One of the first toys I put together as a clinical fellow (a copy of something my incredible coworker owns) was a set of surprise eggs. I am not exaggerating when I say the day these little eggs came into my life, my job got easier and my world got happier. I’m talking critter clinic and ball popper levels of GOODNESS here, people. It is instant-therapy and so engaging!
I’m going to walk you through why they are so wonderful to have on-hand, tips on putting together your own set, and how I like to use them. I promise to be brief- we’ve all got stuff to do.
WHY THEY ARE AWESOME
Each egg is its own mini activity with a clear beginning and end- which I LOVE. It is enormously helpful for keeping little people’s attention because you can move through it quickly. It also helps reduce behaviors because they soon learn the expectation that the toy is here, and then it’s gone, then another one comes, and that’s just how it is. Even the simple visual of each egg going into an “all done bin” one at a time can be helpful.
Surprise eggs also lend themselves SO EASILY to creating verbal routines (my favorites are below in the “How I Use Them” section). They can also be easily adapted as an activity for infants and preschoolers alike. I have even had some older kids show interest! Depending on what you fill them with, you can use these for just about anyone. Personally, I never change out the objects inside because it would just take too much time, but that would absolutely be an option to adapt them to different goals and age groups.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN
Word to the wise- invest in quality eggs. I purchased my first set from Target around Easter time and they have held up beautifully! When I needed more, I tried to find some cheap ones on Amazon- half of them were cracked and the other half didn’t close properly. Don’t do it! Spend the big bucks.
You can fill the eggs with just about anything! My favorites are wind-ups and other interactive toys you can find at places like Michaels and Party City. Things that light up, bounce, spin, and squish are perfect for providing plenty of language opportunities!
I also store them in a clear tub that latches so it easy for children to request what color they would like next without making it to easy for it to be a free-for-all. I store most of my toys this way.
HOW I USE THEM IN THERAPY
- Verbal Routines: knock knock knock open, shake shake shake open, telling the toys hi/bye as you take them out/in, and (of course) READY SET GO!!
- Wh Questions – what is it, what is it doing, what color do you want
- SO MANY VERBS AND ADJECTIVES AND NOUNS!
- -Gross Motor Imitation- knocking on the egg, shaking the egg, waving hi/bye to the toys
- -Functional Play- do we know how to make the tiny car drive? or the little dinosaur eat your hair? (weird, but fun)
- Joint Attention- optimal opportunities for eye contact and social referencing!
- Bonus OT Tip- a 2 year old child should be able to open these eggs- if not, a referral is warranted!
I am so excited for you to try this activity! I truly have used it almost every day since I made my first set during my CFY years ago. If you make your own- tag me in your picture so I can see! I love hearing from you!
Have FUN, Speechy People!