To see all Pinterest test pins, click here.
Regardless of the presentation, the concept is the same: a clear container with “filler” and hidden objects for a child to locate. Seems simple enough, right?
Wait, time out.
At this point you might notice a theme in many of the pins I choose to test. Most of them have something to do with promoting visual-perceptual skills. And why is that, you ask?
Deficits in visual-perceptual skills have a huge impact on the day to day functioning of a child. (You can refer to my post Visual Perceptual Skills: Real Life Applications for more examples of this.) Some parents may think that their child’s vision is “perfect” because they score 20/20 on an acuity test, but they might be missing out on other skills that are necessary for success in reading, writing, spelling, etc.
These components of visual-perception and visual motor integration are more than just the ability to see something small from far away (which is essentially what “acuity” measures). These skills have to do with the eyes working together, keeping their place as they jump from one spot to another, and so on. Difficulties in these areas seem to be a common underlying cause for functional impairment… much more common than parents may realize.
For those reasons I am a strong supporter of assessing and developing visual-perceptual skills as a part of my treatment approach. I incorporate a lot of these activities into my sessions, and hence why I am always on the lookout for something new and effective.
Ok, off of my soapbox for now and back to the pin.
The qualifications were all there for a perfect test pin: the supplies were simple, inexpensive, and readily available. Plus, it didn’t seem like it was going to take that long to throw together.
Although, in retrospect, I might have been a little overconfident in my ability to “throw” this one together, taking some shortcuts that I sort of regret.
I found a larger water bottle at home, and it seemed to be a decent size. However, I miscalculated a very important fact… the relative size of the opening of the bottle and the objects that needed to fit in there.
I saw some adorable erasers in the dollar section of Target a few months ago, and decided I absolutely needed them. (You know, that phenomenon that occurs any time you walk into Target.) However, they wouldn’t fit their cute little bundles into my chosen bottle. I squeezed those puppies until they finally made their way in, but a few pieces disconnected once they were shaken around in the bottle. (Probably due to the intense trauma forced upon them.)
Prior to sticking the erasers into the bottle, I took a picture of all of them. That way I had two options when I went to use it in therapy.
1. I could simply write down the names of the objects inside the bottle, so the child had to visualize what was inside as he searched.
2. I could show the child the actual picture of the items he was looking for as a way to grade the activity down.
The erasers were fine, but as you can see in the picture, the rice tends to have this slight “dusting” effect on them and dull down the colors. In retrospect I would have chosen something made from shiny plastic instead of the rubber material of the erasers.
Another big heads up- glue the lid down. It’s seems to be a child’s first instinct to attempt to pry the bottle open as soon as you set it in front of them.
So yeah, it’s a bottle full of rice and hidden objects, but what exactly is it working on? This is an important skill for an OT- to be able to explain exactly what a particular activity is used for. Otherwise we just look like we are playing around, and trust me, sometimes it can be harder than it seems to make skill development “fun”.
This activity can address the following visual-perceptual skills:
Figure Ground: The child has to sort through the complex visual field to locate a specific object.
Form Constancy: The child might see the object in the picture, but have to locate it in the bottle where it might be turned around, upside down, or, in my example, just covered in filthy rice dirt.
Visual Sequential Memory: You could tell the child to locate 2-3 objects in a particular order, so that they have to hold that information in their head as they scan through the bottle.
Visual Memory: Show the child a picture of all of the items in the bottle, and then see how many they can remember and find.
Visual Discrimination: The child can attempt to find specific objects amongst similar ones. You can make this easier or harder depending on the types of objects you place in the bottle.
Visual Closure: This could occur incidentally as the child searches for the object. They might only see part of the object sticking out the rice, and then have to determine if that is what they are looking for without seeing the whole thing.
See, a bottle of rice can be so much more than it seems! The key is to know what you want to work on and how to present the activity in order to maximize the focus on that particular skill.
Have a Pinterest pin that you want to see tested? Contact me and let me know!