EGWs6uuBZ3pp-zGuVVdmeLgkJG4 Across the Avenue: STEM Toys: Targeting Speech, Language, and Occupational Therapy Goals using Blu Track

STEM Toys: Targeting Speech, Language, and Occupational Therapy Goals using Blu Track

In our therapy clinic, we're always looking for ways to incorporate STEM activities into our sessions. Not only are they incredibly motivating for kids, they often help close the gaps in skills we are targeting by tying them into academic concepts. Even our youngest kids benefit greatly from age-appropriate STEM activities! This week, we're excited to share about one of our latest and incredibly versatile finds, Blu Track! Blu Track is a premium, patented, flexible, two-lane race track that brings hours of fun and creativity while exploring cause and effect and problem-solving opportunities. Even better, it's made right here in the USA.

About Blu Track
We wish we would have found Blu Track sooner because it has been such a hit with our kids. It encourages imagination, creativity, and fosters a love for experimentation in a very natural way. Unlike other race tracks that are set to work in one way only, this set allow your children to design the race and learn a whole lot about motion, cause and effect, and problem-solving while they do it. It's truly a toy that allows kids to think outside of the box and explore what works and what doesn't as they play.rages creativity and experimentation AND teaches concepts like force and motion at the same time! It's a fantastic set to have at home and becomes the ultimate center activity or physic lab in the classroom. Because it all fits in one convenient travel-friendly box, kids can take it to the park, friends' and relatives' houses, and even to school with no hassle at all.

If you are a teacher and you're considering purchasing this for your own classroom, be sure to check out the 'Resources' page on Blu Track's site. They even provide ready-made Lab Data Sheets and Assessment Sheets that you can print off and use in the classroom. Great for hands-on lessons to explore the laws of physics. As a former elementary school teacher, we introduced Newton's Laws to kids as young as First Grade. You can see how Blu Track would be the perfect complement to a unit like that! Check out this video to get an idea of all of the cool ways you can use Blu Track!

Suggested Uses during Therapy Sessions
We love to use STEM activities to get our speech, language and occupational therapy kiddos engaged and motivated during sessions. We've been so impressed with how excited and engaged our kids have been when given the opportunity to use Blu Track. It's been such a game changer in getting articulation repetitions and targeting language skills such as describing actions and attributes, identifying and using prepositions, sequencing, comparing and contrasting, cause and effect, problem solving, explaining steps in a process...I could go on and on! It's so easy to apply this set to our toddler and preschooler goals and then adjust the complexity of our play to match the needs of our older learners. Below are a few of our favorite uses:

  • Articulation Hierarchy: No matter if you're targeting sounds in isolation or moving up the hierarchy from words to phrases, to sentences, this track lends itself easily to tons of repetitions. Kids are so eager to race the cars, that they love producing repetitions of the target card we place at the top of the ramp as a build up to letting the cars zoom down the track they've helped to design.
  • Prepositions: Our kids LOVE to practice prepositions while we design the layout of the track. I often add plastics tunnels and tubes that I have from other games, but cardboard boxes and cut paper towel rolls can give the same effect. We decide if the pieces are going to 'under', 'over', or  'on top' and if the track is going to go 'in back of' or 'in front of' different objects in the room. We also use pieces from my town play set to place trees and animals 'next to', 'away from', 'near' and 'between' each other and the track. When it's time to use the cars, we talk about whether they are moving 'toward' or 'away' from the starting line, other objects, the finish line, etc.
  • Describing Actions and Attributes: Focusing on use of action words is easy with Blu Track. We often use words such as 'go', 'roll', 'drive', 'stop', 'crash', 'fall', 'win', 'lose', 'tie', etc. when describing the actions of the cars and use adjectives to describe them such as 'fast', 'slow', 'speedy', 'quick', 'heavy', 'thin', 'wide', colors, etc. Depending on the child's level it's easy to target single words, phrases, or sentences. There's so much to talk about when using this set and kids are really motivated to do so!
  • Sequencing and Cause/Effect: We love to practice basic 'first/next/last' skills with little ones and it's even more fun to have older kids predict what's going to happen, then explain the sequence of events. I often map out the predictions and sequencing with older kids on a white board, then connect it to cause and effect discussions. It's fun to see how kids envision their set up going in their mind and compare it to actual outcomes. We had a lot of really great discussions while targeting their language skills.

These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg! The possibilities really seem endless with Blu Track. If you decide to order a set for yourself, we'd love to see what you come up with! Be sure to tags us on Instagram to share your inventive ideas.

Where to Purchase
Head over to Blu Track to browse their entire selection and expansion sets for delivery right to your door! Be sure to check out their monthly specials, too!

Connect with Blu Track

Disclosure: This product was provided by Blu Track. As always, our posts are our own opinions.