12 FUNctional Ways To Use Boomwhackers

by Jorge Ochoa, OTR                  

1) Social participation: sharing, taking turns, following rules/directions, group cohesion/teamwork.

  • Pass a small ball or marble between the tubes.
  • Each individual plays a tube in rhythm with the group and then passes the tube to the next person when the leader says "switch". 

2) Eye-hand coordination/ use of both hands /grasping.

3) Memory/attention/sequencing: play a rhythm/pattern and individual has to copy (play it back). 

4) Body awareness/parts (proprioception): play against body parts with eyes opened and then closed (ankle, elbow, shoulders, hips, arms, knee).

5) Crossing midline: Hit opposite side of body with tube.

6) Play/creative self-expression.

7) Arm and shoulder range of motion/strength:

  • Play high above head, low to the ground, towards and away from your body.                                                  
  • Play against wall or door at /above shoulder level.                                

 8) Impulse Control: During group playing,  leader verbally cues the group to "start" and "stop". 

9) Self-confidence/self-esteem: Individual gets to play a solo during group playing.

10) Leadership: When the individual raises the tube, everyone  plays loud. When tube goes down, they play softer. 

11) Play the rhythm of words (syllables).

12) Kinesthetic formation of letters/numbers: Use large motor movements in the the air and/or ground with arm and Boomwhacker. 


American Occupational Therapy Association (2014).Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (3rd ed). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68 (Suppl 1), S1– S48 doi org/10 5014/ajot 2014 682006

Skill Builders Pediatric Occupational Therapy. (2002). Body awareness activities [PDF file]. Retrieved April 2, 2017, from http://www.skillbuildersonline.com/SBA/PDF/Body_Awareness_Activities.pdfctiviti


Radiological Society of North America (RSNA):             Press release for Boomwhackers research.

Skills addressed: Color identification, focus/attention,  impulse/self-control, listening, group cohesion/teamwork.