To see all Pinterest test pins, click here.
I’ll admit it- I’m cheap. Or shall I say frugal? Regardless, there have been several instances when I find a therapy tool that I think is amazing, yet can’t justify the high price tag that comes along with it. (Have you ever noticed that even the simplest things cost so much more when you associate it with the term “therapy”?)
The vision tracking tube was the perfect example of this predicament. I saw it at a continuing education course and knew I needed it. I had actually used one on a fieldwork rotation when I was a student and found it to be a great little activity. However, I just couldn’t bring myself to shell out the $30 for a plastic tube.
Thanks to the magic of Pinterest, I found this activity as a DIY project. You can check out the original pin here: DIY Vision Tracking Tube.
The only bummer is that this pin just links to a picture with no directions. However, after a little research online, I figured out the materials I needed by looking at a similar pin here: Homemade Marble Tube.
Here are the items I needed to find:
I initially had no idea where I was going to find the plastic tube. The link online described it as a “clear plastic tube that you use to store fluorescent lights.”
With that description in mind, I headed off to wander the aisles of Lowe’s. If you happen to be like me and are determined to find an item without asking for help, allow me to save you some time. This tube is called a “Clear Polycarbonate Tube Lamp Guard”, and is found in the first aisle of Lowe’s where they have all of the light bulbs.
Then I decided to get some tape to seal off the ends and make sure the caps didn’t fall off. I decided against my classic duct tape solution and sprung for colored electrical tape. I figured that way I could tape one end green and one end red, as a visual cue to scan from left to right while reading the letters on the tube.
The last piece of the puzzle was the ball. I needed to find one that fit inside the tube, but was also large enough to provide a steady target to track and not bounce around. A tip to find the correct size: just bring the end cap of the plastic tube into the store with you as a guide. (People might look at you strangely, but just ignore them, you are on important therapy-tool-building business…)
I was looking for a simple bouncy ball in a bright color, but for some reason all that I could find were clear. Those would have been difficult to visually track, so I finally settled on a little toy gun at the dollar store that came with 4 bright plastic balls. I wasn’t thrilled with the choice, but I was tired of searching and figured it would do the trick.
After gathering the materials the rest was pretty simple. (Just be careful writing out the letters to make sure you end up with even spacing throughout.) Here is a shot of my finished product:
Not too shabby for less than $10, right? I tried it out with my clients and was pretty happy with the results.
There are several ways to use this tube:
-Children can track the ball as it rolls through the tube, reading the alphabet as they go, or just simply tracking in a horizontal plane.
-You can gently squeeze the tube as the ball lands on a letter, and the children can use this technique to spell sight words or their name if you want to make it a little more challenging.
-You could add numbers on the other side to incorporate number patterns or simple math problems.
(It is always interesting to increase the cognitive challenge as you ask a child to visually track to see how much control they really have over this skill.)
I’m sure there are many other ways to use the tube, so any other ideas are greatly appreciated! This was a definitely an easy project, and I am sure that I will continue to incorporate it into my treatment sessions.
Have a Pinterest pin you want to see tested? Contact Me and let me know!