Weavable Toys: Basic Shapes by Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR, The RecyclingOT

Weavable Toys: Basic Shapes by The RecyclingOT, Barbara A. Smith, MS, OTR/L, caught my eye because I have reviewed Barbara Smith’s other books for our Special Needs Book Review site and Barbara took part in our Author Interview Series. The  links to these and where to buy them are at the end of this post. Today it is my pleasure to tell you about The RecyclingOT’s newest product, Weaveable Toys: Basic Shapes.

From Flapping to Function: A Parent’s Guide to Autism and Hand Skills by Barbara Smith, MS, ORT/LPlease note: We are updating this post on November 25th 2016 with links about Barbara Smith’s newest book:


“Weavable Toys: Basic Shapes

by Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR, the RecyclingOT”

I brought the Weaveable Toys out for my grandchildren to play with and saw first-hand all the many activities you can do using Ms. Smith’s new innovative, therapy tool.  First, let me tell you what you get when you buy the set. At the moment, these patent pending Weaveable Toys come in a very handy carry bag that closes securely and has an opening in the folded top so little hands can carry it around safely.

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Each set of Weavable Toys: Basic Shapes includes:

1. Four black shape boards (rectangle, square, circle, and triangle)

2. White weaving strips for each board

3.  Eighteen colorful, plastic shapes to weave onto the strips or onto the strips and boards

How to use the Weavable Toys :

The possibilities are endless!  They can be used with young typically developing children or older children or adults with fine-motor or learning challenges.  The Weavable Toys are designed to be used in a variety of ways depending on the abilities of the person using them.  As one skill is successfully acquired the child can be challenged to try other ways to use the Weaveable Toys.

Teachers, parents and therapists can just adapt tasks according to the child’s abilities and interests.  To promote success try to find “just right challenges” that are not too difficult so they give up or not too easy so they become bored.  Adding more complex tasks with the Weaveable Toys  as the child develops skills will keep the child’s interest.

The beautifully designed Weavable Toys are perfect for practicing “In and Out” weaving skills as Barbara intended but the colorful materials can also be used in countless ways.  They are easy to manipulate and eye-catching for young children.  All edges are smooth and rounded and the material used is durable enough to be washed with soap and water.

 Square shape - Weavable Toys: Basic Shapes by Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR, the RecyclingOT

Some Activities starting with the easiest to the hardest tasks:

  • Removing the shapes from the white strips
  • Removing the shapes from the white strips that have been woven onto the boards
  • Weaving the shapes on the white strips
  • Copying patterns of shapes on the white strips
  • Weaving the white strips on the boards without using the shapes
  • Weaving the shapes into the strips on the boards

Weaving the shapes into the strips on the boards - Weavable Toys: Basic Shapes by Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR, the RecyclingOT

  • Copying patterns of other boards or pictures of boards

Children using these Weavable Toys require advanced motor planning skills as they need to discriminate spatial, size and length relationships in order to fit pieces together and copy patterns. It helps develop fine motor skill. Developing finger dexterity and finger strength helps in buttoning clothes.

Even language skills are developed when the adult playing with the child uses the correct shape names and uses directionality terms as they weave “in” and “out”, “across”, “up” and “down” , “horizontal” and “vertical”.

Games can be invented to learn the colors, to match colors, for shape recognition, to learn sequencing…

Math concepts can be developed by having the children count “three red  shapes” or “four purple stars”.

Use the Weavable Toys as a hand fidget to help calm a child.

As my grandchildren were playing with the Weavable Toys I could hear, “Look at the pattern I made” or “Look, this resembles an arrow” or “Can you make one like this?”  So they were also developing their creativity.

Like Barbara Smith…….would say, “Happy Weaving to all of you!”

The History of Weavable Toys with Barbara Smith

 Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR, the RecyclingOT - inventor of Weavable ToysAbout  Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR, The RecyclingOT 

Taken from Barbara Smith’s web site: “I have worked for over twenty years developing activities for children and adults with developmental and learning disabilities. It all began after graduating from the State University of New York at New Paltz with a B.A. in English.

After working with developmentally disabled adults in community residences, day habilitation centers and sheltered workshops, I realized that the field of occupational therapy would offer opportunities for professional advancement and creativity.

While working as an occupational therapist at the Hogan Regional Center in Danvers, Massachusetts I observed that manyThe Recycling Occupational Therapist: Hundreds of Simple Therapy Materials You Can Make. by Barbara Smith, MS, OTR/Lof the activities designed for children were not appropriate for the aging population of developmentally disabled individuals. Yet, these individuals did not possess the motor and cognitive abilities to perform activities designed for adults. The solution was to make my own activities and the cheapest way to do so was by using common household recyclable objects such as soda and laundry bottles, card-board boxes, rubber bands and newspaper.

The activities were so successful I decided to put them into print and thus, my writing career had begun with the publication of The Recycling Occupational Therapist: Hundreds of Simple Therapy Materials You Can Make.

The Almost Complete Plastic Bottle Activity Book Kindle Edition by Barbara SmithFollow Barbara A. Smith, MS, OTR/L, The RecyclingOT:

READ Also: 

From Rattles to Writing: A Parent’s Guide to Hand Skills by Barbara A. Smith, MS, OTR/LBuy Books and Weaveable Toys by Barbara A. Smith, MS, OTR/L

  • From Flapping to Function: A Parent’s Guide to Autism and Hand Skills Amazon.com   Amazon.ca
  • The Recycling Occupational Therapist: Hundreds of Simple Therapy Materials You Can Make :  Amazon.com  Amazon.ca