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 1, 2015

Granny Apples

Work on visual discrimination, figure ground, palmar arch development, visual memory, in-hand manipulation, manual dexterity, leisure and play exploration and participation, executive functions, social skills
In the box: Apple basket, 8 wood apple halves, 12 half apple tokens, 76 whole apple tokens

Bright colors and whimsical graphics make this a fun game for kids. The goal is to be the player with the most apple tokens when Granny's Basket has 12 apples. To earn apple tokens you must throw the apple dice (wooden apple halves - see above). Cup both hands together and shake the 8 apple halves. Throw them on the table. If you throw a pie, subtract 2 apple halves from your pile and put them in granny's basket. If you throw an apple, red side up, collect a whole apple (or 2 halves). If you throw a half apple, collect a apple half token. If you throw a worm, subtract a whole apple from your pile and put it in granny's basket.  If you throw a bird and a worm, the bird eats the worm and you do not lose any apples.  The rules sound a little involved but you will remember them after playing a time or two. 

Try this:
  • Place the cardboard tokens all flat on the table (instead of piling) for practice picking up a flat item off of a flat surface. 
  • Allow the individual to help you set up the game.  Place 3 or 4 flat apple tokens in a stack in his palm and have him shift/translate each apple, one at a time, to the fingertips for placement.
  • End the game after 6 or 8 apples are in the basket instead of 12 for a shorter game.
  • Shape the palm before shaking the apples by putting a small ball or round object in the hand and forming the hand around it. Do that for both hands, drop the apples into the player's hand, and ask him to  place the other hand over the top and shake.
  • Ask the individual to shake ten times, keeping the hands in the position above.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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