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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

Mental Blox


 
Work on visual discrimination, spatial relations/position in space, visual closure, visual form constancy, figure ground, eye-hand coordination, balance, shoulder stability, manual dexterity, coordinated use of two hands, crossing midline, executive functions, play and leisure exploration and participation
 
In the box: 20 blocks, 20 double-sided pattern cards (40 patterns total)
Ages 5+
 
I love any activity with pattern cards that require building 3D models from 2D models, especially when they advance in difficulty. This game includes 40 puzzles that do just that. The cards are printed with a different puzzle on each side and are numbered 1-40 for difficulty. The pieces are made of hard plastic and are big enough that they may take two hands to turn (see image below for size). The ball shape has two small flat spots on opposite ends so it will sit flat and you can stack on it. The blocks have stripes that can run horizontal or vertical, and the X can be placed in a variety of positions. The pyramid can also be placed in more than one orientation. Requires release with a steady hand to stack three or four.
 
First challenge and last challenge.


 
Try this:
  • Introduce the blocks and give the individual a chance to play with them and practice stacking the different shapes before giving a pattern card.
  • Place several cards on the table and ask the individual to point to all blue balls, or all purple blocks (squares) to practice shape terminology and/or color.
  • Cover everything but the stack the individual is working on if he has trouble looking at the card and finding his place.
  • Cover the puzzle and reveal only one block at a time if the individual has trouble starting from the bottom and working up.
  • Build the model by rows (cross midline), then build the model by columns.
  • Set the needed piece or pieces next to the individual if you want the individual to just concentrate on one area, such as stacking and releasing.
  • Point to each piece on the card if the individual needs help seeing which piece to find and place next. Or let the individual point to each piece before placing it.
  • Use consistent positional and shape terminology.
  • Build a model and then lay cards in front of the individual, one of them being the model you followed. Can he choose the correct card to match the model?
  • Build a model from a card and make an error. Can the individual spot it and fix it?
  • Take the blocks down, one by one, after building, without toppling other blocks.
  • Stack the highest tower you can make.
  • Leave all the blocks in the box and let the individual find each piece he needs in the crowded box.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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