Show And Tell: Hog Wild Poppers

My sister, who is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, called me one day to tell me about these awesome toys she just got.  They sounded like fun, so I got on amazon, and bought a couple.  They're called Hog Wild Poppers.

Clear Horizons Academy, the school I am going to start teaching at in Fall 2013, asked if I would come and do a pre-writing activity with some of the kids so that they could see my teaching style.  I decided to use the popper toys as a fun activity.

To get ready for the activity, I made some shapes and put them on manila folders.  You could do letters, numbers, word recognition, nouns, verbs, anything you're working on with receptive language really.  If you fold the back part of the folder up, it makes for a nice little stand.

I showed the kids the folders, and I had them trace the shapes with their fingers.  Then I set them up as targets.  I would tell them what shapes to hit, and they would try to hit them with the poppers.  Some kids needed the activity adapted more than others, but it's easy to do.

There's so many different activities you could do with these, and I think it would be fun for kids that are older than preschool as well.

So here are just some of the reasons why these toys are so awesome, and how they can help with child development.

  • First, who doesn't love shooting balls across the room.  They're engaging and fun, and can keep the kids attention.
  • Color/Shape identification
  • Making choices-I had them choose which color ball they wanted, and which animal they wanted to use
  • Taking Turns-We took turns shooting the balls
  • Fine Motor Strength
    • Squeezing the poppers to strengthen hands
    • Manipulating small objects (balls) 
  • Thumb Opposition
    • Squeezing the poppers
  • Crossing midline
    • Placing objects of the opposite side of the body for them to reach for (some kids had a hard time crossing midline, so I would purposely do a little playful obstruction and make them reach a couple times across midline before I would give them the ball, especially if they would switch hands when I crossed midline)
    • Tracing large shapes
  • Pinser Grasp
    • Picking up the small balls and placing them in the poppers
  • Finger Isolation
    • Tracing shapes with their pointer finger
    • Using one finger to push the ball in place
  • Eye-hand coordination
    • Hitting a target with the ball using the poppers
  • Bilateral Coordination
    • Squeezing the poppers with both hands
    • Holding the popper with one hand while putting the ball in with the other
  • Upper Body Strength
    • Laying on their tummies while playing the game
  • Motor Sequencing
    • Following the sequence of events to hit the targets
      • Getting the ball
      • Putting it in the popper
      • Aiming at a target
      • Squeezing the animal to shoot the popper
Some warnings:  
  • This toy is not meant for kids under 3, it has small parts.  
  • Some kids will look at the toy while squeezing it, it shoots pretty hard, so you'll want to be careful of that.  Especially for kids who don't quite understand cause and effect.
Here's a list of some of the different poppers I found on Amazon.  Hope you have fun!
Utah PLAY Project Home Consultant
Early Childhood Services for Kids With Autism

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