Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Hatch N' Some Fun!

It's been a while since I have blogged about a toy.  I've been trying to recyle and re-discover some of my old stuff that has been hidden deep in my closet this summer but a couple of weeks ago, I could see that I needed something fresh and exciting for the remainder of the summer.  For those of you who read my blog consistently, you know that finding a new toy that the kids are excited to play with is like winning the lottery.  Finding a toy that will actually work on occupational therapy goals is even more exciting for me!

A couple of weeks ago, I was searching for some Finding Dory toys for work.  It's all the kids at work are talking about this summer and I wanted to see what I could find.  On my hunt, I found these things called Hatch N' Heroes.  I had never heard of them but I had to test them out as they seemed like the most perfect occupational therapy toy/tool.  Simply put, Hatch N Heroes are egg shaped toys that can transform into different characters.  Remembering how popular any transformer toys were when I was growing up, I felt like it would be a fun thing to try with the kids.  It was especially exciting to find characters like Nemo, Dory, Lightning McQueen, Woody and a bunch of other popular characters.

These simple and affordable toys are a great tool to work on improving fine motor and manipulation skills.  Some kids require some more verbal prompting and assistance from me, but I've been impressed with how kids are eager to figure out this "puzzle" So far, all the kids are loving them but some of the younger kids require verbal prompting and some hand over hand assistance to successfully turn the egg into the character.

In addition to being really cute, Hatch N Heroes are great for working on a bunch of occupational therapy goals.  Some of the skills that can be worked on when using them are:
Improve Fine Motor/Manipulation Skills-as already mentioned, these are a great toy to work on fine motor skills. The eggs are small, so the kids are forced to use a fine pincer grasp when pulling out some of the pieces.
Improve Bilateral Coordination Skills-while I have seen kids try to play with them with one hand, they have quickly discovered on their own that it is a lot easier and takes a lot less time when they use one hand to hold the egg and the other one to do all the work.
Improve Executive Functioning Skills-great for working on improving focus and attention, organizational skills and problem solving.  Kids need to be patient while they try and figure out how you move the pieces to transform the egg into the character.  For some of my older kids, I see if they can turn the egg into the character without my assistance.  For the younger kids, they tend it's a great way to work on following verbal directions.
Improve Graphomotor Skills-for some of my older kids who are working on writing, I use these Hatch N Heroes in an obstacle course where the final step is writing the name of the character they just rescued from the top of the mountain.  There is something about all the big body work that takes place prior to the actual handwriting that helps the kids get more organized and focused for the handwriting task. And let's be honest....if a kid gets to be a superhero and save anything, they will be way more open to any kind of handwriting activity!

As you can see, these little toys are packed with lots of benefits for kids.  I like that they are small and can be carried around easily in a bag for traveling.  There are no batteries required, so you don't have to worry about them making any noise other than the sounds that kids will make when they are acting out scenes with the characters (this has been happening a lot for me!).  One thing to keep in mind is that they are plastic toys with a little moving pieces and if one of the pieces is bent the wrong way or pulled too hard, it might fall off.  The good news is that they are easy to put back on.

So, if you are looking for something new and exciting for your kids, be sure to keep your eyes open for these toys.  These are the kinds of toys that you will want to play with with your kids!  I have been searching every local toy store, Toys R Us and Amazon.com looking for any  new ones.

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