Thursday, June 9, 2011

Oral Motor Fun with Party Favors

Big Brother needs lots of oral motor input. First of all, he craves it. Secondly, he has always had low muscle tone in his face and needs to exercise those muscles.

There are lot of fun party favors out there that provide just the right kind of oral-motor stimulation (and don't necessarily make a lot of noise). They are cheap, readily-available at the corner store, and make great "treats" that aren't junk food or useless toys.

Party favors also make great alerting activities. They have often helped Big Brother stay alert when he is in danger of slipping into a low state of arousal at an inappropriate time. The car is a common place for this to happen. Several months back, I learned the benefits of maintaining an even, balanced state throughout the day, and avoiding severe highs and lows. 

Another possible benefit to all these oral motor activities is the breath work that's involved. When I wrote about the Blow the Sheep Out of the Pen activity last month, a reader suggested that the deep breathing required to do the activity was significant. I had never thought of that, but it does make sense. The child is probably getting more oxygen which may help him feel more calm. Does anyone have any thoughts about this?

Here are some of our favorite oral-motor party favors. Most of these items came from the grocery store or party store, and cost less than $5. The lips are particularly great because the child has to really use those lip muscles to hold on.


  1. I was thinking about the more oxygen=more calm theory and it reminded me of a yoga breathing method called "bunny breathing." You take as many short inhales through your nose as you can and then breathe out as much as you can through your mouth. It is supposed to increase alertness.

  2. Yes....I was also thinking about my experiences with yoga. I've never heard of bunny breathing. What a fun thing to do with kids! I'll have to look into it.

    I often do deep breathing (basically, I just breath in as deep as I can and exhale completely, doing this in a slow, rhythmic fashion). This is very helpful for opens up my lungs and releases tension from my muscles. It helps me when I'm stressed, and it also helps me fall asleep.

    Thanks for your comment!