The U-play mat is a “U” shaped mat with pockets that can be used for improving speech, language, and pragmatic skills. It looks like a simple mat, but it is actually a great way to engage a child. Moreover, it takes the child away from the television, and without having all the bells and whistles that many toys have nowadays. Overall, using the U-play mat is a very good way to increase attention during regular day-to-day play. It is used on the floor and entails putting different picture cards into the pockets, while working on different skills during play with the child. The deck of cards that are used are colorful, appealing and look quite child-friendly. Neverthless, I am sure that you can use any deck of of picture cards (e.g., to work on a specific sound, to introduce the child’s favorite character (e.g., Dora, Elmo), etc.). The U-play mat website recommends that the child sits on the inside of the “U,” and that the parent/therapist/sibling sits just on the outside facing the child; however, for a fun twist, once a child can master a skill, depending on the child’s age and abilities, I would turn the tables and let the child be the “teacher.” This mixes up the skills necessary for the activity and changes up the routine, thereby giving the child new experiences to help faciliatetheir cognitive development and growth.
The “U-Play mat” October 2, 2009