Top Picks by Goal

Top Picks by Goals is intended to give therapists, teachers, and parents an idea of toys, games, or apps that may address the specific needs of an individual. They are merely a reference point and are not a substitute for therapy or a qualified professional. The lists consist of helpful of media I have personally used and found to be of benefit.

Visual attention develops as a child begins to visually target, track, and process relevant information. Babies love to study faces, and by doing so learn to imitate the actions and expressions of others and make sense of the world around them. For children having difficulty with attention playing on their bellies helps develop trunk and upper body muscles, head and neck control, and the ability to converge their eyes on a target. Being on the belly allows gravity to act on the body and provides stability as well as decreases extraneous input.

Toys and Games
  • Picture Books or Coloring Books
  • Simple Puzzles
  • Splat Mats filled with water or gel. They are easily home-made or purchased. The Gel Pad Elements from Fun and Function or the Gel Aquarium are 2 examples.
  • Balloons, Bubbles, and Balls
  • Mirror Play is always a lot of fun!

 

Apps
  • Treebetty Designs has a suite of apps to enhance visual attention - Infant Zoo and
  • Tap-N-See Now - Little Bear Sees
  • Sago Sago - Sound Box
  • Peek-a-boo series - Night and Day Studios
  • Marco Polo – Recall (you can manipulate the tiles if the child cannot target the iPad)

Visual-Motor Integration is the ability to synchronize the visual system with movement. It is commonly referred to as eye-hand and/or eye-body coordination. It is a precursor to the ability to orient oneself, navigate space, and read and write in a smooth and coordinated manner. Sometimes bringing on board the auditory system will help guide a child through space and often using rhythm to perform certain tasks will help a child sync their systems.

Toys and Games
  • Obstacle courses
  • Tag – Jungle Rumba – The Action-Packed Tag game uses brightly colored “flags” to collect. They can be used to collect a certain color or any other combination of colors
  • Ball Skills
  • Completing Dot to Dot or Maze Activities or Simple Arts and Crafts – involving drawing, coloring, cutting, and pasting
  • Roxs by A-Champs at playroxs.com or #GetKidsMoving is a real-life gaming console

Apps

  • Vehicles - My First App
  • Eggroll Games – has many adaptable puzzles in almost any interest area of a child
  • Vizuvizu – RelationShapes
  • Dexteria VMI – Binary Labs
  • Zyrobotics specializes in customizable games where you can adapt the visual motor demands to a student’s ability so that they can be successful and motivated to refine visual motor abilities

Pre-Handwriting skills encompass the ability to:

  • maintain postural control to freely use the arms and hands
  • eye-hand coordination
  • ability to grasp a writing utensil - (can be adaptive)
  • grade control or force (i.e.to not rip the paper)
  • make discernible markings
  • imitate or copy strokes or simple shapes
Toys and games

The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game helps build up hand and arm muscles and the ability to eye-hand coordination. Gameplay consists of using oversized tweezers to help the Sneaky squirrels stash away acorns. Color recognition and matching skills are also challenged.

Kids love filling containers with tiny objects. I use seasonal objects to change the pace to keep it fun. Tiny river pebbles, marbles, pasta, coins, beans, are all good objects to use in a water bottle or plastic container. We've even used brightly colored straws in a parmesan cheese container.

Using vertical surfaces such as an easel, chalkboard,  or sliding glass door helps build up wrist muscles and promotes a more mature grasp.

Following a pathway with small cars helps build precision and the ability to grade force. You can also draw a pathway (or scribble) and try to run your car over the design.

Coloring and mazes help kids learn about motor planning and altering plans in the midst of doing. Coloring by matching shapes with colors also reinforces sorting and categorization skills.

Apps

Zen Studio - Edoki

MiniLab Ltd - Artie's Magic Pencil

Toca Cars - Toca Boca AB

LaboLado - Labo Car Designer(4y+) 

Dexteria Jr. Fine Motor Skill Development for Toddlers and PreSchoolers - Binary Labs

 

The ability to write is a complex feat. Many demands are placed on a child to perform. The primary cause for problems with legibility is that the hand is not ready to use a tool in a precise way. As with pre-writing skills, the visual and motor systems need to be in sync as well as basic hand strength and endurance. Many times, a child's hands are not fully developed for tool use, and this results in poor penmanship. Hand skills begin with belly positioning and being able to weight shift from one hand to another. A child who has a slightly fisted position of the hand when crawling or on the belly is beginning to form the arches in their hands that lead to tool use. This promotes what is called hand separation skills and leads to refinement of fine motor skills.

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