By Danielle Musser, M.S., CAPE, Adapted Physical Education Specialist
As an itinerant Adapted Physical Education teacher, I love equipment that is durable and can serve many functions. I fell in love with The Zone Cannon Launchers from Palos Sports. The launcher is made from a flexible rubber material that is sturdy enough for stomping, yet flexible enough for small hands to push down on it or students to sit on it. The foam balls that are used with the Cannon Launchers are coated in a long-lasting coating that has withstood some rough play (even biting) in my PE classes. Blasting the balls across the room is a huge motivator for student participation. Balancing on one foot to stomp with the other, jumping with two feet, squatting to sit down on the launcher, and using hand(s) to push the launcher, are some of my favorite ways to use them. Core strengthening, balance, increased body awareness, and hand eye coordination to load the ball into the launcher are all skills that can be exercised when using this equipment. I have utilized these with my entire caseload, which ranges from ages 3-21. Personally, I have also used this with my own two children (ages 3 and 1), and it was the most used item at my daughter’s birthday party!
Next on my top three purchases from Palos Sports is The Zone DodgeDISC. It has a nylon cover made to withstand tough treatment. What makes this disc unlike others on the market is the soft two-inch side with a half inch insert of sturdy foam. It’s the size of a typical frisbee (10 inches in diameter), too. I have students on my caseload that do not need a large oversized frisbee, but the soft frisbee helps build their confidence in catching. These fly easily and I have used them with students aged 3-21. As mentioned before, I am always on the move, and I typically prefer my equipment to have more than one use. These discs are great at preventing balls from rolling away, or for being used like a small bucket that students can fill up with bean bags for relays. They can also be used as a handheld racquet to bounce and strike balloons.
Last but not least, I have to mention The Zone APE Bowling Ball. This unique ball is lightweight and made from a rubber material. It has a thumb hole, but instead of the typical two holes for the middle finger and ring finger, it has a wide, hand-width size grip spot and an additional thumb hole. The opposite side has a different width grip between the thumb and hand slot. I love that students are able to focus on the rolling aspect and don’t get bogged down in the finger hold position. If a student has difficulties with their fingers or hand strength, this is the best ball on the market for them. Due to the light weight of the ball, this is not for bowling alleys, but rather for use with pins in the gym.
Palos Sports has a great selection of equipment for Adapted Physical Education teachers. Be sure to check out what they have in stock for setting up your classroom for the 2022/2023 school year.