Tuesday, June 4, 2013

{Review} U-PLAY Mat by Stages Learning Materials

I'm always intrigued by products that encourage a new twist on therapy, which is why I was excited to try out the "U-PLAY Mat for Education" by Stages Learning Materials!

The sturdy, vinyl mat that comes with this product includes 10 large, clear pockets for flashcards.  The "U" shape of the mat (picture taken from the child's perspective) allows a student to sit inside of the opening which promotes eye contact and face-to-face interaction.  The student is able to turn in any direction to access the pockets and is able to easily interact with the therapist at the same time.

The U-PLAY Mat also comes with two packs of flashcards.  Each pack contains 50 cards (25 pairs) of themed cards - animals and food items.

On one side of the card is a picture of the item and the name of the item.

On the other side of the card are a few facts about the item.

Here's what the mat looks like when it has been filled with flashcards and is ready to use!

The product comes with an activity guide that includes many different ways to use the mat.  This page discusses different ways to use the mat to increase a student's categorization skills.

Also included in this activity book are well-organized, reproducible data sheets that can be used to efficiently track a student's progress.

Ways to use the U-PLAY Mat for speech-language therapy:
- Receptive Object Identification: Fill the pockets with flashcards, name an item and have the child hand you the corresponding flashcard.
- Expressive Object Naming: Point to an object and have the child name it.
- Categorization: Fill the pockets with flashcards and ask the student to give you various category items (e.g. "fruit", "vegetable", "cold item", "orange item", "zoo animal", "farm animal", etc)
- Attributes: Played like "I Spy", students take turns describing objects in the pockets with attributes while others guess which item is being described.
- Facts and Opinions: Using the facts on the backs of the cards as well as their own knowledge about the item, students take turns stating facts and opinions about an object.  The other students in the group decide if the sentence is a fact or an opinion.

One con:  I would have liked for the flashcards to be a bit more sturdy as they were easily bent during use.

You can find out more information about this $49.99 U-PLAY Mat by checking out Stages Learning Materials HERE!

Disclaimer: This product was given to me for review.  No other compensation was provided.

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