Children learn through play. As an occupational therapist who works with children and youth, I use games and toys almost every day to help develop important cognitive, visual perceptual, motor, sensory, social, play and leisure skills. While many different types of activities can be used in therapy, this blog focuses on off-the-shelf games and toys that are accessible to most. Whether you are a therapist, parent, teacher, or a game lover like me, I hope you discover something useful while you are here. Learn a different way to play a game you already own or discover a new game for your next family game night. Either way, just go play. It's good for you!

The OT Magazine named The Playful Otter one of the Top 5 Pediatric OT Blogs.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Geoboard Design Center

 Work on visual discrimination, visual closure, figure ground, spatial relations, eye-hand coordination, pincer grasp, manual dexterity, finger strength and dexterity, coordinated use of both hands, fine motor precision, play exploration and participation

In the box: 4 plastic geoboards, 20 pictures, 90 rubber bands
A natural two-handed activity. The goal is to stretch the rubber bands around the different shapes on the pictures and attach them to the pegs, staying on the dotted lines. The cards are bright and colorful and the subject matter is kid-oriented. The cards start with large basic shapes (squares, triangles) and increase in difficulty by adding more irregular shapes and shapes that overlap. The cards are not numbered for difficulty so you will have to judge. The boards are solid plastic and I have not had a board break or a peg break off in several years of use. Regular type rubber bands of a variety of sizes are included.  Pictures will only fit on the geoboards going in one direction. I put a tiny mark on the top left hand corner of each board so I can orient the board quickly each time I use it. I have used this a lot and have replaced some of the rubber bands with store bought bands. The bands you will get are colored, but they do not match the colors on the pictures. If you have the rainbow bracelet maker, an unrelated item that was popular a couple of years ago, you can use those small rubber bands too. I felt this was well worth the money and most kids have enjoyed working with it.

Try this:
  • Look at the picture on the card ahead of time and point out the dotted lines where the rubber bands will go.
  • Model putting a band on a shape, then take it off and ask the individual to do it.
  • Model how to stretch a band between two pegs and how to work out from there.
  • Stretch the band to the next peg if the individual does not see where to go next. Then undo it and ask him to do it.
  • Give the individual smaller and smaller rubber bands for the same picture to keep challenging and working on finger strength.
  • Let the child judge what size rubber band to use for each shape.
  • Let the individual make his own picture on a blank, white geoboard.
  • Number the pictures on the back so that they increase in difficulty. Then work on the pictures from easiest to hardest (1-20).
  • Allow the individual to choose the picture he will make. If he tends to choose pictures that are too difficult, lay out three or four appropriate pictures and let him choose from those.
If you would like to purchase this item or just find out more information, go to this website www.lakeshorelearning.com.

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