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.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Batik for Kids

Work on spatial relations/position in space, visual motor integration, visual discrimination, figure ground, visual form constancy, tactile perception, manual dexterity, stereognosis, executive functioning, values, social skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the box: 2 matching sets in 2 different colors of sea creatures, Aquarium (wooden sides, plastic walls, opening across top and bottom)

The goal of Batik is to force your opponent to be the first person to play a piece that sticks out the top. The premise is simple, winning... not so much.  The pieces are lightweight wood about 1/8" thick. Each player has a set of the exact same creatures, just different colors. To play, stand the aquarium in front of the players. Each player takes one set of sea creatures (one color). Taking turns, place one piece at a time through the narrow slot at the top of the aquarium until someone is forced to place a piece that sticks out the top. That player has lost. Should you play the biggest creatures first and save the small for the top? Or start with the odd shaped creatures that may need more room because of their unique shapes? Colors of sea creatures may vary as mine are blue and green and the ones in the picture are yellow and orange.  I have used this game with people of all skill levels.  Even those who don't understand the rules have enjoyed picking up, reaching and placing the pieces in the aquarium through the narrow slot at the top. 

Try this:
  • Use this activity to practice reaching and releasing in a specific location and orientation.
  • Play a game alone.  See how many pieces you can get in. Play again and try to beat your own score.
  • Choose the piece that your opponent will play each time and let him choose yours. 
  • Sort by color or type of animal.
  • Place all pieces on the table and ask the individual to scan through to find each piece you ask for, such as the yellow shark, the orange starfish, the yellow crab, etc. Place pieces in different orientations for a more difficult game.
  • Place one set of animals on the table and the other set in a bag that you cannot see through (or use Ned's Head). As the individual to put his hand in and feel a piece. Look at the pieces on the table top to help you recognize what you are feeling. Call the animal type before pulling it out to check.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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