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!

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Pix Mix

Work on figure ground, visual discrimination, visual form constancy, visual closure, visual tracing, spatial relations, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation, coordinated use of both hands, mental flexibility, decision making, critical thinking, social skills
In the box: 80 transparent picture cards, 4 card holders, 30 second timer, score pad
A great figure ground game where you control the difficulty level. The 80 transparent cards are all clear plastic with simple black line drawings. Stack the cards, one on top of the other, and try to "see" everything in the stack. For example, the pictures on the example on the box (above) include a pair of scissors, a wrench, an anchor, a bowling pin, and a palm tree. Once the items are stacked, you place them in a card holder so they stay in place and hand the card holder to another player. When the signal is given, turn over the timer and each player lifts the lid on his card holder and starts to search.  Write the answers on the score card and stop when the timer runs out. The person with the most correct answers, wins. There are four cardholders, so up to four people can play. Before starting the game, I like to flip through the pile and make sure that all players can identify each object. Up to eight cards can be stacked into the jacket, but that is a tight fit. There are so many different combinations that you could play this a long time without ever repeating a stack. There is also an expansion pack with cards that you can buy. If you just want to stack and don't care about the jacket, timer, or scorepad, you could just buy the expansion pack.
Try this:
  • Start easy with two pictures, then three, then four, and work your way up as skill increases.
  • Give answers verbally instead of writing.
  • Increase the difficulty by putting like-shaped pictures together going in the same orientation. For instance a toothbrush on top of a pencil on top of a screwdriver.
  • Make the game easier by stacking items that are not similar in shape so it is easier to follow the outline.
  • Start easy by presenting one card and asking the individual to follow the line with his eyes, tracing the object visually. Then stack two cards and ask the individual to start scanning a line. Can he start and end at the same spot and see the object?
  • Stack several cards of pictures going in different directions. Ask directional questions. For instance on the example on the box above, ask which object if leaning toward the right (bowling pin), which object is lying horizontally (east to west - scissors).
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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