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.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ned's Head

Work on tactile discrimination, stereognosis, in-hand manipulation, coordinated use of both hands, manual dexterity, visual discrimination, visual memory, play and leisure exploration and participation
In the box: This may vary a little as I have seen different things including a frog, dirty gym sock, sticky sucker, lab rat, tongue, tooth, worm, bird poop with a worm in it, dirty diaper, used Q tip, spaceman, spider, lost lunch (fake vomit), fried egg, screw, small spikey ball, large ant.
The goal is to look at a card, put your hand into the head, and pull out that object just by feel. A multi-sensory guessing game, I have liked this game from the start! The head is fairly large and has plastic stays in it to keep it upright.  There are 2 openings for his ears and 2 for nostrils, and they are all large enough for an adult hand.  The kids like the "gross" factor, although I have not seen the dirty diaper or bird poop in the recent versions.  There is a card with a matching picture for each item, plus they throw in a few blank cards so you can add your own items if you wish. Show the individual each piece as you put it into the head, or for a more difficult version, don't show the objects beforehand. One of the best things about Ned's Head is that you can put your own objects in it and use it over and over. Either take pictures of the items or let the individual guess without cards. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
  • Fall - a piece of candy corn, sucker, leaf, pinecone, small decorative squash or pumpkin, miniature ear of Indian corn, acorn, a squishy eyeball, wax lips
  • Christmas - a small wrapped package, a candy cane, a small tree ornament, a chocolate wrapped coin, a package bow, a jingle bell 
  • Nature - a pinecone, a rock, small plastic animals (dinosaur, giraffe, spider), small plush animals, a twig    
Try this:
  • Lay the cards all out in front of you.  Ask the child to put his hand in Ned's head, feel an item, and find the matching card on the table.
  • Give the child a single card and ask him to put his hand into the head and feel around until he finds that item.
  • Ask the child to put his hand in the head, pick up an item, and describe it to you using descriptive words such as smooth, bumpy, spikey, hard, soft, etc.
  • Show each item to the child before putting it into the head. Have the child hold and finger the item, talk about how it feels.
  • Take pictures of your own items and replace the items in the head with yours.
  • Put plastic letters in the head to practice letter identification.
  • Look at the cards and pieces, remove the cards and put the pieces in Ned's Head. Ask the child to pick up a piece and without pulling it out, describe what he can remember about the item (color, what it is, etc.)
  • Feel each object before putting them into the head. As the child picks up an object, ask him to feel it in-hand as practiced, instead of leaving it lay on the surface and feel it.
  • Instruct the child to put one hand in each ear and use hands together to feel the object.
  • Put all new items in the head that the child has not seen. Ask him to put his hand in and find something smooth, bumpy, scratchy, work on different textures.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just learning more about it, click on the image below to go to Amazon.com.


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