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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, February 8, 2015

DUPLO My First Build


 
In the box: 59 colorful pieces, 4 pattern cards
 
Work on manipulation, coordinated use of both hands, eye-hand coordination, visual discrimination, visual closure, problem solving, finger strength, figure ground, visual form constancy, manual dexterity, creative play, play exploration and participation
 
I think LEGO and DUPLO construction sets are some of the best toys out there to work on a multitude of skills simultaneously. DUPLO sets are designed for younger kids - ages 1 1/2 - 5. Pieces are made from colorful, hard plastic, and they are too big to accidently swallow and big enough to be easily manipulated by younger kids. If you've looked at my blog at all, you will immediately know what attracted me to this set - pattern cards!  Some kids have a hard time knowing what to do when a pile of blocks are placed in front of them and they are asked to "build something". Introducing pattern cards brings structure as well as a long list of visual perceptual skills into play. Kids can DUPLOs them over and over, never building the same thing twice. There are not enough pieces in the set to construct all of the models on the cards at the same time. Some will have to be disassembled to build others. LEGO and DUPLO sets of all kinds are almost always big hits with the kids. 
 
Try this:
  • Start with a few minutes of free time so that the child can examine the pieces and how they snap together.
  • Cover up all the pieces on the pattern card but the ones you are working on if the child does not know where to look or does not understand that you proceed from bottom to top.
  • Instruct the child to place the pieces on top of the card while gathering the pieces that will be needed for a specific model. Take them off, then build.
  • Create the models from the picture on the box once the child can build from the step-by-step pattern cards.
  • Give the beginner a piece at a time while building and point to the piece on the card to show where it should go.
  • Take time for creative play after you are done building.
  • Put all the pieces in a pile for the individual to look for the pieces he needs. Turn some of the pieces upside down or on their side so the child will have to recognize them from different perspectives.
If you are interested in purchasing this or just want more information, click on the image below.
 

 

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