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.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Work on eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, palmar arch development, coordinated use of both hands, spatial relations/position in space, motor planning, shoulder stability, balance, gross motor, social interaction and participation, play exploration and participation
In the bag: 25 plush snowballs
Want to have a snowball fight but don't like the cold or don't have snow? There's now a solution! Who knew there was such a thing as indoor snowballs!? These snowballs are plush but don't shed, lightweight but not flimsy. I have used these in the house and also have taken them outside on many a dry day and used them to have an old-fashioned snowball fight in the backyard. Make up and practice different throws: sneak attack, lob shot, underhand, overhand, rapid fire. A fun way to get kids moving.
Try this:
  • Play cold snowball (like hot potato). Set a timer for a short amount of time and toss the snowball back and forth. When the timer goes off, whoever has the snowball has to perform a task, such as pretend to build a snowman, pretend to ice skate around the room (try twirls or figure eights), run back and forth and pretend to catch snowflakes on the tongue or stand on a wobble board and pretend to snowboard.
  • Play a simple game of catch. When someone catches the snowball, they take one step backward. When someone misses the snowball, they take one step forward. See how far apart you can get and still catch the ball.
  • Set up a plush toy(s) or plush snowman and see how many tries it takes to knock it over. 
  • Set up containers or paper bags around the room and see how many the individual can land in the containers.
  • Rate your throws: Bad aim, lucky shot, on the mark, too high, too low, too far to the left, too far to the right. Then try again with the new information.
  • Stand on a wobble board to pretend you are skiing or snowboarding while playing catch and/or throwing at a target. Always supervise for safety.
  • Practice repeatedly throwing a snowball in the air and catching it with two hands (not against the body).
  • Practice repeatedly throwing a snowball in the air and catching it with the same hand. Throw higher and higher as you get better and better.
  • Practice repeatedly throwing a snowball in the air and catching it with the opposite hand.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below. 

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