Using TWISTER To Grow

A family classic, Twister provides hours of endless fun whilst also developing a range of skill areas. Read on below to find out how you can put a new twist on supporting these skill areas!

Sensory

  • Vestibular input – think the body’s spirit level.
    • Due to being in a range of positions, Twister can help develop the vestibular system by helping the brain understand where the body is positioned in space in relation to being upright.
  • Proprioceptive input – think bodily awareness thanks to pressure/force on the body.
    • As Twister forces us to load through both our hands and our feet, this helps improve our overall sense of bodily awareness due to the muscles and the brain having to work together to grow and reinforce our mental map of our bodies.
    • This kind of loading into the body can also help calm those of us with busy brains.

Gross motor skills

  • Twister places us in awkward positions! This is a great way to encourage crossing over the middle of our bodies from one side to the other, a.k.a. midline crossing. By crossing one side of our body into the space of the other side of our body, this increases our awareness (mental map mentioned above) and coordination of both sides of our bodies to improve their ability to work together as an effective team.
  • Holding those awkward positions helps to improve our overall bodily and postural strength, stability, and endurance all of which are needed to engage to the best of our abilities without getting tired in everyday life!

MAKE IT HARDER!

  • Increase the amount of time they must stay in each position.
  • Have the person spinning pretend to read what the spinner is saying but instead choose what would appear to be difficult locations for the body to be placed in.
  • No bums on mats!
  • One player and one part per spot!
  • The new version of Twister has more moves involved such as standing on one leg, and body part in the sky!

MAKE IT EASIER!

  • Decrease the amount of time they must stay in each position.
  • Have the person spinning pretend to read what the spinner is saying but instead choose positions which will have the player always facing towards the ground as this will reduce the demands placed on the trunk and shoulders.
  • Bums can be on mats.

Fine motor skills

  • Loading through the hands helps to develop strong, stable hand arches and shoulder complexes, both of which are foundational to all fine motor skills, particularly handwriting.

MAKE IT HARDER!

  • Have them hold positions where only one hand is on the mat!

MAKE IT EASIER!

  • If discomfort in the wrist stops them from playing, have them make a fist and place this on the ground instead.

Cognitive / concepts

  • Understand and reinforce basic colour concepts.
  • Twister helps improve our motor planning skills such as how to achieve new and novel bodily positions by figuring out how we are going to get our leg around one player, whilst our hand past another player to be able to stay in the game.
  • Develop and reinforce left and right concepts.

MAKE IT HARDER!

  • Once we are confident with our own lefts and rights, have the person spinning the spinner identify other players lefts and rights to help encourage being able to transfer lefts and rights to other objects!

MAKE IT EASIER!

  • Place a sticker or a mark on the back of both the hand and foot of one side of the body to help them remember which is their left and which is their right. You can even call it sticker side and no-sticker side.

Social skills

  • Twister offers the opportunity to have multiple players on the mat at the same time all having to negotiate with one another where to place themselves.
  • Twister encourages active listening having to listen to what other people are saying when they are the spinner. It encourages impulse control and the ability to follow instructions.
  • Twister is a fantastic way to improve emotional regulation! Both vestibular and proprioceptive input are involved which are well known to help calm when we are upset. Think hugging (proprioceptive input) and rocking (vestibular input) a baby when they are crying helps to calm them. It also encourages persistence when holding attaining positions becomes difficult.

MAKE IT HARDER!

  • The more players the merrier!

MAKE IT EASIER!

  • Have less players.

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