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.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Melissa & Doug Lace & Trace

Get both hands working together lacing whimsical animals.
Work on visual discrimination, spatial relations, visual tracing, eye-hand coordination, in-hand manipulation, grasp, bilateral coordination, manual dexterity, fine motor precision, web space development, proximal stability, focus, attention, sequencing, executive functions, process skills, play and leisure exploration and participation 

In the box: 5 lacing animals, 5 laces

Lacing can be a great two-handed activity, but I have never worked with a kid yet that was too crazy about it. I have several different types of lacing sets and rarely bring them out. The box of farm animals I have has seven animals but this newer version has only five. The seven animals I have are cow, chicken, rooster, pig, horse, goat and lamb. My animal pictures are more realistic and the ones in this kit are more whimsical. The strings are thick and brightly colored and they pull easily through the holes. The plastic tip on the lace (aglet) is  7/8" long. The animals are wooden with the same picture adhered to both sides. The animals are 3/16" thick and easy to grasp and turn in-hand as you work. The box is wooden and the cover is plastic and slides on through grooves in the box.

Oh yes... and trace. Tracing is another good 2-handed activity that I have never been able to interest kids in. This one would be a good set to try with because the pieces are thick and will help keep the pencil on track.

If you would like to read more about games that require writing or drawing in some form, check out my post Games That Require a Writing Tool.  

Try this:
  • Use a contrasting color lace to make it stand out more against the animal colors.
  • Trace the holes visually around the edge of the animal before you start. Some areas may be a little difficult to follow, such as where the goats legs cross.
  • Try different stitches (whip stitch, straight stitch).
  • Turn the animal in-hand as you move from hole to hole.
  • Cue the individual to hold the tip of the lace instead of the lace itself for more control.
  • Hold the aglet in the fingertips with the web space shaped like an "o". Straighten the fingers to push the lace through the hole instead of bringing the animal to the lace.
  • Cue the individual to feel for the hole if lacing from the back to avoid turning it over every time.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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