Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Making Lazy 8s Boards - Tools for Classroom Fun

I’ve written a number of articles that mention the Lazy 8s activity from Brain Gym®, and thought it was time to add this information about making Lazy 8s Boards to my blog postings.

A Lazy 8s board is a handy aid for those just learning this pattern, and fun for anyone who wants to play with this pattern. I keep several Lazy 8s boards in my office, some with the pattern simply painted on, and others with a Tactile 8, or Musical Marble 8, to enhance the experience of this movement.

Each Lazy 8s board has an arrow reminding the user to start in the middle and flow first to the upper left, and a smiley-face at the bottom, to help him or her orient the board (and therefore the arrow) correctly. I remind learners to “line up the smiley-face with your middle.” That way, the center of the 8 is directly in line with their midline.

Templates for making these boards are available at this link, as a free download. One template has a single line; the other has a double line, creating a “track.” You'll see both these Lazy 8s models in the boards illustrated below. Each template is only half of the total pattern.

Print out two copies of each template and rotate the duplicate 180 degrees and overlap with the sides of the original, forming the complete Lazy 8s pattern. Smooth out the lines where they overlap, if they don’t match exactly.

Most of my Lazy 8s boards are just under 12 x 18 inches in size, with the 8s themselves being about 8 by 14 inches: this is the size of the templates I provide.

I typically use foam-core board, which is lightweight, and tends to hold up better to regular use than simple cardboard. 

One way to transfer the Lazy 8s pattern onto your surface is to create it first out of lightweight cardboard, cut it out, and use it as a tracing template. Or you could tape the pattern securely over the foam-core board, and use a pencil or pen to mark the line firmly enough to press a line into the surface of the board, and then copy over it with markers or paint.
Some learners may benefit from different size Lazy 8s boards; it’s fine to adapt the template for any size you choose.

Young learners love to trace these with their fingers, a toy car, or their favorite stuffed animal or plastic movie-character toy! 

I have also made Lazy 8s boards on solid-color vinyl placemats from the discount store. 
Puff-Paint Lazy 8s
I took the “track” template and traced it onto foam-core board. I painted the track blue, then used gold “puff paint” along the inside and outside borders of the track. (Puff paint is squeezed out of a bottle; as it dries, it actually puffs up a bit, leaving a raised line. Your local craft store will likely have it.) When learners use this track, the raised outline engages more of their sensory apparatus, and helps guide them to stay on the smooth track.

I make single-line Puff-Paint Lazy 8s boards, too.  

Musical Marble Lazy 8s
I came across a wonderful Lazy 8s board adaptation at an Edu-K course. I wish I knew whom to credit for its creation! Trace your double-line “track” Lazy 8s pattern onto a piece of wood. (I bought a finished shelf at my local home-supply store and had them cut it into pieces for me. I sanded the cut edges and was ready to go.) Paint the space inside the track; after the paint dries, hammer in small “finish” nails all along the entire pattern. 

To experience this Lazy 8: Place a marble inside the track and, holding the  board in both hands, angle it so the marble rolls around the track. This makes the most delightful, musical sound! For some learners, a marble moves too quickly, so I also offer a piece of glass that looks like a flattened marble. (I buy these by the bag in the floral department of my local discount store.) A small rubber ball might slow things down, too, but it might not sound as fun.

Scribble-Board Lazy 8s

I made a tactile “scribble board” by covering a piece of foam-core board with window screen (purchased by-the-foot at my local home-supply store), and taping the edges down all around (I used blue “painter’s” tape). Then I used a large clip to hold a piece of blank paper in place over the screen. When learners select this process, I draw a simple Lazy 8 on the paper as a model, and then have them trace over and over it, using a pencil or ballpoint pen. The surface of the screening material underneath the paper creates a vibration in the hand of the learner, offering additional tactile and proprioceptive input—plus the auditory input of the great sound it makes!
This board is also great for Double Doodling.

Tactile Screen Lazy 8s

For this project I cut a large Lazy 8s pattern out of window screening and glued it to some foam-core board that I had edged with blue “painter’s” tape. I ended up using glue-stick to adhere the 8 to the board, which discolored after a while. Perhaps some other kind of adhesive would work better. This board is a bit larger than the others. (Sorry, I don’t have a template for this Lazy 8.) You could also use sandpaper or some other textured material instead of screen.

Wooden track
I’m showing these wooden Lazy 8s tracks, though I have never made one. They are available through various sources. If you’re good with woodworking, and have a router, it’s possible to make your own.

Using wooden tracks: Learners can simply trace along these tracks with a finger. More challenging is to place a marble in the track and, holding the board by two ends, tilting it to move the marble. It takes considerable skill to move the marble without it flying off the track! To slow things down, try using a small rubber ball.

I hope you enjoy these Lazy 8s boards. If you make some, and use them with your students or clients, I’d love it if you’d share your experience with me!

With warm regards, 

Kathy Brown, M.Ed.
Educational Kinesiologist
Licensed Brain Gym® Instructor/Consultant
Author of Educate Your Brain

©Copyright 2019 Kathy Brown. All rights reserved.

Photographs copyright© Kathy Brown. All rights reserved.
Brain Gym® is a registered trademark of the Educational Kinesiology Foundation •

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