illumi-bowl o’ balls


This easy to make, CVI friendly manipulative is enticing both for it’s visual qualities (lighted, reflective, brightly colored balls) and because it makes interesting sounds as the balls are moved around and dropped into the bowl (auditory qualities).  Students well into Phase I and/or just into Phase II often respond positively to the illumi-bowl o’ balls.  I have made this manipulative using 2 different sized bowls; one is 12 inches in diameter and the other is 15 inches in diameter.  I personally feel that the larger bowl works best. I have also tried a variety of colors of balls and sizes of balls.  The white wiffle balls and the fluorescent lime green wiffle balls are 2.75 inches in diameter.  The smaller fluorescent orange wiffle balls are 1.5 inches in diameter.  Make sure to prop the bowl so that it is in the student’s best field of view and that they can access the balls with arms and hands.

First, you will need a battery operated, under cabinet puck light.  These come in white, black and silver.  Since we want the puck light to blend in with the bowl, I use silver.  You often find these at Lowe’s, Home Depot or at Amazon.  There is a link to similar puck lights on my Recommended Products page.


Next, you will need the bowl.  These large, silver mixing bowls are often at Restaurant Supply stores or at Costco.  Again, I have two sizes, 12 inches and 15 inches, but I feel that the larger size is best.  UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_c72b

Place a strip of Velcro tape both on the bottom, center of the bowl and on the back of the puck light.  That way, it will stay put as the balls are explored.  UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_c72c

These are my favorite wiffle balls to use.  They are 2.75 inches in diameter and can be found in any sporting goods store.  If the student can not tolerate more than two colors, use only the silver bowl and one color of wiffle balls.  UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_c72a


Press the puck light to turn it on.UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_c72f


Present the illumi-bowl o’ balls in a slightly darkened room against a dark background, especially if the student is visually functioning in Phase I.  UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_c730


These smaller wiffle balls are 1.5 inches in diameter.  They are easier for tiny hands to grab hold of.  UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_c731UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_c732