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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.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Drawing Book of Faces by Ed Emberley


Work on fine motor precision, pencil control, efficient pencil grasp, coordinated use of both hands, distal rotation, visual memory, spatial relations, visual closure, visual form constancy, visual motor integration, visual discrimination, motor planning, drawing and recognizing shapes, body awareness, attention, proportion, following directions, play and leisure exploration and participation, reading facial expressions 

In the book: Faces, faces, and more faces

A fun and simple book with step-by-step instructions for drawing expressive faces. Most faces start off with a square or circle. Then over the course of six steps, simple features are added - lines and shapes - and a funny face is the result. Many kids are surprised and pleased when they see what they can do.
From his book page on Amazon.
I like to use this book with kids who are working on writing smaller with distal rotation, holding a writing tool, precision with a writing tool, bilateral integration and/or drawing shapes, spatial relations, visual closure. If I want the person to work on making small marks, I control how big the face is by drawing the starting circle or square. The book has 32 pages and over 100 faces. It's also a fun book to use if you are working on reading facial expressions, as there are lots of faces that would help with that. In the back of the book there are a couple of pages of completed faces, no step-by-step instructions, so you can try your hand at putting it all together yourself. There are also a couple of pages with sections such as eyes, mouths, ears, hair, etc. so you can create your own custom faces. Expressions include happy, sad, embarrassed, angry, scared, mischievous, defeated, determined, conceited, grumpy, neutral, and many more. The faces represent all kinds of occupations and actions and include Laughing Lena, Sly Sid, Sleeping Simone, Black Eye Bob, Freckles Frieda, Earmuff Earl, Engineer Eric, Diver Dick, Donkey Don, Bulldog Brunhilda. You get the idea. I like to use colored pencils or an ultra fine dry erase marker (more about that here - EXPO Dry Erase Boards and Markers) for kids who are working on writing. I love using the Ed Emberley books and the kids have liked them too. I have blogged about several of his other books: Fingerprint Drawing Book and Great Thumbprint Drawing Book and Goody Gumdrops. I like using this book when I am working on facial expressions, but I have several other books that show the whole body, not just a face, of humans and animals. This is important too, so I go back and forth between books.

From his book page on Amazon.

Try this:
  • Use colored pencils. Adds just a bit more fun to be able to change colors.
  • Let the individual choose the face to make the experience more positive if the person does not like drawing or writing.
  • Look at each new step and, before drawing, ask the individual what has changed, what has been added.
  • If the individual makes a mistake or omits something, note that his picture is a little different from the book and ask him to find the difference. Can he compare and spot it without help?
  • Open the book to a page and ask the child to look at each finished face and name the facial expression (i.e. happy, angry, scared)
  • Ask the individual to verbally give the directions, step-by-step, using spatial terms, and you draw along. For instance, for a profile like the green example above, a circle nose is on the left, a half-circle ear is on the right, curly hair is across the top and down the back, etc. 
  • Go to the pages at the back of the book that just show features. Give the individual an example, such as Michelle was just settling in to watch her favorite TV show when her mom told her it was time to go to the dentist. Ask the individual to draw how Michelle felt (angry, scared?). See if his features match the emotion.
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  • MORE TIPS FROM MY EXPO DRY ERASE BOARD POST: 
  • Work on diagonal lines for letters such as K, Y, X, W by drawing pictures that incorporate diagonal lines (whiskers, sharp teeth, legs, bird toes). Work on distal rotation by drawing pictures that incorporate small, colored-in circles (eyes, freckles, tassels, chicken pox). Work on rounded lines, such as needed for many lower case letters, by drawing pictures with rounded and wavy lines (ears, water, noses, hair). Sounds pretty basic, doesn't it? One big reason I like the Ed Emberley books is because I can quickly scan each picture looking for the feature(s) that I want to practice without having to make up drawing after drawing in my head. I'm not that fast or that good.
  • Be short and precise with your verbal instructions as you model. Draw only one line or shape at a time and make sure they are following your instructions to the best of their ability. Drawings may start out looking rough, but typically improve over time with practice.   
  • Model how to start and stop on a line. I often just reach over and erase overflow with my finger and they quickly get the idea.
  • Draw a picture and then erase and try to draw it again from memory.
  • Use the Ed Emberley Book of faces when working on emotions. Emphasize the shapes of the eyes, eyebrows and mouth when talking about reading facial expressions.
If you are interested in purchasing this book or just want more information, click on the image below.

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