Purpose: To strengthen convergence and near accommodative skills, and concentration and self-control.
Materials/Equipment: Marbles of various sizes. ‘Marble Track’ – Use anything that can be used as a track for the marble. Use grooves in furniture (like coffee tables), in the spines of books, or use objects to create an enclosed track to guide the marble. Frequently the grout lines in floor tiles, or the grooves in linoleum work very nicely.
Experiment with different sizes of marbles in the track to make things easier or harder; it is recommended that you try to make this as easy as possible to begin with, see below. You could use paper towel tubing, cut lengthwise in quarters or thirds and tape these together to create a simple track of perhaps 3- 4 feet in length, depending on how you divide the tube lengthwise.
Simple Start: Get the biggest hardcover book you have. If you have a set of large hardcover books, you can grab a few so long as they’re the same size.
With the books closed and with all jackets removed, place the books end-to-end with the spines aligned so they create a continuous channel. If you have only one large, long book, just use that.
Position the book(s) in front the child, with the ‘groove’ running left to right, not away from the child – he must be able to get close enough to the book/groove to be able to blow the marble.
Position the marble near the end of the groove on the left side (alternate between turns). The child is to learn how to blow the marble across the spine. You can simply let the marble drop on the other end, or place a piece of clay on the end to act as a bumper. Try with different books, and different marbles to see what works best. Have the child explore his options with different marbles, maybe make some more complex tracks.
Note: ‘Hot Wheels’ tracks can be easy to find and inexpensive, along with marbles at most toy stores. Fun long tracks can be created, as can new variations on the game.
Have the child do this from time to time for 5 – 10 minutes as part of your lessons. If you like, you can make it a bit of a competition, but be careful – you can probably blow a lot harder than a young child! So, remember to keep it fair, or simply let the child win ‘most’ of the time!
- Control of marble by breath control for increasing length of time.
- Ability to control eye movements and visual attention while controlling marble.
- Ability to hold fixation on the ball with both eyes, at all positions on the track.
- Be sure to vary positions held on the track, as well as speed and length of track covered.