Posts tagged ‘visual perceptual skills’

Choosing the Right Coloring Pages

Many of the children we see in our clinics struggle with coloring skills.  Whether the difficulty is rooted in poor fine motor control, visual perceptual skills, attention or regulation, it is common to see a child begin coloring a page with good intentions, then end up scribbling or abandoning the task.  We are careful to present the children with a coloring page with a “just right challenge”, but there are an abundance of free printable coloring pages online.  Here are some of the things we look for.

  • Choose a topic or character your child is interested in. He may be more motivated to color a picture of a Lego Ninjago character than a holiday themed page.
  • Look for bold outlines. Children who have difficulty with the motor control necessary to efficiently direct their crayon will benefit from the extra “wiggle room” between sections, while children with visual perceptual difficulties may be able to better identify different areas of the picture.
  • Find pages with little or no background detail at first. Check out the difference between these two images. Both are Lightning McQueen, but a child with decreased attention or ability to maintain a regulated state may give up on the more detailed picture before it is finished.

detailed lightning simple lightning

  • Encourage your child to choose one area at a time to fill in.  If your child needs help to stay organized, ask questions like “What color should his tires be?”   Praise your child for his effort and make some room on the refrigerator for the masterpiece.

Why Childhood Games Matter: Memory

In an age of electronic entertainment and plugged-in play, many classic childhood games are being pushed aside. However, these classic games provide key benefits for child development. In this series of posts, we will explore how these “unplugged” activities are more than just child’s play.

playing memory


Time to clear some room on the table and pull out a set of Memory cards.  Perhaps the most evident skill this game addresses is visual memory, the ability to mentally store information in order to retrieve it for later recall.  Other visual perceptual skills practiced include discrimination (recognizing the image, matching images and categorization of the images) and tracking (scanning the entire field of cards).  Flipping over the cards requires efficient grasp, forearm rotation and release.  Children practice turn taking skills and can work on appropriate social interactions by encouraging another player.  For a personal touch, print out snapshots of familiar people, places or toys as the memory cards.

4 Fun Visual Perceptual Activities

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.