The team at Achievement Products asked our consultant, Occupational Therapist Scott Russo, to provide some activity suggestions for incorporating some of our favorite items into daily classroom activities or curriculum.
Scott has provided some really great and creative ways to use items (that may have been originally designed for typically developing children), in special needs environments.
Today we will look at the Music Blocks.
These blocks provide immediate motivation for engaging children across a wide age range. Each block is colored and contains a short melody from 3 different song selections. Each of the colored blocks plays a different part of the melody from a classical, world beat or jazz piece. And the shapes on each block are coded to play a different style of music from vocals to instrumental to orchestral. So the blocks can be mixed and matched to create over a million combinations! Even at its highest volume, the music is played at a level that will be non-threatening to the sensory challenged child. The blocks are perfect for developing fine motor, sequencing, and other pre-academic skills. They can also be used as a calming source for sensory challenges.
- Develop grasp and release skills. For the babies or toddlers, simply have them pick the block up and try to place it in a square. The musical response of a successful trial lends the motivation for continued trials.
- Work on the in-hand manipulation skill of rotation. Once the child has the grasp and release mastered, increase the challenge by requiring them to rotate the block with one hand to find a specific shape for a different musical arrangement.
- Develop matching skills. Have the child rotate each block until the shapes are matching. Again, the musical arrangement will naturally indicate the correct answer.
- Develop pre-academic skills. Identify a target color and have the child find the correct block for placement or identify a target shape and have him/her rotate each individual block for shape identification.
- Develop sequencing skills. Place the blocks in order so that the melodies will play in the correct sequence. Have the child listen to the sequence and then rearrange the blocks. Then have the child try to re-create the correct sequence. Modify the activity by playing the correct sequence and then remove all the blocks from the base before having the child re-create the sequence. For the advanced stage, have the child cover his/her eyes while you arrange any sequence and then try to re-create the sequence based on only auditory input.
- Develop memory skills. Place the blocks in any order and allow the child to see and hear the sequence. Then remove the blocks and have the child try to re-create the original sequence.
- These blocks are perfect for use with children who get easily overstimulated. Free play with the blocks in a quiet portion of any room is an excellent method for calming the sensory challenged child.