Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Therapy Fun (and Function): Discovery Putty

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with Fun and Function founder, Aviva Weiss.  Aviva is an OT by trade, mom of many, and now a successful entrepraneur.  Fun and Function is a great resource for therapists, teachers and consumers for sensory activities and materials.  She also made it clear, that as a company, she is always looking to the consumers of the Fun and Function products to provide insight to use and feedback.  So after she sent me a free package of Discovery Putty for taking the time to speak with her, I only thought it appropriate to provide a review.

I have now been using Discovery PuttyAnimal Rescue daily, within my school based therapy sessions.  The putty is brown, and looks like melted Tootsie Rolls.  I had to stop myself (and some of my students) from putting it in the mouth because it looks so good.  But after I found self control, I am finding it to be a very useful product.  The putty itself is a firm, therapeutic putty.  Contained with it, is a set of 15 small (choking hazard size) plastic animals.  So under close supervision do I use this product.
I have been able to engage students preschool through 5th grade, easily.  There is something about searching for things in a firm, smooth, but sticky substance.  I have incorporated basic math and language concepts into the activities to support the child's IEP goals.
For example, using a number board 1-15, the students must develop 1 to 1 correspondence, counting left to right how many they found, how many are left, etc.  With a visual aid, Boardmaker pictures, the children can "tell me" what they found, by either pointing only to the picture or creating a sentence "Look, I found a___."  I have also photocopied the animals so the students have to work on visual matching skills.  And I have made a letter sound board for students to identify first, middle or end sounds to the items they find. There is quite a variety that can be done with a container of therapy putty and a bunch of chotchkies.

For $12.99, it doesn't break the bank. However, I found it disappointing that there was only another Discovery Putty Grab the Goodies with food items, which would not fit my students' needs because of mouthing tendencies.  I did contact Ms. Weiss and hope that maybe we will see more varieties of theme based add-ons to the putty in the future.  I know I have been putty beads and paper clips into my therapeutic putty for years, but now there is a simple grab and go product that can easily be added to your tool box.

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