Noah Has A BALL In The Ball Pit, And 2 Ways You Can Make Your Own For Cheap!

We’re extremely thankful that Noah has the opportunity to work with some of the best developmental therapists in the world. Ok, so I may be just a little biased, but the people who works with him really do have all the qualities we look for in a pediatric therapist! So we’re happy. 🙂

What he don’t know, won’t hurt him. (In fact, it’ll help him!)

One of the things I really like about Noah’s occupational therapist is the wide variety of developmental activities she uses to help him develop. I also like how great she is at disguising hard work as fun play. Noah works out hard during his visits, but you’d never know bases on the huge grin on his face the entire time!

baby playing in ball pit special needs

Work? This is child’s play!

For instance, Noah could be thinking he’s just playing a fun game, but he’s really learning how to grasp! Other times he could think he’s just playing with a ring stacker, but he’s really learning how to transfer objects! And when he thinks he’s just playing with a ball, he’s really learning how to sit.

I love it!

We’ve all been tricked…and it’s ok!

Since becoming a parent I’ve learned that many of my favorite childhood activities actually served a dual purpose; the swing set, the slide, and today I found out that even the ball pit *gasp* are good for you!

And I thought I was just playing around all these years, who knew? I feel so deceived. 🙂

Today Noah’s occupational therapist introduced him to the ball pit for the very first time! As you can see in the video it took him a few minutes to get warmed up, but once he did he was having a ball. (Literally!)

But not only was he having fun, he was unknowingly working on his gross motor skills. (Shh…I don’t tell him, if you don’t!) Additionally, the ball pit helps kids with low muscle tone, like Noah, strengthen their core since they have to work against the balls as they play. (So I guess I should say thank you to Chuck E Cheese for helping me have the abs of steal I have today…not!)

The ball pit isn’t just “child’s play.”

motor skills ball pit occupational therapy

“Ummm…what are you doing?

Today Noah’s occupational therapist introduced him to the ball pit for the very first time! As you can see in the video it took him a few minutes to get warmed up, but once he did he was having a ball. (Literally!)

But not only was he having fun, he was unknowingly working on his gross motor skills. (Shh…I don’t tell him, if you don’t!) Additionally, the ball pit helps children with low muscle tone, like Noah, strengthen their core as they work against the balls while playing.

2 Cheap and Easy Ways to Make Your Own Ball Pit

ball pit down syndrome therapy

“Hmmm…I could really use one of these at home.”

Many occupational therapists suggest buying a small ball pit for your child to play in. And while you can find lots of them at Amazon, Babies R Us, or Bye Bye Baby, there are a few simple ways you can make your own, and save a little money in the process. (Which is always a plus, besides who doesn’t like a little DIY project.”

1. The Inflatable Pool Ball Pit

Noah’s occupational therapist suggested that we make our own ball pit by purchasing a small inflatable kiddie pool and a bag of plastic balls. You may already have a blow up pool around your house, and if that’s the case all you need is this 100 pack of Fun Ballz and your all set!

2. The Pack and Play Ball Pit

Our friend Kelle is great at coming up with super creative (and easy) ways to save money on kid stuff. As I was telling her about the inflatable pool idea, she mentioned that she had used her Pack ‘N Play as a ball bit. She already had the Pack and Play, so she simply filled it with some plastic balls and bam, she has an instant ball bit. Genius!

(Don’t you just love ideas that are so simple like this! It makes you want to say “Why didn’t I think of that?

Now it’s your turn….

I know there’s a lot of creative (and thrifty) parents who read our site, so these make our own ball pit ideas may be old news to you. But as a new parent I had never thought of doing this before, and wanted to share them with others who might be as “un-creative”as I am in the toy-making department. 🙂

Do you have a ball pit at your house? If so did you make it on your own, or buy one from the store? What are some of the ways you’ve creatively saved money on kids toys by making them yourself? Leave a comment below and tell us about it. (Bonus points for sharing pictures!) And if you end up making our own ball pit, be sure to come back and let me know (and share a picture.) I’d love to see what you come up with.

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About Rick Smith

Hi, I'm Noah's Dad and I'm passionate about giving the world a window into our life as we raise our son who was born with Down syndrome. I also enjoy connecting with other families, so let's stay connected.

Comments

  1. maddie jacobs says:

    what about a kids little tent or a small 2 person tent n fill it with balls then you n mommy can get in there with lil man n have family ball pit night /day . that is what im gonna do for my kids . noah loves his ball pit i can tell .

    • That’s a fun idea! Let me know how it goes when you end up doing it!

      And yah, he had a blast with the ball bit! (He’s also become a huge fan of bounce houses as well.) 🙂

  2. Declan and I make card board cars out of shoe boxes, or cereal boxes etc…it then doubles as something to draw all over as you decorate the car:))….I’ll need to remember where I put the shot of him with it, so i can show you:). We haven’t tried the ball pit, great idea though!

    • That’s awesome! Noah’s got a big cardboard play house in his play room also. What a fun, creative, and cheap way to play.

      And please do share a photo! We’d love to see.

      Keep up the great job!

  3. I love the combination of a small fun sensory space while working on hand activities. thanks for sharing,
    Barbara Smith OTR/L
    FromRattlestoWriting.com

  4. Becky Rubke says:

    We have (had) a small tent that Timothy used to sleep in when we went different places when he was small. Same shape and same size as what is viewed here. That would be perfect. He would still like to use it but he is really to big for it anymore. PT’s often come up with ideas on their own. I really think they make it up as they go along. Great ideas.

    • You’re right, a tent works well also.

      And I agree, sometimes it does seem like they are coming up with activities as they go along. But they always seem so helpful and intentional. So it’s all good.

      How old are your children by the way?

  5. Thanks for the great tips I dragged out justin’s pool today we did not have the same balls but I took balls from around the house and he had a ball (no pun intended)

  6. We use the Little Tykes toy box for our ball pit. The lid is removable when the little ones want to play and when it’s clean up time….put the lid on and presto you have a neat little toy box. With it being a smaller area there are less balls to have to buy yet the little ones still get to “bury” themselves in the balls. Oh and you can clean the balls in your washing machine:)

    • Wow, it sounds like it’s dual purpose! My favorite type of toy!

      By the way, do they have special plastic balls, or can you wash all toy balls like that in the washing machine?

  7. My 4 year old has hypotonia as well as some developmental delays. I love the ball pit idea! We too have been using the exercise ball to help strengthen his core.

  8. The ball pit idea Is great. Maybe keep in mind that the small children’s pools go on sale near the end of the summer and so do the beach balls, cloth pool water balls, plastic fish and fishing poles and summer play toys. Maybe stock up on those as fun therapy tools for the winter when it is too cold to play outside. Plus, I would think blowing bubbles would be good for speech therapy and maybe fine motor skills-bet those are on sale at the end of summer too.

  9. I am so excited! My son is getting a ball pit for christmas and I was just thinking it would be a fun thing for him to play in but now I know it is helpful too! Now if we can just keep the dog from stealing the balls! HAHA

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