Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review + Giveaway: Super Fidgets: Caterpinch & Mini PushPathz

Push Pathz helps him transition to sleep. 

WHAT: Caterpinch and Mini PushPathz
DOES: Fidget to focus, fidget to transition, fidget to balance, and fidget to strengthen, and more...
INVEST:  $17.99 (for one) and $19.99 (for a set of 5 different pathz)
AGES: Any number between 1 and 100 (says me)
TOOLS: My Body Needs to Move, Social Scene Helper, I Can Take Care of Myself
EXPERT OPINION:   Aimee Prainito, Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Prainito Pediatric Therapy and Mike Pfeiffer, Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Owner/Director, Leaps and Bounds Pediatric Therapy
GIVEAWAY:  Win both the Caterpinch and Mini Push Pathz ($38+ value!!!)

Once I took my son to a family science class where the children would listen to an instructor talk about something fabulous and in the 2nd half of the class, the kids would do a hands-on project based on that lesson.  Guess which half my son liked more?

It's amazing how different he is in the two halves.  In the latter half, he is focused and he is fast! But in the beginning half, when it is lecture time, OH MY GOODNESS, he can not stop picking at his fingers! I think he does it to be still and pay attention but it doesn't totally work.  Later, he will become engrossed in his picking activity and not be able to hear the teacher talk about turbines.  By the way, I'm not judging here... my fingers are just as horrible looking.  If it wasn't for Gormel creme, I would be bleeding everyday.

Can you break it? Generally, if you are just pinching and shmushing then I think you'll be okay.  But my kid is rough and his fingers are dry and so I found that a thin layer of duct tape can protect it WITHOUT changing the resistance.  Duct tape comes in so many designs now.  Caterpinches can be cool!

So I called the good folks at Abilitations with an S.O.S.   "Please send me the Caterpinch STAT!" 

I have to say... I really love this thing.  I think Number 1 put it best when he said, "I need something boring that feels good to my hands."  And that makes perfect sense. He can feel it, squeeze it, touch it but really, there is nothing visually stimulating about it and so HE CAN STAY FOCUSED ON THE TEACHER!  Yahoo!!!  It's really genius if you think about it.  Speaking of genius, I had to ask pediatric occupational therapista, Aimee Prainito of Prainito Pediatric Therapy what she thought.  Aimee tried it out with her patients.

I don't know why but I really thought this came with an adhesive strip to put under the desk.  Either way, this is how I like to use the caterpinch.  I covered the flat side with duct tape and then crazy-glued it under the desk.  Focus-Fidgets should be felt and not seen, right?  I can't stand watching my son use a fidget in front of me when I'm talking to him.  It's totally distracting!

"The kids loved it. They loved it!" Aimee said.  However, Aimee didn't use it with the kids for fidgeting, rather she had other uses.  Aimee's goals were for "intrinsic hand strengthening" where she is working "on all the little muscles in your hand." Gosh, that didn't even occur to me.  In plain talk, you can say that it all boils down to helping our kids gain more control and strength that could even help with handwriting skills. BONUS! (I was just trying to get him to not pick off his fingers to death but increased hand strengthening?  That's a 2-for-1 winner! Ka-ching!) 

Aimee uses lots of things for hand strengthening but she knows that variety keeps the kids interested.  "The playdoh activity gets old," she added.  "If you have to work on hand strengthening, it was a little bit more fun than the typical stuff."  I think she is right. Caterpinch is one of a kind.  

Number 6 has never really liked to get her hands mucky but she LOVES the smooth feel of Push Pathz.  Her mom was so surprised to see how much her daughter loved it. I wish PushPathz were sold everywhere.  It's a gem.

Another one of a kind item (at least as far as I know) is the Mini PushPathz.  This is a newer item at Abilitations and it was created by a parent!  Woo-hoo!  It's one of those things that you always needed but you didn't know you did.  Basically, it's a maze made out of soft cloth.  The maze "walls" are sewn in but you can push a bead around the maze passageways.  You'll never see the bead but it's there!  All you feel is the soft cloth.  It's like butter baby! (without greasy mess).

I am not the only one who likes the feel.  I asked Mike Pfeiffer, Occupational Therapist and Owner/Director at Leaps and Bounds Therapy to help me figure out the magic of the PushPathz.  "I really think they chose a good material," he told me, "From a sensory standpoint they are silky and velvety."

There are actually five in the set.  Each have one bead each in the maze and one actually has two beads- COOL!

I never thought that this was good for bedtime but bedtime is the best time for Number 2 and PushPathz.

Mike used the PushPathz in a different way.  He asked his patients to work through the mazes while doing something else, like walking down a balance board.  Wow, how cool is that?  It gives me visions of old days when models were trained to do their walking while balancing a book on their head.  Wow, I had no idea that you can use something like this to get a kid more coordinated.  Amazing.

For our testers, this was more of a transition-buddy and fidget.  "A lot of times people are looking for something to transition their child over tactile issues," said Mike.   Transition can be really tough for us sometimes.  When I am reading Number 2 his bedtime stories, sometimes I feel like I don't have his full attention or I find that he is having trouble getting settled.  When I give him the PushPathz, it's a bit like giving a baby a pacifier.  He is more relaxed.

Some kids really like putting these and letting it rest on top of their lips.  It's kind of amazing how they just figure out what feels good.  I really like that.  Feeling good is never a bad thing.

Now that we've seen so much from Abilitations this week, you probably know why it is one of my favorite stores.  There are treasures hidden in the pages of their catalog.  Their inventive designs makes them dreamy but their prices make them a reality. Learn about their free ship policy below.  I bid you many happy touchings and feelings!

Our set of 5 reduced to 3.  Number 6 has one and Number 5's mom LOVES these for herself!

And now here's your chance to win BOTH superfidgets (Caterpinch and Set of 5 Mini PushPathz) !  How cool is that???  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form and follow their directions!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to buy on Amazon right now? Use my link to support Toys are Tools. THANK YOU!!!!  Additionally, while I don't have a link to the Mini Push Pathz on Amazon, look below for a link to Weighted Push Pathz if you prefer the weighted variety.

Here is a tip to those who want to buy Caterpinch and Mini Push Pathz from the Abilitations store.   To get free shipping, you have to spend $49 dollars.   If you are looking to spend an additional $11, here are some other inexpensive faves. 

Disclosure:  Toys are Tools was not compensated by the manufacturer for the publication of this review.  The two items were provided to Toys are Tools tester and expert to facilitate a review.  Reviews are never promised.  The giveaway prize is being offered by the manufacturer.

This post is dedicated to reader Andy.  Thank you for suggesting that I see the Caterpinch!   Everyone, please visit the School Specialty Special Needs catalog and leave me more suggestions! Remember, you don't have to have special needs to shop special needs- consider yourself to be a shopper of "special goals" - your goals for your family.


  1. My son's teacher just got him something to fidgit with in school (a
    brush-like thing) and he really liked it. So I am looking for other
    things for him to try out that are "boring" but can help him focus. The caterpinch under the desk might be just the thing!

  2. I love the video! I found fidgets are hard to get buy in from some teachers on. Hopefully times are changing!

  3. we love fidgets in our house and this looks like a great one that is easy to keep in your purse for emergency purposes.

  4. Those look so cool. I wish I had one in my hands now.

  5. I love seeing sensory fidgets :) Would love to see more sensory fidget reviews and giveaways. :)