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

Pixy Cubes

Work on in-hand manipulation, manual dexterity, distal finger control, palmar arch development, in-hand manipulation, fine motor precision, visual discrimination, visual memory, figure ground, spatial relations, visual closure, visual form constancy, visual scanning, sequencing, executive functions, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 16 brightly colored cubes, 10 small design cards, 13 large design cards
Pixy Cubes offers a lot of fun in the therapy setting and kids have responded well to it. These cubes are solid and brightly colored (blue, green, red, yellow) and each side of a cube has a different design or color combination. The colors are part of the cube, not a sticker that will fall off. Designs on the cubes include 2-color 1/4 circle, solid color, 2-color diagonals, and 4-color triangles. I love almost any game with small dice sized cubes so that I can include cupping the hand and in-hand manipulation, and this one does not disappoint. 

This game includes 4-cube designs printed on a grid, 16-cube designs printed on a grid, and 16-cube designs not printed on a grid.  All cards are printed front and back.  The small cards have 1 pattern on each side and the large cards have 4 patterns on each side. This is a total of 20 patterns on the small cards and 104 patterns on the large cards. The large cards are too small to build on top of, although I did go to Staples and enlarge the cards on their color copier so that they are the correct size to build on for those who have trouble building in a free space. I like this game for spatial orientation as 12 of the cubes will always have to be placed in specific directions (the other four are solid colors). The box is metal and the lid does not stay on very tightly and so I just put a rubber band around mine.

Try this:
  • Start with the 4-piece cards, then move to the 16-piece cards with grids, then end with the 16-piece cards with no grids to increase in difficulty.
  • Separate out and sort the cubes to the correct sides for the individual if you want to decrease the steps and concentrate on another aspect, such as spatially orienting the cubes or hand skills.
  • Ask the individual to turn one cube at a time, in his fingers and using only one hand, to find the correct side of each cube for placement.
  • Study a 4 cube design, then turn it over and build it from memory.
  • Ask the individual to cup the hands and shake the cubes before starting. If he has trouble cupping the hand, place a small ball in the palm and ask him to curl the fingers. Ask him to hold that position as you remove and ball. Add the cubes and ask him to shake and throw. Use all the cubes that apply to the design, then pick up the remainder and shake again. Continue these steps until the image is complete.
  • Cover all but the line you are working on if using the card without a grid and the individual is having trouble "seeing" each cube. If the individual gets stuck, I will even cover the whole design except the one cube.
  • Place the cubes for a design on the table so that the wrong side is up, requiring the individual to pick up and rotate each cube in-hand, in the fingertips to place.
  • Place a cube in the individual's dominant palm. Ask him to bring it to the fingertips and rotate for placement using only that hand.
  • Start by placing the cubes directly on top of the 4-cube cards and then move to creating the design next to the card.
  • Ask the individual to cup the hand and place one cube at a time in the hand. How many can he hold?
  • Place several cubes in the individual's non-dominant hand while putting the game away. Have him hold his hand in this cupped position as he removes the cubes one at a time to place in the box. Next switch to the dominant hand.
  • Clean up by picking up one cube at a time and squirreling it in the palm. How many can be held without dropping. Put cubes away in the box by the handfuls.
 If you would like to purchase this game or just want more information, click on the image below.


1 comment:

  1. Great ideas! I am a new grad going into home health and this has great tips for my new kiddos! Thanks!


Thank you for taking the time to comment.