  The three different sizes of the paddles makes it possible for kids of all different ages to be able to play it.  I have also heard of people taking this to the beach or to the pool because of the lightweight design and not being affected when it gets wet.  I can’t wait to take our set to the beach this summer!

There are many occupational therapy goals that can be met using the OgoDisk.  Listed below are just a few of them.

Improve Eye-Hand Coordination-when hitting the koosh ball, it requires a tremendous amount of eye-hand coordination in order to get the ball back to your friend(s).  You need to make sure that your eyes are focusing not only on the ball, but where your friend is standing so you can get it to them with accuracy.
Improve Modulation and Regulation Skills-I love many of the skills that can be worked on using the OgoDisk, but think that it works on modulation and regulation really well.  The springy material on the paddle makes the koosh ball really fly, sometimes much further than anyone is anticipating.  When first introducing the toy to the kids at work, I spend a lot of time telling them to not hit so hard or to hit harder.  It takes a tremendous amount of patience and self-control for a child to hit the ball with the right amount of force for them to be successful in playing this with their peers.
Improve Attention and Focus Skills-while I have used this game in groups, I have also used it individually.  I challenge the kids to hit the ball up in the air as many times as they can before it hits the ground.  This is great for working on focus and attention (as well as eye-hand coordination).  In addition, this is a perfect activity to work on improving frustration tolerance in kids.
Improve Bilateral Coordination Skills-if you have an older child who struggles with bilateral coordination, this is a good way to practice it in a fun way.  When a person serves the ball to their peer, they have to hold the paddle with one hand and hold the ball with the other.  This is challenging, but once they get it, they will feel so good about themselves.

Improve Social Skills-as mentioned earlier, we use this game at The Meeting House with a group of the kids.  They LOVE it and have come up with their own version of monkey in the middle using two sets of the game.  This gross motor game is great for encouraging good sportsmanship and encouraging your friends when they do well.  It’s great for turn taking and making compromises amongst a group of kids.

While I tend to use this game with the older kids on my caseload (school age), I have used it with success with some of the younger ones as well to work on many of the aforementioned skills.  I may adapt the expectations of the game and instead of having them stand up while playing the game, I may have them sit so they are more grounded and focused on the task at hand.

This is also a great toy to throw in your bag as you are headed for a picnic somewhere this spring and summer.  I promise that your people, big and small, will all be entertained for hours!  I have seen the OgoDisk at many of the local Park Slope toy stores, including Lulu’s Cut & Toys on Fifth Avenue and Little Things Toy Store on 7th Avenue.  You can also check out the OgoSport online store if you can’t find it locally.  Keep in mind how much the small businesses depend on our support so do what you can to support them.

Have any of you used the game in therapy or with your families?  Do you have game variations to share with the rest of the MAC&Toys readers?  I would love to hear your thoughts about the OgoDisk and how you use it not only therapeutically but recreationally.  I am always a click away and love hearing from my readers.

Hope you are all enjoying your spring.  Now get out there, get your self some OgoDisks and enjoy the fresh air!

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