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Children learn through play. As an occupational therapist who works with children and youth, I use games and toys almost every day to help develop important cognitive, visual perceptual, motor, sensory, social, play and leisure skills. While many different types of activities can be used in therapy, this blog focuses on off-the-shelf games and toys that are accessible to most. Whether you are a therapist, parent, teacher, or a game lover like me, I hope you discover something useful while you are here. Learn a different way to play a game you already own or discover a new game for your next family game night. Either way, just go play. It's good for you!

The OT Magazine named The Playful Otter one of the Top 5 Pediatric OT Blogs.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Get a Grip on Patterns



Work on manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, grasp, pinch, finger strength, palmar arch development, thumb opposition, coordinated use of both hands, motor planning, visual discrimination, visual memory, figure ground, spatial relations, proprioception, sensory feedback, attention, sequencing, sequence memory, problem solving, play exploration and participation
 
In the box: 1 plastic grid, 10 pattern cards, 30 colored clips (5 each of 6 colors)
 
A simple clip board activity that is great for working on many areas. The clips (clothespins) are small but easy to handle, and take some strength to squeeze open.
 

 
The grid is white solid plastic and has raised tabs, five across and five down. The pattern cards have holes so that you can place the card on top of the grid, the holes fitting over the tabs. To work with the pattern cards, simply lay one on the grid before beginning to clip. Each tab will now be surrounded by a color. Attach a color-matching clip on each tab. There are 10 patterns cards and some of the patterns are symmetrical and some are not. The backs are all blank, so you can make a new pattern on the back of each card and go from 10 patterns to 20! I just used the standard color Crayola markers and the colors matched just right. I made the colored circles on the pattern card pictured above. Even though this activity is kind of pricey, I think I paid about $35 for it, I have used this a lot and it turned out to be well worth the money for me. There are 30 clips and only 25 tabs, but don't lose any clips as some of the patterns use all of one color.
 
Try this:
  • Stand the clip(s) on the tabletop, upside down. Ask the individual to pick it up and turn it in-hand to orient it for placement.
  • Remove clips when done by pulling them off, one at a time, turning the hand over, and dropping it into the palm. How many can the individual pull off and hold without dropping any?
  • Remove clips when done by pulling them off, one at a time, and squirreling them into the palm without turning the hand over. How many can the individual pull off and hold without dropping any?
  • Ask the individual to cup the non-dominant hand, squeezing the fingers to form a hollow. Drop the clips one at a time into the hand. Can he keep the hand in that position and hold all the clips?
  • Start by completing a pattern with the card on the grid, then the card next to the grid, then the card propped up in front of the grid.
  • Stand the card up in front of the grid. Give the individual one clip at a time and ask him to place it anywhere that color appears on the pattern (requires counting rows and columns).
  • Place one clip at a time in the palm of the dominant hand. Ask the individual to move the clip to the fingertips for placement using only that hand.
  • Show one row of colors to the individual and ask him to memorize the order. Repeat the colors out loud to help remember. Turn the card over and see if the individual can complete the row from memory.
  • Ask the individual to cup the non-dominant hand, squeezing the fingers to form a hollow. Place several clips in the hand and ask the individual to hold them as he uses them one at a time.
  • Ask the individual to make up his own AB pattern, one row at a time.
I'm not sure, but I don't think that this item is manufactured any more. You can still find it at small shops online if you google the title, or maybe try Ebay and places like that.


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