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.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Lacing Alphabet

Work on visual discrimination, figure ground, spatial relations, visual form constancy, eye-hand coordination, sequencing, manual dexterity, grasp, in-hand manipulation, fine motor precision, palmar arching, separation of two sides of the hand, intrinsic muscle development, tool use, using both hands in a coordinated manner, motor planning, sustained attention, spelling, play exploration and participation

In the bucket: 260 lowercase alphabet (1 - 1.5"), 15 laces (25" long)

There is a lot to like here: The letters are easy to manipulate, the holes are smooth and big enough for easy stringing, the laces are plastic tipped, there are plenty of pieces so you don't have to worry about losing a few, pieces come in a plastic container that will hold up over time and is easy to snap shut, the colors are bright and kid-friendly, and the skills that can be addressed with this simple activity are many. Whew. Some toys and games you pay $20 for and use them occasionally. This one is $20, but if you are like me, you will end up using it over and over. The strings are a nice weight and pull easily through the holes without catching or snagging. Holes are closer to the top of letters and I would think this would reduce the chance of letters flipping if you are going to wear it for a necklace. Holding the string in the right hand and putting letters on with the left will result in words spelled backwards.  Each letter comes in a variety of different colors. You can also buy a bucket of uppercase letters.

Try this:
  • Practice letter recognition and look for all of a single letter.
  • Line up and/or string letters in the a-b-c sequence.
  • Spell your name, spell simple words, spell words for a spelling test or spell reading vocabulary words.
  • Place needed letters upside down, backwards, etc. to practice recognizing them in different orientations.
  • Dump a pile of letters on the table and search for all of a single letter to work on figure ground, visual discrimination, and visual form constancy.
  • Place two letters in the palm. Push one forward and string it, then push the second forward and string without dropping or setting them down to orient. Holding the string in one hand and the letter(s) in the other will set up a natural opportunity to use in-hand manipulation skills.
  • Watch to make sure the string is held still and the fingers are moved and the letter is pushed away from the palm.
  • Place one letter in the cupped fingers and ask the individual to push it to the fingertips, turn it to the correct direction and use. Move to placing letters further and further back toward the cupped palm.
  • Use as a sorting activity. Use a cupcake tin and sort by color or letter.
  • Put one of each letter into a small box or bag. Pull out several without looking and see how many words you can make from the letters.
If you are interested in purchasing this or just want more information, click on the image below.

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