The Rib-it-Ball is a patented product originally created for a little boy born without eyes.  The challenge from the boy’s mother was to create a ball that is light weight, makes sound but does not require batteries, is easy to grasp and throw, and will not roll away.  The inventor, Bud Fraze, met that challenge with the Rib-it-Ball.  In addition to the auditory stimulation that the crinkle sound in each of the six ribs offers, the ribs are also designed to prevent the ball from rolling out of reach so that there is more “play time” and less “chase time.” The auditory stimulation allows children with visual impairments to hear where the ball is being thrown from and track the ball during play.

While attending a CTEVH conference in Burlingame, CA, founder and inventor Bud Fraze was explaining the Rib-it-Ball design to several people gathered at the PlayAbility booth.  During his explanation, he was moving the Rib-it-Ball around generating its “crinkle” sound.  Bud then spontaneously threw the ball to a little girl that was visually impaired, and too everyone’s amazement, she caught the ball just as Bud knew she would; a moving experience for all, especially for the girl who caught the ball.

As the sensory and easy play features of Rib-it-Ball generated more interest, its use has expanded to a wide range of special needs communities including children with muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and autism spectrum disorders.  Rib-it-Ball is even used with the elderly to enhance fine and gross motor skills.  Because of its amazing features, Rib-it-Ball is providing new experiences and countless hours of fun for so many children with special needs.

Mini Rib-it-Ball

The PlayAbility Toys team recognized the positive features of the “Rib-it-Ball”.  It was clear then, that those qualities are beneficial to even the youngest of toddlers.  The Mini Rib-it-Ball possesses a similar shape to its “Rib-it-Ball” predecessor, but is only 7 inches in diameter.  The crinkly ridges on the Mini Rib-it-Ball promote fine and gross motor skills associated with holding spoons, forks, pencils, and keys.  Unlike other sensory balls that let the child hook their finger through it, the Mini Rib-it-Ball forces them to engage in productive motor skill development.

The Mini Rib-it-Ball also includes a cleanable teething ring, that when pulled, causes the ball to lightly vibrate.  This provides a “cause and effect” recognition and promotes exploration for the toddler playing with the ball.  When the ball is moved around, it provides a light “jingle” sound providing an auditory reward and stimulation.  The high contrasting colors provide a visually stimulating experience for almost all visual acuities.


Bizi-Ball is another take on the original “Rib-it-Ball”.  The PlayAbility Toys team wanted to expand on the “exploration” concept.  Bizi-Ball features similar gross motor skill qualities like the Mini Rib-it-Ball, but opens up in 4 different sections.  Each section provides a different tactile and visual stimulation.  Whether it’s the bumps that the child loves to touch, the smooth surfaces on the black and white panel, or the mirrors that reflect their smiling faces, Bizi-Ball is so much more than your average ball.  Bizi-Ball includes a washable teething ring and can double as a way to hang the ball from a car seat. The combination of the sensory features and the motivation to explore creates a powerful cognitive stimulant and hours of fun!

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