Squigz: Toy to Promote Improvement of Developmental Skills and Independence

Squigz by Fat BrainToys are a fun multi-sensory toy that can help support many developmental skills. As a TVI, part of the job is to be creative in our activities, to help promote improvement of skills and independence, and have fun. Squigz have become one of my favorite toys to use in sessions with my kiddos. This toy can be used in a variety of ways targeting different skills. These toys are made of silicone and have a suction cup that can be used to connect to other Squigz or different surfaces such as tables, windows, mirrors, dry erase boards, etc. When you pull them off, the toy makes a satisfying popping sound. These toys can be used to target fine motor strengthening, visual motor coordination, crossing midline and also provides proprioceptive input, in terms of sensory processing, they target a variety of areas: tactile (feel of them), visual (bright colors), auditory (pop noise. These “fun little suckers” can be implemented in so many ways.  

Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI’s) are using Squigz to help build hand and finger strength and dexterity along with spatial concepts (top, bottom, middle, left, right) which are foundational skills needed for pressing keys on a Perkins Braille writer and making simple gestures on an iPad.  

During a recent Professional Development Cohort on the ABCs of iOS: A VoiceOver Manual for Toddlers and Beyond, preschool TVI’s with the Early Learning Sensory Support Program- VI discussed toys and activities that they used with their toddler and preschool kiddos to build foundational skills needed to be able to interact with apps on the iPad.  Squigz have been used by some TVI’s to pre-teach and practice spatial concepts using these as a tactual cue before opening an app and having a child interact with it.  Squigz are placed in different locations on the iPad for the child to find them when given a directional cue on the iPad screen (i.e., right, left, top, bottom, middle, north, south, east, west). Squigz can also be used if a child is having a difficult time using a one-finger gesture instead of whole hand on the iPad by having them hold a Squigz piece with their other fingers so that the pointer finger can do its job. 

Preschool child, Karson using finding Squigz at “the top” of the iPad.

4 year old Karson pulling a Squigz suction toy off the top portion of an iPad.

See video of a TVI featured in the ABC’s of iOS Manual who is using Squigz with a student.

Additional Squigz Activities

Here are some other activities you as a TVI can try to incorporate Squigz into your student’s daily routine:

  • Pull off Squigz laying prone (on belly) which helps with hand and extremity strengthening as well as core strengthening. Try sticking several Squigz to the floor and having kids positioned on their tummies over a therapy ball or bolster to pull off as many as they can while supporting themselves on one hand!

Photo of a rubber ball with multiple Squigz attached to it.

  • Pulling Squigz off a vertical surface (wall, wipe erase board, refrigerator, filing cabinet, slant board, iPad on a stand) helps wrist stability strengthening, crossing midline along with fine motor skills and bilateral coordination to hold the surface with one hand while the other hand is pulling the squigz.
  • Use Squigz with play dough.  They make great stamps! (Fine motor strengthening)
  • Connect the Dots! This activity targets coordinating vision with movements of the body, crossing midline, sequencing skills.

Photo of 10 Squigz labeled 1-10 randomly placed on a white board. Student using a marker connects the dots.

  • Writing Skills- Helping kids using muscle memory to know the start and end point practicing letter formation (top to bottom) as well as shapes and numbers (grasp, visual motor, hand eye coordination)

Photo of 5 Squigz placed in two columns on a white board. Student used a marker to draw a line to each Squigz, creating a zig-zag line

  • Throw to a Target. Create a target board to use to hit the target using a Squigz (pin the tail on the donkey, body parts of a face, or a wipe erase board and name the directional cue as the child throws it toward the board when it sticks. (grasp, visual motor skills, hand-eye coordination)

Photo of white board with circular bull's eye targets. Student threw three Squigz which are stuck to the target.   

  • Building with Squigz! Make a Squigz structure and have your child copy (visual motor, fine motor manipulation/coordination, spatial relations, problem solving).

Photo of toddlers hands creating a Squigz structure by connecting suction cup ends together.

Resource

Squigz on Amazon (Note: There are different Squigz kits available.)