A UH Manoa graduate, Joni Watanabe began as an intern at Imua Family Services during Graduate school at Pacific University in Oregon. In 2009 she came on board as a an Occupational Therapist where she continues to work alongside her former mentor. Toys in tow, Joni seems to always have lots of treats in her bag. Check out her must have toy and her tips to parents and caretakers below!
Favorite Toy to use in therapy?
Nesting/stacking cups (pictured below) – Due to it’s versatility, I can use this toy with my 1 year old as well as 5 year old kids. Depending on the child’s readiness and goals we use this toy to work on a number of skills including: problem solving (nesting, stacking, sorting, hiding things), imitation/social (pretending to drink/eat, copying actions such as putting a cup on your head, rolling cup back and forth), communication/concepts (making requests, encouraging making sounds as speaking into cup makes an echo, saying “ready, set, go” before knocking them down, talking about sea animals, colors, counting/numbers, location- under/on/in/up/down, sizes-big/little/smaller), motor (banging cups together, drumming on cups, putting objects in or taking out, pins for bowling game), etc. This particular nesting cup set also comes with a lid and 4 colored shapes so it can be used as a shape sorter! The possibilities are endless! 😉
Words of Wisdom?
“Keep an eye out for teachable moments.” Teach and learn with your child in as many situations as possible. It doesn’t have to be always in play. Day-to-day routines offer multiple opportunities to teach and learn with your keiki.