Respiration Games & Resources

//Respiration Games & Resources

Respiration Games & Resources

Breathing techniques have been taught and used in a variety of fields from meditation practice to labour during childbirth.  There is a growing body of research investigating the benefits of respiration activities (both exhalation and inhalation).

For example, there is recent research looking at the relationship between respiration and the brain.  The Sydney Morning Herald published a great article on how breathing affects our brain, read it here.  

Much of this research connects breathing in (especially through the nose) with improvements in cognition and memory.  We have started incorporating this into our teaching at our tutoring centre, especially with particularly tricky times tables facts or graphemes/letter strings.

Occupational Therapists have known of the benefits of respiration techniques for some time, and used these as part of their therapy – especially breathing out (blowing) – to help children regulate and organise themselves.  This is starting to ripple across into our schooling system.  Yay.

Breathing out (especially blowing) activities are often incorporated into an OT session especially at  if a child has become quite excited, aroused or escalated.

Sucking, chewing and blowing tasks are often adopted in both speech therapy and occupational therapy sessions to strengthen articulation muscles, and assist with eating, speech, singing, crying, breathing, oral motor development and posture (e.g. holding head erect).  Sucking through a straw can also help focus.

There is a really helpful and informative blog on this topic from an OT  here

I am often asked for more respiration games and resources.  So, Ive put together this post on the resources that we currently have available.  We’re always adding to our range, so if new resources arrive we’ll add them to this blog too.  We do find it a bit trickier to find sucking resources – most involve straws and most involve eating and/or drinking.  Another challenge is trying to find blowing resources that don’t make a noise.

Blowing

Water Flutes

Oh my gosh, I love these water flutes.  Its not often you find a resource that ticks lots of boxes – there’s a bit of science (the varying levels of water filled tubes dictates the pitch), music, bath fun and an activity that encourages steady blowing (to get a solid note).  They even come with waterproof song/music sheets.  Watch a clip of the water flutes in action here.

Blow Lotto is a fabulous sturdy game to encourage blowing and breath control.

Players take turns at blowing the ball from one hole to another, which requires control of the direction and speed of the ball. 9 holes show different pictures, which are also featured on the players’ lotto cards. The first player to cover all pictures is the winner.  This one is an investment, especially for the therapy room as you’ll get years out of it.  There are other ways to play the game as well.  Blow lotto is not cheap (as it’s hard to get from overseas) so I’ve put a demonstration on youtube so you can see what you’re getting before purchasing.

Blow Football

What a fun way to have kids getting loads of practice blowing through straws.  Set the pitch up with the goal posts and goalies, and blow through your straw aiming the ball past the opposing goalie and into the goal.  Blow football will be a much loved game to add to the therapy kitbag and a fun game for the whole family to play.

Balloon Racer

These are a very popular novelty toy that can be used to help stimulate and exercise the mouth, practice the technique of blowing and develop respiratory strength.

Turn blowing up balloons into loads of fun and/or a competitive game as the balloons are raced against each other.  It can be a solo activity or for 2 people. Inflate the balloon by blowing through the pipe at the rear of the car and watch them take off. Comes with 2 cars (each with a balloon already attached) and two spare balloons.

Balloon helicopter

This gives another option for balloon activities and fun ways to develop oral motor skills and blowing & breathing out.  Blow up the Balloon Helicopter and then listen to it whistle as it flies into the air and then floats back to earth using the helicopter blades.

Touchable Bubbles – Bubble Blizzard

Add another dimension to bubble blowing with the touchable bubbles.   Blow a blizzard of tiny bubbles that you can touch and catch without them popping.  This is a fun, novel and sensational sensory experience encouraging play, gentle movement, coordination, visual and oral stimulation. The bubbles last for a surprisingly long time too.  When the bubbles turn white, you can even pick them up.

Racetrack Whistle

Need a bit more motivation to encourage blowing?  The Race Track Whistle is another handy tool to have in your kitbag to encourage extended breathing/blowing out and breath control.  The cars actually move accordingly to your breathing rhythms.  The Race Track Whistle encourages deep breaths to get the cars going and then, more steady and controlled breathing to keep them going round the track smoothly and consistently.

The Race Track Whistle has the added benefit of also encouraging eye tracking too.

Dinosaur and Unicorn Balloon Balls

These balloon balls are a fun way to have children blowing, breathing out, using breath control and self-regulating – and they won’t even realise.  The balloons are reusable, and once inflated can be used as a ball.  I really like this particular brand and style, because they come with a plastic nozzle to make the blowing into the balloon easier.

      

Jumbo Jelly Balloon

After an activity that requires LOTS of blowing and provides a bit of fun at the end?  The Jumbo Jelly balloon is loads of fun and it inflates up to 85cm.  For an added sensory experience it feels really cool –  soft and spongy – hence the “jelly” name. Its super easy,  you inflate it like balloon and then play with it like a ball – and it is REUSABLE!

Sucking

Sip n Sound

I cant believe how cool these are!  When you suck in through the straw it makes the noise of that animal.  It takes a little battery, but it is safely inside a case that requires a screwdriver to open.  We have farm animals and vehicles available.

Wet my Whistle

The wet my whistle straw is a washable reusable straw that “whistles” when you blow out (whether it is in a liquid or not) and can also be used as straw for sucking if you cover the whistle hole (though it won’t make the noise).  We love these straws as they are so sturdy and great for thicker liquid and making the sucking hard work.  The internal measurement (diameter) of the straw is 5mm.

Mask Straws

Add a bit of novelty to sucking and blowing activities (and throw in a bit of discussion about facial expressions while you’re at it) with the mask straws.  The set comes with 48 different facial expression options and 24 straws.

Dinosaur and Unicorn Crazy Straws

These crazy curly straws provide plenty of resistance and “oral work” with their twists and turns.  They are reusable and washable and because they’re transparent, you can see if they’re clean or not.  Plus, they come in a pack of 4.

  

Reusable Metal Straws

The stainless steel straws are a much stronger and longer lasting option for oral input, drinking, and oral work.  They’re reusable, washable and handy to have in the lunch box, kitbag, or picnic set.  The other advantage of this pack of 4, is that they also come with a cleaning brush.

Ark’s Lip Block

The Ark Lip straw topper is a valuable tool to add to a straw to help children learn how to suck from a straw effectively.  The Lip Block can help children develop oral motor skills such as lip closure, tongue retraction and cheek tension.

Watch the basic lip block model in action here.

Arks Ultra Bear Bottle Kit

The Ultra Bear Bottle kit is designed to help children learn to drink from a straw and to assist those with oral motor difficulties.  The unique design has a valve to prevent the liquid from going back down the straw.

Check it out in action here.

By |2019-01-25T04:25:55+00:00September 19th, 2017|Special needs|0 Comments

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