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, September 13, 2015

Rainbow Loom

Work on visual discrimination, visual closure, figure ground, spatial relations, manual dexterity, tool use, fine motor precision, eye-hand coordination, thinking skills, following directions, sequencing, thumb opposition, pincer grasp, finger strength, concentration, leisure exploration and participation

In the box: Loom, hook, rubber bands, instruction sheet
Ages 8+ 

All the craze for the past couple of years, the Rainbow Loom requires concentrated focus on fine motor and visual perceptual skills while you work. A great activity for the right person, a real frustration if these skills are underdeveloped. The instruction sheet shows several basic bracelet patterns that you can make over and over, changing colors or adding charms (separate purchase) for a different look. YouTube is loaded with patterns for jewelry and small animals. I have worked off patterns from YouTube in therapy and it has worked well, as you can watch exactly what the individual does and stop it anywhere you want or replay. I also watch the video beforehand to make sure it is appropriate for the individual so I don't set anyone for failure.

The pieces in my set are all plastic. The tip of the tool on the set pictured above is metal, which would be even better I would think. To proceed, place the rubber bands on the loom as shown on the pattern. Once the loom has all the rubber bands in place, the real work will start. Using the tip of the tool to pick up rubber bands, you will stretch them from one peg to another. There may be several rubber bands on each peg and you may have to pick up a rubber band from the middle or even the bottom of a stack. Using different colors will allow you to quickly isolate the band you need to move. You will have to work carefully, as a misplaced band or a dropped band can cause a lot of grief, possibly even requiring you to start over. After all that work, even the most patient person might want to give up. That being said, it is actually a fun activity and a great therapy challenge for the right person. And the best part is that after you are done, you will have something fun and wearable to show for it. If you want more information on how to use the loom, check out a video on YouTube.

If you are interested in purchasing this or just want more information, click on the image below.

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