I just read an interesting article in the AOTA OT Practice written by Kathy R. Broussard about how she made paddles out of coat hangers and nylon that she eventually refined and now markets through the Abilitations catalog at School Specialty products. I couldn't find a contact email for her to ask about use of the photo, but if you have this issue, check out the article Bringing an OT Idea to Market on page 7. Here are a link with paddles made out of paper plates:
Kathy describes in her article using the paddles she made while working at a Veterans Administration facility. The veterans loved competing while paddling balloons back and forth and this improved upper extremity strength and ROM. The patients with dementia loved it too and this helped improve endurance and muscle tone, postural control, crossing midline, motor planning, eye-hand coordination and social skills.
She further refined the wire and nylon paddle by taping pipe insulation on the handles making them softer and easier on the hands. These are now called PaddleLoons (a combination of a paddle and balloon). If someone has a photo of these-please send them in.
Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L author of, The Recycling Occupational Therapist