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.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Lite-Brite Magic Screen

In the box: 1 unit, 200 pegs, 6 reusable templates, 1 green removable storage tray

Work on manual dexterity, pincer grasp, fine motor precision, separation of hand, in-hand manipulation, coordinated use of both hands, tactile perception, visual discrimination, visual closure, figure ground, spatial relations, play and leisure exploration and participation
Ages 4+

Lite-Brite's first unit with reusable templates!  I have always liked Lite-Brite, but I admit my favorite unit is the original, white unit with the wide base of support. The new flat screen units have to either be held up and can be heavy and hard to hold still while breaking through the paper, or used flat, and you don't have the advantage of working on a slanted surface.  This unit is the same in that aspect, use flat or hold up, but it is made of a much more flexible plastic and is quite light, especially without the green box of pegs attached to the side. The templates are card stock, white on the back and black on the front, with the shapes printed in colors and the holes already punched out. Therefore the templates can be used over and over and you will be able to continue to see the colors needed. 
The pegs come in different shapes including the original round, square, triangle, curve, and large specialty pieces. I got just enough pieces to complete some of the puzzles. Don't lose any.

The material you push the pegs through is part of the unit and does not require much force to push through, which is part of the appeal of the paper version for me. Once the peg is pulled back out of the hole, it closes back up. The green box is removable from the unit and snaps closed, but it is not secure enough to trust that it will not come open when being jostled in my cart. By pushing the button below the image, the light will burn steady, flash, or blink one area of the screen at a time. Kids have liked it and I like it as a tool to work on in-hand manipulation skills. You can also buy refill sets that include extra templates and pegs. I got mine at the Walmart online store, which was considerably cheaper than Amazon this time. The copyright date on the box is 2014, but I could not find this product anywhere on the Hasbro site. However, when I was there I did find an awesome online tool that allows you to create your own picture templates to print on your own computer. I think they will work for all versions of Lite-Brite. Also available to print on your computer are 19 free pre-made templates. To check it out go here. http://www.hasbro.com/litebrite/en_US/

Try this:
  • Put two or three pieces in the child's hand, between the base of the fingers and the fingertips. Ask him to push them out to the fingertips one at a time, rotate to position and place in the unit without dropping any.
  • Put pieces in the child's hand, as above, and mix the shapes.
  • Put the pieces needed in the green box. Point out each piece to find on the template as you go and ask the child to find what he needs in the crowded box.
  • Ask the child to pick up two or three pieces, such as three square blues, and squirrel in the palm without dropping. Start from flat on the table and move to the crowded box. Then bring to the fingertips one at a time for placement as above.
  • Stand the pieces upside down on the table as the individual needs them. This will require him to pick up each piece and turn it in-hand to position it correctly for placement.
  • Sort the pegs by color into a muffin tin before starting. Pick up several pieces at a time and bring them to the fingertips, one at a time, to sort.
  • Push pegs into Theraputty or Play-doh. Make animals or designs.
  • Flatten a mound of Theraputty or Play-doh and drag the pointed end of the peg through to draw letters or pictures.
  • Ask the individual to cup one hand and hold it in that position as you drop the pegs in one at a time. How many can be held? Cup the other hand and try to hold at least one more.
For more information, click on the image below.

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