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 8, 2016

Lewo Magnetic Puzzle and Drawing Board

Work on manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, precise fine motor control, motor planning, body awareness, visual discrimination, visual closure, visual form constancy, spatial relations, figure ground, eye-hand coordination, attention, recognition of shapes and shape names, drawing shapes/lines/symbols, play and leisure exploration and participation
In the box: 93 magnetic pieces, lid that is white board on one side and black board on the other, small box of chalk, eraser for blackboard/whiteboard, dry erase marker with attached eraser, pattern booklet with 21 pages of patterns
I am laying out the pros and cons of this one, because there are enough of both. In the end, I still like it.
  • Pattern blocks with a pattern booklet, one of my favorite kinds of activities.
  • Magnetic pieces stick well to the white board, no slipping or sliding once placed.
  • You can add to the picture by drawing around the characters with a dry erase marker.
  • The white board surprisingly cleaned up very well, no shadow left behind when I used my Expo markers.
  • The box has a lid. It is not attached, as you have to take it off to stand it up for play.
  • You can work on an elevated surface if you want to stand the lid up in the box.
  • There are lots of different shapes so lots of opportunity to work on spatial orientation.
  • This line of pattern kits is less expensive than the name brand activities.
  • You can work on precision with a writing tool when filling in the picture with the dry erase marker. Work on rounded lines, diagonal lines, simple shapes, all related to writing. Yes, there is less drag and feedback when you are gliding across a smooth surface with a dry erase marker than when using a pencil on paper, but sometimes kids come to hate writing practice if that is all you do.
  • Not all the pieces are there. If you are going to add a pattern booklet, all the pieces have to be there. So far I have counted three minor, missing pieces. Other pieces of the same shapes but different colors can be substituted if your child is flexible.
  • Most of the "pictures" are just composed of several random objects (see booklet below).
  • The lid has no way to attach to the box for storage. If you are going to carry it around you will have to either rubber band it closed or keep it in the cardboard box that it comes in. 
  • There are three different places that you can insert the lid to stand it up: in the front, in the middle, in the back. Each place has the board propped at a different angle. My board would not stay standing in the front position.
It looks like the pros outnumber the cons, but the missing pieces is a biggie. I have decided not to return it since I figure other kits will probably have the same issue, and the kids have not responded negatively to it. Let it be a lesson on flexibility. This kit comes in several different themes, including farm and animals. Here is a picture that we worked on in therapy, pulling it together with drawings.
Small pattern booklet.

UPDATE: I also purchased this item in the animal theme and was very disappointed. The pictures in the booklet were so small that it was hard to work from them. Also the pictures generally had much fewer pieces to them than this booklet. I would not recommend the animal version.
Try this:
  • Play with the pieces before starting a picture, talking about the different shapes and their names.
  • Place the first piece or two if the individual does not know where or how to start. It can be difficult to know how to get started when you are just presented with a large, empty, white space.
  • Orient the piece for the individual as he watches if he is having trouble. Then pick it back up and hand it to him to try.
  • Pull out only the pieces needed ahead of time if 93 pieces is too many for the individual to look over. Introduce random, unnecessary pieces to the pile a few at a time for a more difficult figure ground challenge.
  • Use consistent positional and directional language such as above, below, right hand, left foot, etc.
  • Draw a background picture first (grass, birds, etc.) and add your figures to it. 
  • Take the pieces out of the box and lay them to the side so that they aren't on top of each other and you can see each one.
  • Ask the individual to turn the pieces in-hand to orient them for placement.
  • If an error is made, give the individual a chance to recognize and correct it on his own. Ask "Is that right?" or "Are you sure?" to prompt the individual to look for an error. Or say "There is something different, can you find it?" If he cannot find it, correct the error for the individual as he watches and then pick up the piece and hand it back to him for re-placement.
If you are interested in purchasing this or just want more information, click on the image below.

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