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This week I set my goals high. This project involved using a knife, duct tape, and a skill I lack entirely: precision. The inspiration for the test was a pin I see a lot around Pinterest, where you use a pool noodle to create a marble track. This is supposed to focus on the skills of visual attention and bilateral coordination. I happen to have a lot of clients that need to work on both of these things, so voila: the vision-tracker-circle-thing.
Here is the original pin:
(Image from yourtherapysource.com)
Look at that girl, she is focused, visually attending, and incorporating both sides of her body to control the circle. I love it. Let’s make it.
Here is a visual break down of my step by step process:
Step 1: Track down one of those pool noodle things. Tell your kids it’s ok if you need to borrow theirs, because you are about to create therapy magic. They’ll understand. Now, you just have to cut the noodle in half. Easy, right? Well, I have this amazing quality of making things harder than they have to be. I used the serrated knife as recommended, and it worked well. My problem was keeping an even cut throughout the entire noodle.
Step 2: Admire your handy work for splitting a noodle in two. I was pretty happy with the results, until I saw how bumpy and un-sleek the cuts were. See those bumps and ridges? Those are going to come back to haunt me later.
Step 3. Tape the whole thing into a circle. I recommend two people for this step, unless you are way more coordinated than I happen to be. My husband assisted with the processes to make sure the inside marble “track” stayed in line. This also leads to my next advice: make sure you don’t tape all the way around the noodle, because you want the marble to run around the track uninterrupted by a giant tape wad.
Step 4. Grab a marble and roll it around the track! Now, full disclosure: this circle looked great when I made it, until I woke up the next morning and the tape peeled a bit and became a weird tear drop shape.
I was excited to go to work and try it out, until I placed the marble in and it got stuck in those darn ridges (refer to step 2 again for this mistake). I took my scissors to it and started chopping away around the marble track until the marble rolled freely.
Now, for the review of the actual activity:
I’ll say, eh… pretty good? Is that a decent rating system?
-The kids were motivated by the task. They were eager to see if they could get the marble all the way around the track.
-Decent activity for visual attention. The kids definitely remained focused on the marble for quite a while. I have to say, the marble mostly stays in one visual spot as you move the circle, so it is less about visual tracking than maintaining fixation on the target.
-Great way to work on bilateral coordination as well as grading motor movements. The kids had to self-adjust their responses and finesse the circle so the marble didn’t just roll right out. For some of my clients with motor planning difficulties, this was a challenge.
-It’s definitely a “take home and make it” kind of activity, as opposed to creating it on the fly. More labor intensive for the less than crafty folks such as myself.
-It looked a little shoddy. Now this is my own fault, because clearly my cuts and taping were not up to par. If I were going to make this again I might be able to correct my mistakes for a better looking product.
All in all, a pretty good tool to use in the clinic, and an easy way for parents to work on these skills at home. I’ll be keeping it around.
What do you think? Willing to give it a try yourself? Let me know how it goes, or at least how many pool noodles you had to sacrifice for the good of therapy.