LaQ construction toys are a great way to work on improving grasp strength and fine motor skills. There are 7 different shaped pieces/connectors. With those 7 pieces, what one can build is just endless. The pieces are small and require a child to use a pincer grasp to push the pieces together. For kids who struggle with grasping skills, this is a fun way to work on improving that without them even knowing it. And if they are fans of construction toys, they will be asking to play with these all the time. Unlike Legos, LaQ blocks are thin so you can really only use two fingers on each hand to push them together (for therapists/educators who do a lot of homecare, they are small and light enough that you can throw them in your work bag and bring them from place to place without being weighed down). The pieces are colorful and they make this awesome snapping sound when they are pushed together. For some kids, it is great to have some kind of sound to know that they have successfully gotten the pieces together and should move onto the next step.
There are a variety of sets to choose from including dinosaurs and food. While each set comes with a book full of patterns, you can check out their website for many more great ideas. The nice thing is is that there are 3 different levels of patterns so there should be something for everyone to choose from. I like the patterns on the website a little better than the books that come with the sets because they break down the steps with more clarity.
In addition to what I have already spoken about, there are several other OT goals that can be addressed using LaQ construction blocks:
Improve Organization and Sorting Skills-there are 7 different shaped pieces in all LaQ sets. They may come in a variety of primary and pastel colors, but these 7 shapes can make thousands and thousands of designs and patterns. Many of the kids I work with need help organizing their work and on each of the patterns provided, there is a grid provided telling you how many of each shape and color you need. I like to have my kids sort these out before they begin to put their creations together.
Improve Bilateral Coordination Skills-for those of you who work with school age children who continue to struggle with bilateral coordination, this is a great activity to work on encouraging that skill. There is no way that a child can be successful with this toy if they don't use two hands. They will need to hold pieces in both hands in order to put complete the patterns and be successful in creating a final product.
Improve Visual Motor/Perceptual Skills-while there is room for a child to be totally creative, there are hundreds of patterns to choose from. When I was at the Bronx Zoo, there were mostly zoo animal and dinosaur patterns out for kids to create but through my google searches, I have found all different kinds of patterns. I bought this set more geared towards girls that includes a head band and jewelry box, to name just a few. Once you pick a pattern, it really requires you to visually attend to what you are doing in order to follow the patterns so the pattern comes out the way it is supposed to.
Improve Frustration Tolerance-this is a challenging activity. It requires a child to have an enormous amount of patience, which many of the kids that I work with lack. It may require them to not only accept but ask for help from a friend or a grown-up. Asking for help can be a frustrating thing for a child who wants to believe that he/she can do things all on their own. They would rather figure it out on their own which often leads to them giving up. Encourage kids to ask for help and talk to them about how everyone sometimes needs help and that it is okay.
|How awesome are these LaQ creations?|
Improve Confidence and Self-Esteem Skills-I have always noticed how completing long term Lego projects often bring out a tremendous amount of pride in a child. I have bought Lego sets for my kids who have fine motor delays and decreased self-esteem and confidence and worked on these sets for weeks or months at a time. When they finish the project and can show it off to their parents or caregivers, they are beyond proud. This is a similar activity and from what I have seen so far, when a child finishes their creation, whether it is from their imagination or from a pattern, they are beaming with pride.
|More awesome LaQ creations at the Bronx Zoo|
I would love to hear from you guys about how you are using these at home or at work. Do you have any creations you want to share with us? I am just a click away and would love to hear from you.