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.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Melissa & Doug Stretch and Match Geoboard

Work on pincer grasp, finger strength, eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, precise fine motor control, coordinated use of both hands, visual discrimination, figure ground, spatial relations, visual closure, thinking skills, play exploration and participation
In the box: Wooden frame with a clear peg board, 8 double-sided picture cards (total 16 designs), 32 bands in 2 sizes
 Ages 4+
The goal is to stretch the rubber bands around the different shapes on the pictures, staying on the dotted lines. Another favorite, the cards include kid-appealing pictures and the colors are bright. The rubber bands are thicker than regular rubber bands, more like pony tail bands, and there are only two different sizes. The cards are not graded for difficulty, but there are several levels that you can pick out yourself. Some of the cards have basic, clear-cut geometric shapes, like the house below. Some of the cards are more difficult because the shapes are rounded, like the octopus below. Then other shapes are more difficult because the shapes, and rubber bands, overlap and may be harder to "see" for some. Cards slip in and out through the top. Pictures include fireworks, frog, campfire, fire truck, train, spider, fish, pyramids, sailboat, treasure chest on beach, and playground. A dry-erase picture card is included to let kids create their own pictures.  It does not have any kind of storage box so you will have to figure out how to keep the bands with the board.  I ended up buying it twice because I lost the bands!

Try this:
  • Start with the pictures that have basic geometric shapes, like the house on the example. Then move to the pictures like the octopus which are a little harder because the shapes are rounded, and pictures where shapes are rounded.
  • Let the individual put the cards in and take them out through the slit at the top.
  • Allow the individual to choose the correct size of band for each shape.
If you would like to purchase this item or just find out more information, click on the image below to be taken to Amazon.com.

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