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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.


Friday, April 15, 2016

Goody Gumdrops 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 motor integration, visual discrimination, motor planning, drawing and recognizing shapes, body awareness, attention, proportion, following directions, play and leisure exploration and participation 

In the book: Approximately 40 animals to draw, pages to draw on

If you have read much of my blog you may know that I am a big fan of Ed Emberley’s drawing books. His drawings are whimsical and incorporate very simple lines and shapes with clear step–by-step picture instructions.  Kids who start with minimal skills beam when they see what they have created. I have looked at many drawing books and most are too difficult or advance too quickly for the kids on my caseload who need help with controlling a writing tool and visual perceptual skills. Unlike his other books, everything in this Goody Gumdrops book starts with the exact same shape – a gumdrop. Other books in his series incorporate a variety of different shapes in each book including circles, squares, half circles, triangles, ovals, etc. I like to use this book first since each drawing always starts with the same shape. There are even pages in this book that draw the beginning shape in color for you and you just add the details, if you want to draw in the book. Initially I thought that there were 80 different pictures to draw. As I have been working my way through the book I have found that there are 40 different pictures and after you go through the 40 there is another exact set of those 40. So you actually have two sets of the same pages.

Another feature about this book that is different from his other books is that you are meant to draw in the book and tear the pages out as you work, so the pages are not bound like a book but are glued down the edge for easy removal. I am not going to use it that way, but I know the pages will come loose over time and I will have to figure out how to keep them together at that point. I typically use colored dry erase markers and a small white board, or colored pencils and paper if you are looking for more feedback. Even kids who struggle with writing typically like these simple drawing books.

Here are more in his collection that I have used and liked:
Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Faces
Ed Emberley's Fingerprint Drawing Book
Ed Emberley's Great Thumbprint Drawing Book
Ed Emberley's Drawing Book: Make a World
Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals

Try this:
  • Use colored pencils or ultra-fine markers. Adds just a bit more fun to be able to incorporate colors and both are fine lines similar to a pencil.
  • Let the individual choose the item to draw 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?
  • Make dotted lines to connect if the individual cannot draw lines without help. For instance, for a whisker sometimes I will make a dot on the cheek and then one outside the face and ask the individual to connect the dots. Or make three dots in the shape of a triangle to connect.
  • After the individual starts to master the drawings, ask him to verbally give the directions for a drawing, step-by-step, using spatial terms, and you draw along.
  • Practice precisely starting and stopping on the gumdrop when the picture calls for it, minimizing overflow.
If you are interested in purchasing this book or just want more information, click on the image below. 

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