Matthew played with the Easy-Grip Pegs & Pegboard for the first time when his developmental therapist in the Early Intervention program brought this to our house. He was 2 years old. It was initially used for developing hand-eye coordination and improving his finger and hand grasps on small objects. As Matthew has a relatively great attention span, getting him to sit for this activity was not a problem.
But he initially was not drawn to the pegs. It was love at first bite with the foam pegboard. He just loved to mouth it and bite it. We redirected his chewing to putting a few pegs into the holes, hand over hand and always ending on a good successful note - one guided peg in was a success. Keeping the activity short, simple, frustration-free and seemed to be the keys to holding his interest, especially for the next time she brought this toy.
Over time, he was liking this toy so much that I included it in his Christmas wishlist in 2009, afterwhich he got his very own set from Beyond Play. He also eventually outgrew the desire to bite the pegboard.
To date, Matthew has used this for:
- putting pegs in holes
- stacking as high as Matthew can stack
- learning colors
- sorting colors, playing same and different
Sequencing is another activity for these pegs but we haven't tried that yet. He is now 38 months old.
Tackling Fine Motor and Gross Motor Simultaneously
Lately, with Elizabeth getting more mobile and more interested in Matthew's toys, I've been using this to help her practice get from sitting to kneeling and reaching for pegs to pull out of the board. I taped the pegboard to the back of a whiteboard, just slightly out of her reach.
She just turned 8 months old today and requires only a tiny bit of support while kneeling since she does not have low muscle tone (hypotonia) like Matthew. At 8 months of age, Matthew was nowhere near crawling and he could sit with boppy pillow support. Needless to say, Matthew would not have been able to do this at 8 months, maybe at 13 months.
When developmentally ready and if we had this toy when Matthew was younger, this would've been a good one to use for leg and hip strength by moving from sitting on heels to a full kneeling position instead of the full range of motion (full sit to full kneel). And with good support to make sure he was not using any compensatory movements during the activity. I did something similar when encouraging him to pull up to stand with a vertical surface using the Leapfrog Fridge DJ as his motivator.
I actually learned the tip to stick the pegboard on a vertical surface from Matthew's preschool teacher. I saw it in his classroom and his teacher said it helps with wrist movement leading up to writing. I tried it and the wrist is certainly angled differently when working with a vertical surface compared to a horizontal surface.
Overall, a great educational and developmental toy with no bells and whistles. I'm glad we have it.
Toy Review Tuesday: Leapfrog Fridge DJ