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.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Carousel Bells

In the box: Ring of bells, removable base, removable finial for top, mallet.
Work on visual discrimination, figure ground, spatial relations, visual memory, eye-hand coordination, tool use, bilateral integration, manual dexterity, play and leisure exploration and participation
I was so excited to receive my newest set of bells.  Once I opened the box, I had mixed feelings. The most disappointing part was the music sheet. It includes 7 songs, coded in letter and number.  All 7 songs are printed on a 5.75 X 5.75 card, resulting in very small dots to follow.  The colors are not an exact match for the bells, the red looks purple and the green looks greyish.  The orange looks pretty close in color to the yellow.  It took me a couple minutes to tap out Old McDonald because of the small dots and the color issues.  If it is difficult for me, it will be for most of my kids too. 
Maybe I will get on Photoshop and crank out some music sheets with matching colors, as you won't be able to use standard Crayola markers on this one.  The green is more of an olive green, and the light green look more like yellow, etc.  The letters for the notes are embossed onto the metal. They are painted the same color as the background and hard to see.  Maybe you could color them in with a contrasting color of nail polish or something if you want them to stand out. The upside - it is awesome to spin the carousel, watching the colors blend together.  You can hold your mallet lightly on the side as it spins and it sounds like wind chimes to me.  You can also take off the bottom, turn the ring of bells upside down so that you are holding the finial, and you have a two-handed activity.  You will get different intensities of sound, depending on which end of the mallet you are using and how hard you hit.  Pet peeve - the box had no front and we had to break it up to get the bells out. Bottom line - nothing to store it in. The mallet fits into the groove as shown above, but does not stay there unless the bell set is kept upright. And with only a slight tug you can separate the bells from the base. 
Update: I have been carrying this set in my cart this week and the pieces do not stay together. You will need to box it if this would bother you.
Update 3/14: This set of bells is just difficult to play. For one, you have to reach across the finial in the middle, which partially blocks your view. Best bet is to take it off. Secondly, many kids understand that with a straight keyboard, as the notes get higher, they are moving to the right. As the notes gets lower, they are moving to the left. If they know the tune, this helps them anticipate which direction to move. With these bells there is no way to anticipate which way to go since they are in a circle. I probably won't be using this much.
 If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below. 


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