Modarri Cars have been a huge hit with my avid-car-fan sons. I personally enjoyed exploring all the "therapy" possibilities with these special cars, which have been designed for a STEM experience!
So here is an overview of the ways in which I think these cars could help build a child's skills.
Although I received a free sample from Modarri, I was not paid for the review and the opinions are all mine.
Modarri cars are dismantled and put back together again by means of a
screwdriver and "embedded" screws - the screws can be loosened but they
don't come all the way out. So you can't lose screws!
There are 9 screws on each car, if you take it apart all the way down to the chassis, and take the wheels off as well.
That gives lots of fine motor opportunities to kids who need to get their fingers working. In a therapy context, I would present the child with the dismantled pieces - so the child can design and build the car from scratch. That is 9 screws being put in.
After using the completed car for some visual motor fun, I would get the child to dismantle the car to be used by the next child - so 9 screws are being undone. That is quite a bit of fine motor work.
The cars are designed for kids age 6 and up, so they are great for motivating older kids to work on fine motor skills.
Depending on the child's fine motor abilities, the screwdriver can be
held in a variety of ways, each of which makes slightly different
demands on the finger and hand muscles, as can be seen from the pictures below:
The most challenging way to use the screwdriver is to isolate the tripod fingers (thumb, index and middle fingers) by holding down the ring and little fingers. The fingers can then be used in a walking motion to turn the screwdriver. (For more activities using the tripod fingers, head over to this page.)
Some children need help to isolate the forearm movement that gets the hand to move palm down (pronation). Creating games with screwdrivers has long been a favorite therapy activity to get this movement, but careful positioning with these cars can also work!
There are two aspects to getting good forearm pronation with the cars:
The photos below show a child getting some good forearm pronation while using a screwdriver on a Modarri car.
Modarri cars are lovely to drive around a track, because they have real "suspension" and an innovative steering technique that responds intuitively to the child's finger on the driver's seat.
This means that they go around corners and change direction beautifully.
You can draw your own racing track on a large sheet of paper, or use a ready-made car mat. I personally like to place the racing tracks on a table top, so the child can move freely around the table while "driving" the car.
The child will be using eye-hand coordination and visual-motor skills to keep the car on the track.
Increase the demand by creating a narrower track, or asking the child to "drive faster" while still staying on the track.
Working on visual motor and eye-hand coordination skills may help a child to more accurately trace a path with a pencil, or write between the lines. Read more about visual-motor integration here.
Each car comes with a couple of options for changing the design and body work.
The more cars you have, the greater the number of possibilities, and the more engaged your child will be on the construction task.
If your child struggles with organization and planning skills, designing a car can be a very positive experience. Help your child to verbalize the decision-making process as part of the experience - either in planning the design, or in explaining the design after it is completed.
If your child struggles to know where to start, narrow down the options by working with a specific color scheme, or with a specific type of car in mind (eg rally car), and then find the pieces that fit in with those choices.
Modarri Cars are readily available from most good toy shops as well as online. Or pop on over to the Modarri website for more information.
Please note that these cars are NOT suitable for small children. They are recommended for use by children age 6 years and older. This makes them ideal for motivating an older child to work on fine motor skills!
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