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Is it a toy? Is it a game? Kaleidograph is an amazing resource for families and therapists, and really deserves its awards. Boost visual perception and planning skills with this creative activity!
To date, it has received the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award, and it made it onto the 10 best creative toys on Dr Toy and Forbes.com. Impressive!
And it is not just for kids! Teens and adults also enjoy this rewarding activity.
My kids are intrigued and hooked by the creativity that Kaleidograph unleashes. It is not an understatement to say there are millions of combinations. One small tweak (a different card, or a flip, or a change in orientation) can completely change a design, and my kids have loved experimenting.
I was blessed to receive and try out all 4 current designs, which makes for some very peaceful afternoons as my children lose themselves in a world of color and shape!
There are basically 2 ways Kaleidograph can be used.
1) Creative Free Play - where your child experiments and "messes
around" with the different colors, designs and layers - this is both
exciting and therapeutically soothing!
2) Focused Design Copying - where your child copies a design from the poster that comes with the pack. (more
From an occupational therapy perspective, it is the focused design copying that gets me really excited. Planning skills, visual perception and spatial perception are all brought into (ahem!) play, when your child attempts to copy a design.
And what is doubly exciting, is that the challenge of this activity appeals to older children, tweens and teens who feel "too old" for the regular therapy games.
If you are already excited, you can visit the Kaleidograph site here, but first take a look at its benefits.
Your child will be using (and boosting) figure-ground perception and visual discrimination skills when they study the picture to discern the different elements of the design.
They need to pick out the colors that were used as well as the design of the card - sometimes there is more than one design in a specific color. And sometimes there is only a tiny fragment of one color showing!
The black and white sets (called Op Art and Contrast) are more demanding from a visual discrimination point of view, as the child has to look really closely to see the lines and shapes used.
The designs are all built like crystals - 6 sided. That means that the orientation of the 4 sided card can affect the design. After picking out the card which is the correct design and color, the child then has to orientate and place it to replicate the exact design.
For me, the spatial perceptual aspect is helpful and adds challenge, but it is not the most demanding aspect of the game. The visual perceptual and planning demands are naturally much stronger.
Wow, wow, wow! That is all I can say about the level of planning and organization that is demanded at times.
Not only does your child need to pick out the colors and designs used, but then has to LAYER the cards in the correct order to make the design "work". Not as simple as it looks!
Your child needs to analyze what aspect is not "working" and then decide on a plan of action to remedy this.
Younger children, or kids with poor planning skills may need some initial prompting to help them along the problem solving process. Try some of these prompts:
I thought this aspect of Kaleidograph was brilliant!
This is an honest and unpaid review, and therefore I can be upfront
about the following drawbacks. But they are teeny weeny compared to the
huge benefits I have listed above. And mostly easily overcome :-)
1) Can Be Overwhelming!
If your child is naturally disorganized and/or a poor planner, the sight of a POSTER full of designs is completely overwhelming. My disorganized child struggled to know where to start, and jumped from one to another without much direction.
Laminate the poster and cut it into small cards of 9 designs each. (NB they will automatically be double sided as the poster is double sided)
These will be much more manageable and actually really rewarding for your child to be able to say "I finished all the designs on this card today, and this was my favorite one!"
Whole Sheet Can Be Overwhelming
Laminate and Cut
A More Focused Activity
2) Can be Too Challenging!
If your child has very poor visual perceptual skills, the designs given may be too challenging, as there are sometimes up to 6 layers of cards in the designs. The sample designs given are also not graded in difficulty, so your child may pick a "pretty" one, only to find it too complex. I have requested that the designers of Kaleidograph consider bringing out a "Junior" edition, but until then there are 2 possible solutions:
Solution 1: make simple designs using just 2 or 3 elements and take photos, and have your child copy from your photos. Upgrade to include more colors and elements as your child improves.
Solution 2: Buy 2 sets of the same box (therapists could do this easily in a group practice) and make a simple design with one set that your child can copy with the other set.
Try the concept out online to catch a glimpse of the fun. But holding the cards in your hand is much more rewarding, and the therapy advantages of copying a design can only be done with a set in your hands!
If you live in the US or Canada, you can browse here to find a store near you.
Or get one shipped from Amazon directly to your doorstep.This is my affiliate link directly to Kaleidoscope products on Amazon :-)
Honesty Point: Feel
free to support my site by going to Amazon through the link! I receive a
small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase anything from Amazon after clicking on my link.
The creator of Kaleidograph did send me a free sample of the products to try, but the review is completely honest and all my own.
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