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, September 30, 2015

Perler Biggie Beads & Tray and Cards

Work on fine motor precision, manual dexterity, pincer grasp, tool use, finger thumb opposition, sequencing, visual discrimination, eye-hand coordination, spatial relations, figure ground, visual closure, attention, play and leisure exploration and participation

Ages 4+  
This is two separate purchases - the Bucket of 1200 big Perler beads and the Tray 'N Cards with transparent pegboard/grid, tray, ironing sheet, and 32 paper patterns.
Use the biggie version of the popular Perler fuse beads as a pattern activity, over and over, without fusing. Each pattern card fits under the transparent pegboard/grid, so you can build right on top of it. I was pleasantly surprised when I received the Tray 'N Cards because it includes a tray for the grid so that the pattern does not slide around under the grid. Choose the picture you want to create, put it in the tray, and put the pegboard/grid on top.
Now go to work placing the beads onto the pegs, matching the color beneath each peg. Once the project is complete, remove the beads and build again, just like other pattern activities. Each pegboard, if completely filled, would hold 225 beads. Grid is approximately six inches square, and the beads are approximately 3/8 inches wide.
Patterns include animals, food, car, truck, basketball, and baseball.
Submarine             Pizza              Giraffe      
If you are interested in melting the beads and keeping each creation, there is a great video on Amazon for different techniques for ironing. Very informative. Click here to see the video (far left under product image).  The Tray 'N Cards set does not come in a storage box, although the pattern cards are in a plastic bag.

Try this:
  • Lay the beads on their sides on the table. Each bead the individual picks up will have to be turned in the fingertips to orient for placement. Lots of practice in one activity!
  • Put the picture above or beside the plastic grid and build from there for a greater challenge.
  • Hold two or three beads in the hand at a time, bringing one at a time to the fingertips to rotate and place on the grid.
  • Stand the beads up if the individual cannot turn them once they are in the hand.
  • Keep a pair of tweezers handy to help pick a bead off the grid in case a bead is placed incorrectly in a crowded area. Perler sells their own tweezers too.
  • Practice picking up beads with an open web space to help keep the fingers from bumping into other pieces while placing.
  • Use a pair of tweezers to place the beads.
  • Sort them by color and by handfuls into a muffin tin.
If you are interested in purchasing this activity or just want more information, click on an image below to go to Amazon.com.

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