Visual perceptual skills allow the individual to be aware of, interpret and put to use the visual information around them in order to participate in functional and meaningful daily activities.  Here are some quick activities you can do at home today – no special books, apps or equipment needed.

Visual Memory This is the skill required to retain visual information in memory for later recall. This skill is frequently used in the classroom, such as copying work from the board or copying spelling words from a book.

Activity:  Lay out 3-4 small items, such as a toy, a pencil, a sock, etc. and have your child memorize them.  Then, when your child’s eyes are closed, add one item or take one away and ask your child to be a detective to figure out what has been added or has gone missing.  To increase the challenge start with more items, or have your child try to name all the items from memory.

Visual ClosureThis skill allows a person to visually identify an item when part of the object is occluded. For example, being able to identify a shoe that is partly hidden under the bed.  This skill is also involved in reading sight words quickly and accurately.

Activity:  There are endless supplies of dot-to-dot pictures available free online. Search “printable dot-to-dot” in your search engine and you can pick from any number of themes.  Have your child try to guess what the image will be before they complete the activity.

Figure-GroundHidden picture activities are a perfect example of figure-ground skills.  This skill involves differentiating between non-essential background information and key forms and objects.  This is closely linked to visual closure and it used for daily skills such as locating a toy in a toybox or finding a pair of shoes among many.

Activity:  Time for a scavenger hunt – use puzzle pieces, board game pieces, non-perishable ingredients needed for a recipe, stuffed animals, etc.  Start by hiding the objects in one room only, or one part of the room and work towards larger areas.  To increase the challenge, look for color similarities, such as  placing a blue game piece on or around a blue pillow.

Visual Tracking This is an occulomotor skill that allows the individual to fixate on a moving object, such as a ball being thrown, or to fluidly move the eyes across a line of text without losing his place.

Activity:  Play “torch tag”.  Gather two flashlights and sit together in a darkened room.  Have your flashlights play tag.  Start by having your child’s flashlight be “It” and try to tag your light beam on the ceiling or walls.  Switch roles after you have been tagged.

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