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Explore Outside! Part 1 - Vision: Visual Scanning

Crocus flowers with a bee in one of the flowers.For children with usable vision, it is important to develop visual efficiency skills such as visually attending, shift of gaze, scanning, visual discrimination and visual motor skills.

Today’s activity focuses on visual scanning.

When exploring the environment outside, you can teach visual scanning through play. Some ideas include playing a game of I-spy, doing a scavenger hunt or searching for favorite toys or objects that have been placed around the outdoor space.

Scanning strategies and vocabulary:

  • Scanning involves visually searching the environment systematically
  • Teach the child to scan left to right on different visual planes (“search high”, “search the middle”, “search low”).
  • Have them follow your finger or a stick with their eyes
  • Look for objects of certain colours or prepare a list of scavenger hunt items in advance

For more:

You may wish to take the activity a step further and use a magnifier (can be purchased at the dollar store) to provide your child with the opportunity to explore some of the objects close up after they are located. Play/practice with magnifiers can be beneficial for preschool children with low vision who may later use magnifiers when accessing print in the school years.

See Explore Outdoors! Part 2 for activities using the other senses.

For more ideas, visit Perkins - Sensory Efficiency and the Expanded Core Curriculum