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.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Hula Hippos

In the box: 24 wooden hippos, 1 wooden hoop
Work on manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, thumb-finger opposition, finger dexterity, spatial relations, play exploration and participation, social interaction
A finger-flicking game. Spin the hoop and while it is spinning, flick your hippos so that they will be in the hoop when it stops and falls flat. A little skill, a lot of luck. 
Try this:
  • Use a different finger to flick each game, making a round circle between the finger and thumb.
  • Use the non-dominant hand and do the same.
  • Place the hoop flat on the table and throw the hippos into the hoop.
  • Place the hippos flat and flick them for one game. Then stand the hippos up and flick them for the next game.
  • Line the hippos up in a long line, all facing the same direction, by picking them up one at a time, turning it in the fingertips to orient it for placement, and setting on the table. Now start the game.
  • Stand the hippos up as in the suggestion above, starting with two or three in the palm. Without dropping, move them one at a time to the fingertips to turn for placement while holding the other(s) back.
 If you are interested in purchasing this game, or just want more information, click on the image below to go to Amazon.com.

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