Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Review: Bridge to Learning (Part 1)

I am thrilled to be publishing the first product review on this blog!

About the reviewer:

Joanne van der Merwe [BScOccTher (UCT) and MOccTher (Stellenbosch University)]
E-mail: mj3@telkomsa.net
Cell: 072 218 3667

Joanne is an occupational therapist and mother of two precious girls. I met her at one of my recent exhibitions and since she waxed lyrical about Bridge to Learning, I asked her if she would be so kind as to contribute a review on it. She agreed and a while later I received an e-mail from her, asking if it's OK if she does it in three parts, because, in her own words: "There is so much I want to share about the product that I fear the review will turn into a 500 word essay!" Thanks, Joanne!!

(Part One: Peg board)

Price: R175

This is what you get in a Bridge to Learning set.


AGE GROUP:  SMILE recommends 5+ years (but there are uses for even younger children)


Bridge To Learning contains :

Pegboard with coloured pegs and pegboard cards

Logi shapes (different shapes in a variety of colours) and logi cards

• 1 colour dice and 1 shape dice

• Laces

• Touch and count cubes

Dinkie Early Writing fun book


Description : The child is expected to follow the pegboard cards and place coloured pegs into the pegboard to make the same design as that represented on the card.

Skills that can potentially be developed

 • Fine motor skills (hand grasps)

• Position-In-Space

• Visual-spatial skills

• Eye-hand coordination

• Planning/organisational skills

• Number and colour concept

• Left-Right discrimination

• Sequencing skills

• Creativity

Some alternative ideas

• With younger children (under supervision of an adult to avoid choking on small parts): The pegs can be used to develop colour concept by matching the same coloured pegs. Picking up the pegs between the thumb and index/middle fingers develops the grasps needed for pencil manipulation. If the child struggles to place the pegs into the pegboard, let him/her drop them in an ice tray or egg box. Let them place pegs of the same colour in the different compartments (colour concept). Let them place 1 peg in each, then 2 pegs in each etc to develop number concept.

• Roll the colour dice (part of the package) and let your child find the same colour peg and place it in the pegboard as another idea for developing colour concept. You can also play a game whereby you and your child each choose a colour and see who can get a certain number of pegs in their pegboard first. If you choose ‘red’, you must roll a red on the dice in order to place a peg in your row.

• Creativity can also be tapped into by encouraging your child to create his/her own designs with the pegs.

• Sequencing skills (important for numeracy and literacy) can be developed through creating a specific sequence of coloured pegs which your child needs to replicate or extend.

• To develop position-in-space and left-right discrimination, give your child specific instructions to follow e.g “Place a red peg in one of the top holes, a blue peg underneath it, a green peg in the bottom right corner” etc

• Uses the laces (provided in the package) to thread through the holes of the pegboard.

• Put some playdoh (rolled flat) under the pegboard and then get your child to copy the design on the pegboard. Pushing the pegs into the playdoh will help to strengthen little fingers. Once you lift the pegboard up, the pattern made by the pegs can be seen in the playdoh. Younger children can even just push the pegs directly into the playdoh


 The materials are very durable (I’ve had my pegboard for many years!).

Additional pegs can be bought separately.

Take precautions with younger children to prevent choking on small parts.
I love pegboards and use it all the time in therapy as there are so many different things you can do with the activity. It is a ‘must have’ in any home.

PS: Just to add a footnote to Joanne's great review: The pattern cards for the peg board has a column on the right which tells you WHAT the exercise is about, the SKILLS the child will master by doing it, and then it has some very good QUESTIONS for LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT. The crad for the flower design featured above, reads as follows:

Basic Shapes: Circles

1. Recognizing and naming circles.
Tracing circles.

Language Development:
1. How many flowers are there?
2. If you take one of the flowers away, how many flowers will you have left on your pegboard?
3. Where is the stem of the flower?
4. Point to the leaf.
5.What colour is the leaf and the stem?
6. What is the shape of the flowers?

To order your child's Bridge To Learning, please e-mail me at joyfulmama@telkomsa.net

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