New directions: Thumball as Tool for Prescription Drug Education

Answers In Motion the parent company of Thumball has a major opportunity to continue it's goal of energizing education and improving communication.

The big pharmaceutical companies, PhRMA have taken a stand on the giving of gifts both large and small to health care professional. Drug company sales reps are discouraged from promoting their brands of medications with gifts of appreciation (Can you say conflict of interest?).

The voluntary policy states that the companies discourage provision of promotional gifts like pens, mugs etc and dinners out. In a press release issued July 28, 2008 Answers In Motion was featured as the next best place for medication education with their latest project, Medicine Thumball.

These unique balls are teaching tools which when left behind in offices and given to patients do much more than remind people of a brand, they educate on the features, benefits and side effects of that medication. It doesn't hurt that it is a ball to toss and catch and enjoy as well.

See the complete press release at the link below:

This step is long overdue and PhRMA should be commended for prioritizing the quality of health education over potential profits from orders based on gifts and tokens (Can you say bribes?).

Medicine Thumball will become the model of attention getting products that teach and serve in a fun way with the emphasis consistently in the right place: helping physicians and patients make safe informed decisions about health.

Give Peace A Chance

We are a nation at war and it still surprises me at times but most things about war surprise me and shock me. I am always amazed at the casualty numbers and how we separate our American losses from the countries we are fighting. The number of civilian losses in Iraq are staggering yet we scarcely blink an eye because it is not "our" people. Well there in lies much of the problem.

I believe in the interdependence of all things. In early science classes we were all taught about ecosystems and that organisms working in harmony as a community result in growth and life. We seem to forget it applies not just to plants and other animals. We are part of it too and it includes the people we count as separate from us based on imaginary boundary lines.

We came to create a ball of hope, The Catch Peace Thumball is covered with the word Peace in different languages just like our world is covered with different nations and tongues. We use it to discuss the many languages that exist and find on a map where they are spoken. It is fun to highlight the different way words sound and trying to pronounce words "foreign" to us.

We use Catch Peace Thumball to honor the belief that to focus on our similarities not only our differences will help cultures understand each other and lead to communication and respect. It is a small step perhaps but to share the concept of oneness to children from a young age can't be a bad thing.

The war being fought is not American vs. Iraqi. The majority of Iraqis are people like us raising families, working hard, living simply and wanting peace. Toss it around, practice saying peace. it just may give peace a chance... of growing.

Numbers Thumball Not Just for Preschool Anymore

Numbers Thumball has 12 large colorful panels each covered with the number word and numeral on them from one to ten. At first glance observers might dismiss it as a Preschool only product. But Numbers Thumball has grown wings and has become the most versatile Thumball of all.

Now available for download at is a Numbers Template worksheet. In each box on the page is each number and lines. The user can personalize the page by filling in questions, spelling words, math problems, vocabulary, drawings and exercise. Once you have chosen the material you want to cover, start the game with a toss and randomly stop the action to locate the number under your thumb.

The possibilities are endless and can be adapted to counseling, speech, occupational or physical therapy, getting to know you events, study sheets and education of every kind. We know families that fill in 10 dinner choices and each day plays a healthy round of catch with Numbers Thumball to find out what's for dinner.

Players get motivated and are eager to keep playing until all ten numbers are caught. An amazing way to keep everyone on track, having fun and learning every step of the way.

Adults 55 plus Enjoy Icebreaker Thumball

Have fun while visiting parents, grandparents friends or family in the hospital or nursing homes with Icebreaker Thumball.
Ice Breaker Thumball is a soft stuffed ball, 6-inch in diameter. Every age and ability level can participate. 1 to 100 can play. Throw it, Catch it, and respond to the panel under your thumb!

Players interact in a group setting while developing ease of verbal expression, improved social awareness and meaningful communicative interactions.

1. Participate in a turn taking game, circulating Thumball by passing, rolling, tossing with increasing ease and accuracy.
2. Answer questions related to personal preferences & experiences to practice staying on topic.
3. Ask other players questions about their likes/ dislikes and life experiences to stimulate opportunities for friendships based on shared interests.
4. Recall answers given by other players to enhance short-term memory skills.
5. Ask family, friends, staff, peers to participate in favorite things survey and keep data.
6. Create charts & graphs to present findings in front of a group for public speaking practice.
Our response from active adult communities, senior care centers and acute, rehab and long term care facilities has been overwhelmingly positive:
“Thumball has brought our social time alive. Everyone gets a chance to play and it keeps our members interest. Memories are relived in a great way."
Meredith, Activities Co-coordinator
“We have introduced Thumball into our physical, occupational and speech therapy groups with wonderful results. Each resident finds it easier to accomplish tasks with this fun game during our exercise, cooking and conversation-time activities.”
Lynn, Rehabilitation Supervisor
Try Thumball on your next visit and get everybody, young and old, fast and slow interacting, relating, thinking and creating with Thumball.

Atlanta, School Counselors and Sunsets

Just returned from ASCA, the American School Counselors Association's National Conference in Atlanta. Wonderful weather, blue, blue skies, warm temps, low humidity and fantastic accommodations. Negotiating Atlanta was a breeze and southern helpfulness and hospitality were everywhere. Thumball was a welcome addition to the event's exhibition floor where we received praise and thanks for expanding the product options available for guidance and career counselors.

Sounds pretty awesome, almost pollyanna but I could find things to complain about if encouraged yet what would be the point. I realized that at previous trade show events I became very concerned that the costs of participating would be greater than the return. I would lose myself in making calculations worried we could not possibly sell enough Thumballs to even break even with travel, exhibit, shipping and equipment costs, let alone the time away from our other responsibilities. But this is not the true point of attending a trade show.

I inhaled deeply, looked at my wonderful husband who can see the bright side of every possible situation and stopped my silliness. It is the poverty mentality my parents taught me so well, that " balance the books" thinking as the only measure of success, a philosophy that serves no one really but the books.

The ASCA attendees were excited, motivated and increasingly creative with their thinking when discovering our creation, Thumball. The top three sellers were the Icebreaker, Who Are You? and Emotion Mania which all promote social relationships, connection with our feelings and healthy ways to express them. These dedicated counselors are assisting students in need or at times of crisis and our product is helping. It's hard to place only a monetary value on that kind of work.

The counselors that had already used Thumballs visited our booth to say "My students love these; Thumballs work really well to motivate my withdrawn students; I use them at home as much as school because they are so much fun." Gratifying to hear for sure, but still our business needs to make money to survive. Then I thought, wow, there are over 350 Thumballs out there in America now doing their job and selling themselves and we can rest assured that money is in escrow for our future needs.

It is like our visit to Atlanta when I thought we should be rushing off to the Georgia Aquarium, The World of Coke and the Underground in order to get the maximum return on our trip I had to stop and take a breath. Turns out it was the night we never left our hotel which was best of all. From our 24th floor room we witnessed the Atlanta skyline transform from blues to yellow to pinks and orange in a dazzling array of shapes and images that went on for hours.

We could scarcely catch our breath at the beauty of this city and the wonder of earth's cycles . I remembered that all things are possible and we get chances every day to make a profit and sell merchandise but the sky that evening will never look exactly that way again and there is no price on a perfect golden sunset shared with the one you love, like Visa reminds us that my dear friends is priceless.