I am on an unending quest to find good, yet functional educational recreational toys for my blind and Visually Impaired students. So many toys out on the market are very visual or have too many moving parts to keep track of. After playing with a Bop It toy at a friend’s house, it hit me. I realized that the device was self-contained, it didn’t have any loose parts that could get lost, and it is all tactual and auditory. Alas, I had found the “perfect toy” for my high school age, totally blind student. She also has some orthopedic deficits, so I figured that this would be the toy to try (I had already consulted with her OT about recreational activities for the student and we were both actively looking for options).
I had decided to try a Bop It Micro with her as a warm up to our brailing activities. The Bop It Micro is a perfect size as it can be held easily and securely in one hand while the other hand operates the knobs.
The first time that I allowed my student to interact with the Bop It Micro, she required a brief orientation to the device. It was simply, press the black circular panel (button) on the front of the device (“Bop it” command), twist the yellow knob at the top of the device (“Twist it”), and pull the blue knob at the bottom of the device (“Pull it”). I used hand over hand to demonstrate how the game was played. After about 5 trials, I allowed her to experiment with the device on her own. She was able to figure out the concept of the game and was able to get 5 points independently (each correct command completed equals 1 point).
Here is a video demonstration of how the Bop It Micro works.
[Video Information: Bop It Mini is being held in the left hand on the "pull it" lever. The right hand moves between touching the Bop It button (top center of device) and the Twist It (lever on the opposite end of the device). The player pushed the Bop It button to start the game, then listens carefully to the instruction. They player tries to quickly complete the action. If the wrong action is made, the game is over.]
There is a “solo mode” and a “pass it” mode that can be played with another person.
General Benefits of the Bop It Game
Bop It is a listening, fine motor, and brain training game. The areas of benefits include (all claims gathered from various online resources):
- Hand-Eye coordination
- Eye Muscles
- Processing Speed/Enhances speed of information processing and responding.
- Sustained Attention/ builds attention and concentration/Selective Attention/ Improved focus
- Auditory Processing/ encourages active listening
- Sensory Motor Integration/Stimulates motor skills
- Honed ability to follow directions
- Thinking and reasoning skills
- Memory retention
- “Similar to SIMON, Bop It! gives you commands, and to keep the game going, you do what was told. It doesn’t take long for this game to get difficult, but the required focus is certainly giving your brain a workout.” Source: Learning Lift Off
- “I now see the potential in this game to build fine motor, gross motor, social and cognitive skills. I also see it being used to encourage social interactions and build frustration tolerance, as well as improving coordination and strength.” Source: Gotta Be OT
- “[Bop it] is excellent to help children develop their auditory processing skills. It requires quick processing. Most children really enjoy this game and their friends will want to do it too. For kids that have trouble with hand-eye coordination, this is a great toy. It also builds eye muscles." Source: Your Family Clinic
- “Processing Speed, Sustained Attention, Selective Attention, Auditory Processing, and Sensory Motor Integration” Source: Learning Rx
- “Bop It stimulates motor skills, builds attention and concentration, and enhances speed of information processing and responding. Bop It also encourages active listening and hones your ability to follow directions. The game instructs you to do one of three things: to Pull It, Twist It or Bop It. You must listen closely to the directions – that can sound jumbled because of the music that goes along with the game. As you play, the speed at which Bop It issues the commands increases.” Source: Cognitive Action
- “Studies have shown that games that improve hand eye coordination as well as thinking and reasoning skills and even memory retention. Students who have these skills will have much better grades overall. Hand eye coordination is also important to help them with athletics at every level.” Article Source: Exine Articles
Bop it for the Blind
- “Bop It has become one of the most popular handheld games for the blind.” Source: AFB
Blind male playing Bop It XT
[Video Information: Bop It XT is a larger device with additional features. The device, which is in a print Z shape, has holding handles for the right and left hands. On each corner of the device is a unique lever; the Bop it is a button in the center of the device. In this video, the blind boy holds the device in both hands and moves his right hand to Bop It, Flick It, Spin It, Twist It, Pull It and Shake it. (The Shake it command means to shake the entire device.)]
Check out the Bop It Micro here.
Check out the full size Bop it game here.
Check out the Bop It XT here.
Do you know of any additional recreational toys, games, and/or activities that are good for blind and visually impaired students and clients? Please comment below!