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

Pig Popper

In the package: Plastic pig, 6 foam balls, net bag
Work on eye-hand coordination, strength, visual tracking, coordinated use of both hands, social interaction, play exploration and participation, manual dexterity, spatial relations
Set up a target, aim, and squeeze the pig's belly to launch the ball.  Balls can travel up to 20 feet, depending on how hard you squeeze the pig.  The plastic is stiff and it will take some hand strength and two hands to put the ball into the mouth and to squeeze. Those with very weak hands will have difficulty.  There are a number of different animals to choose from and the balls from one set will fit the others.
Try this:
  • Measure the distance you can pop the ball.  Go again and see if you can beat your distance.
  • Set up small targets and see if you can knock them over.
  • Set up targets on a level plane at equal distances, then a variety of elevated planes at equal distances, then at different distances.
  • Start where the individual is and make the pig harder and harder to squeeze as you go. Pushing the ball into the pig's mouth gently will not require much hand strength. Pushing it in as far as it will go will require more hand strength to squeeze it out.
 If you are interested in purchasing a popper/extra balls/target, or just want more information, click on one of the images below to go to Amazon.com.

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