As we have seen on the page about using an Active Learning approach at home, expensive equipment is not a prerequisite to getting started!  The video below shows how a simple bath mat and water beads can be an interesting and developmentally appropriate activity, without need for any specialized equipment. 


Voozeki with Bathmat & Beads

Description: A boy with cerebral palsy is seated outside in his wheelchair. On his lap tray is a spiky, gel bathmat with water beads.  Please note that this activity is not recommended for someone who puts things in his mouth.


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Voozeki with Red Garland

Description: Voozeki with Red Garland. Video courtesy of the Gardea family, 2018.

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Comparing Similar Items

A typically developing infant or toddler is constantly moving, touching, mouthing, smelling, looking, and listening.  A child spends a great amount of time in the first two years of life playing, experiencing and exploring with toys and objects.  It is the method by which all humans develop foundational concepts.  Through play, a child learns about size, shape, temperature, texture, flexibility, and density.  A child gains cognitive skills such as spatial relations, object concept, object permanence, and begins to develop problem solving skills.  A child will learn about the function of an object, compare qualities, understand quantity and begin to develop language skills.  The individual with special needs must also have opportunities to master these skills, an Active Learning environment will provide this opportunity. 

A young boy compares balls of different sizes  comparables rollers

In the images above, a young boy examines sets of objects:  a variety of different types of small balls on the left and a group of different hair rollers on the right. Exploring them and playing with them allows him to compare them and learn about their various properties.  (Watch the video to see him playing with these.) Courtesy of SKI-HI Institute.

Video of Child Comparing Items While Sitting in His High Chair

Description: In Active Learning, foundational concepts are developed through exploration of similar objects. This video, produced by SKI-HI Institute, demonstrates how a young boy with a visual impairment explores the properties of similar objects.

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 gel beads collage