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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.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Melodee Bells


 
In the box: 8 bells, song booklet
 
Work on visual discrimination, visual memory, figure ground, grasp and release, following directions, sequencing, manual dexterity, leisure and play exploration and participation 
 
Music has a universal appeal, and this is another favorite that can be played by individuals across a range of skills. Because of the range of individuals I can use this with, and the pleasure it brings many of my kids, it is one of my favorite tools. A songbook with 14 songs is included but you will have to be able to read music. Songs are Mary Had a Little Lamb, TwinkleTwinkle Little Star, Three Blind Mice, London Bridge, Lullaby, Noel, Jingle Bells, Oh Master Let Me Walk With Thee, Jesus Lover of My Soul, Home Sweet Home, O-Susanna, Largo, Finlandia, and Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes.

I have made up my own songs on index cards using colored dots to indicate which bell to ring. Play each line of dots across, as if you are reading. If four lines of dots is too much to look at, put two lines of dots on one card. You could even put one line and point to each dot as you go if necessary.

 
The bells each have a little sticker on the top of the handle that has a number and a letter (note), to easily line up the bells before starting to play. To play, pick up each bell in turn, shake it once or twice, and then return it to the same space. Kids have loved to sing along with me as they play, and they love hearing that they have actually played a song.
Try this:
  • Work hand-over-hand, even if the individual cannot follow the songbook. A sense of accomplishment can be felt and a look of joy comes into the face when the song is recognized and the individual knows he is playing it.
  • Print the songs as colored dots on index cards.  I have put 1 line on an index card and I have put up to 4 lines on a card.  I use a box of Crayola markers and a highlighter for the pink. The pink in the Crayola markers looks too close to the red for me. 
  • Cover all but the line that is being played.  Some cannot look down and look back up and find their place. Some cannot pick out where they should be looking.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.
 
 

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