When we went to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) conference this year we saw this great toy that one of the vendors was selling. It’s called the Un-Block. I of course had to get it because I love any type of building toy and thought it looked like such a novel idea. (Since I’m a PT, I was crossing my fingers that the OT’s would be able to use it.) Luckily our OT’s have been using this toy and were able to give me some feedback on what they were using it for.
The biggest thing they said kids had a challenge with was motor planning how to connect the pieces. Because it is a precise fit and the pieces slide together, many kids found this challenging and required hand over hand assist while working on the motor planning. A lot of times they just wanted to snap them together (similar to legos) but they won’t connect that way.
Another challenge was lining the pieces up together in order to slide. Currently the pieces are all the same color so it requires increased use of the visual system to get accurate alignment as well as precision. Several kids would get it close and then keep attempting in the same spot, so they required assistance to problem solve and make adjustments so that the pieces would fit together. We talked about that it would be great if the blocks were different colors or had the interlocking parts defined out by a color/boundary. This is easy enough to add on your own if you think your kids would benefit from this.
This toy also allows kids to work on their grasps, such as the three jaw chuck or pincer grasp, when picking up the pieces and manipulating them such that they fit together. In addition, the get to work on fine motor control, precision and coordination.
Lastly, they get to have fun with their imagination and build things!
While talking about the pieces being different colors we were also brainstorming that kids could do patterning, or create additional designs, or just get the visual assist that may be needed.
Have any of you played with this toy? If so, how are you using it?