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 25, 2015

Make 'N' Break Challenge

In the box: 20 wooden blocks, 80 challenge cards, 2 tongs, card stand 
Work on spatial relations, visual discrimination, visual closure, visual memory, tool use, fine motor skills, problem solving, manual dexterity, motor planning, play and leisure exploration and participation, eye-hand coordination, social interaction
Ages 8+, 1-2 players
The goal is to look at the 2D pattern card and recreate the model. I have a lot of Ravensburger items and I like their quality. The blocks and tongs are made from wood and should hold up for a very long time. There are 10 blocks to a set and 2 sets per game, so two people can build the same model at the same time. The cards are numbered 1-4, based on their difficulty.  The higher in difficulty, the more pieces used and the trickier it may be to get them oriented or balanced. Each card has the same picture printed on both sides. Once the card is placed in the clear card holder, both players can see the model, whether they are facing the front or the back of the card holder. When two people are playing, the person who is able to complete the structure first wins the card. Play through a stack of cards or for a certain amount of time and see who collects the most cards. I don't play for speed like this in therapy. 
Try this:
  • Start by playing with the tongs and the pieces, practicing picking the pieces up and stacking in any order.
  • Use as an activity to work on visual perceptual and motor skills without playing a game and competing. Present one card and build.
  • Use the hands to build a model. Once the individual can do that, then build again using the tongs.
  • Show the individual the card and ask him to memorize the model. After removing the card, can he build the model from memory?
  • Demonstrate how to use the tongs. Picking up a piece from the end and letting gravity pull it into a vertical position is easier than picking it up in the middle, trying to torque your arm/hand into an awkward position to orient, and placing it correctly without tipping everything over.
  • Build side by side. One piece at a time, model how to turn and place the block on the model as the individual copies you.
  • Build one big model, your own design, using all the pieces.
  • Time yourself as you build a model. Then build it again and try to beat your time.
  • Build a model and lay several cards in front of the individual. Ask him to find the card that matches the model.
  • Build a model and leave a piece out. Give the individual the card and ask him which piece is missing.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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