Motivating children to do hand therapy at home

Home therapy can be repetitive and demotivating, while traditional therapy tools can be expensive and complex, often limited to rehabilitation centres. By harnessing the power of cutting-edge technologies like smart toys, we’re researching how therapy is experienced. These tools target motor skills and create a playful experience that captivates the imagination and keeps children motivated.




Tamara Pinos Cisneros

PhD Candidate
Researcher and teacher at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. Interested in creating change in health and education via play, tinkering and making.

I am interested in researching: How to design smart toys to improve home-based therapies for children with cerebral palsy? For this, I focus on two research questions: 

RQ 1. Which design features of open-ended play smart toys can positively affect motivation to play in home-based therapy for children with cerebral palsy?

CP is an umbrella term with different levels of complexity, children with CP are affected in different ways hence the need for personalized therapy that can adjust to the skills of the child. To measure those skills, therapists currently use observational instruments like Assisted Hand Assessment to evaluate how children spontaneously manipulate objects in a playful bimanual activity.  In the clinic, digital measuring devices can be used together with manual measures done by the therapists. With Toys4Therapy, it will be possible to collect data (like, for example, time of use, frequency, wrist extension, rotations via accelerometers, pressure, etc.) remotely and more frequently. With the aid of AI, this data can be used to create adaptive play levels for optimal interventions. This leads us to the second research question:

RQ 2. How can self-adaptive play complexity provided by a smart toy create motivation and adherence to therapy at home for children with CP?

This research provides an important opportunity to advance the understanding of motivation and playfulness in therapy assisted by new technologies.

The Magic Monster

CTT Smart toys Framework