Primary Market
Health, Occupational Therapy
Character Focus
Gross Motor Skills, Cognitive Skills
Items Needed
1 Toobeez set, digital camera (optional for activity variation), paper and pen (optional for activity variation), tape (optional for activity variation)
The Activity Time
30 - 60 minutes


  • Improve visual-perceptual skills
  • Improve visual-motor skills
  • Strengthen planning, sequencing and solving skills by participation in a self-correcting activity
  • Improve bilateral-coordination and upper extremity use during construction
  • Strengthen visual memory and short-term memory
The Challenge

Copy a design using the visual and tactile systems. No auditory instructions will be provided.


Time: 5 minutes


  • 1 Toobeez set
  • digital camera (optional for activity variation)
  • paper and pen (optional for  activity variation)
  • tape (optional for activity variation)


1. Divide the Toobeez set in half. The therapist and child should have the same exact pieces.

Activity Plan

Time: 30 – 60 minutes

Instruction: Individual or pairs

Space: Tabletop or floor space (about the size of a gym mat)

Helpful Hints

  • Be sure to review these tips prior to beginning the activity, and if necessary, share reminders with the group during the activity.
  • Do not allow the child to see the shape or the design that you are creating. The child that will be constructing the design or structure should be presented with the finished product and he/she must plan where to begin.
  • At first, choose simple designs such as shapes or alternating patterns of colors in a straight line so the child can feel successful. Then move on to more difficult shapes, designs, patterns and structures.
  • Find a quiet area to minimize auditory distractions. This activity requires concentration and the less environmental distractions, the better the results.

Activity Instructions

1. With younger children, and if necessary with older children, review the concept of shapes such as square, triangle and rectangle (shapes that are able to be created when using the Toobeez product).

2. With younger children, and if necessary with older children, review the colors of the Toobeez pieces.

Therapist Note

For children with visual impairments, review size concepts. Label the Toobeez as different sizes such as small (11” Toobeez), medium (16” Toobeez), large (24” Toobeez), and extra large (36” Toobeez). If using all four tubes is difficult for the child, choose only two sizes (such as 11” and 24” tubes) and label them as short and long or small and large.

3. With younger children, and if necessary with older children, review directional concepts of left and right, up and down, away from and toward, and straight and veer.

4. Read the following Activity Challenge Box.

Challenge: Copy a design using the visual and tactile systems. No auditory instructions will be provided.

5. Without the child looking, the therapist should create a shape, design or structure. The difficulty of the design can increase by increasing the number of pieces used.

6. Once the therapist has completed the design, the child should then be instructed to copy the design using the same number and sizes of pieces. The therapist should not provide auditory instruction as this activity is designed to strengthen visual and tactile systems.

7. When the activity is completed, move on to the Discussion and Processing questions.

Therapist Assessment

  • Supports classroom/academic goals of improving body awareness, pattern recognition, spatial awareness and concepts of shapes and sizes. All of these skills support math concepts.
  • Supports classroom/academic goals of improving visual-motor and visual-perceptual skills (to help with tasks such as copying homework from the chalkboard to a piece of paper).

Activity Discussion and Processing

Use the questions below as a guide for your discussion. Select the questions you feel will best benefit your child/student. It is not mandatory to cover every question. Make sure to let everyone share their ideas, and remind participants that everyone’s opinions and feelings are important!
Work through the following questions:
  • What was easy or hard about this activity?
  • What frustrated you during this activity?
  • What do you now know about yourself from this activity? For example, do you need your teacher to repeat instructions or re-word your instructions for homework to be able to understand them? Do you need more time to think about instructions to best understand what you have been asked to do?

Here are available Training Options!

Activity Variations

1. Decrease the difficulty.
Use fewer Toobeez pieces and provide the students with the exact pieces that they need to use. This can decrease feelings of being overwhelmed when it is time to pick out the correct pieces from a larger pile of Toobeez pieces.

2. Increase the difficulty.

Use a snapshot approach to the activity. When presenting the child with the design to copy, allow them to study it for up to five seconds (increase the time for a more difficult design). Once they have studied the design, remove it from their field of vision and ask them to reproduce the design from memory.

3. Increase the difficulty.

Take a picture of a few designs using a digital camera and print them out. Ask the student to create the 3-D design from a two-dimensional picture.

4. Increase the difficulty.

If a digital camera is not available, draw a shape, design or structure on a piece of paper. Label the sides with the color of the Toobeez you would like them to use. Ask students to create the three-dimensional design from the two-dimensional model that is drawn on the paper.

5. Increase the difficulty.

To further challenge visual-motor and visual-perceptual skills, use Variations #2 & #3. Tape the pictures on a vertical surface such as a wall or chalkboard. The child must then re-create the design on a horizontal surface (such as the floor or a tabletop). This requires the child to shift his/her eye gaze. In addition, the brain must interpret the picture from a different plane than the plane in which the child is working.

6. For children who use wheelchairs.

Tape the picture of Variation #2 & #3 to a vertical surface. Ask the child to study the picture as in Variation #1. Allow the child approximately five seconds (depending on the difficulty of the design) to study the picture, and then take the picture away. Instruct the child to reproduce the picture with a set of Toobeez by relying on his/her short-term memory.

7. For children who use wheelchairs.<

If working in pairs, ask one student to create a shape or structure without the other student watching. When completed, ask the other student to copy the first student’s design.  See the example pictures below.

Student creates a design.

Student creates a design.

Student copies the original design.

Student copies the original design.

Candice Donnelly-Knox is a licensed and registered occupational therapist with over three years of experience. She has experience working with students (ages 3 to 21) with a variety of needs including Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, Cerebral Palsy and Down syndrome etc. Candice is dedicated to providing each student with an individualized plan to address their unique educational needs; needs that may include activities of daily living, coping skills, reading and handwriting, and functional math skills such as money management, pre-vocational and vocational skills.
All Activities of Candice Donnelly-Knox

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