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.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Old McDonald - Pop N' Match

Work on visual discrimination, figure ground, visual closure, spatial relations, visual form constancy, finger strength, finger isolation, manual dexterity, in-hand manipulation,  social interaction skills, process skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the plastic box: a popper, 4 identical cardboard farm scene cards, 4 heads for each of the five animals pictured in the farm scene (1 set for each card)
Ages 4+, 2-4 players

The item pictured above is a plastic storage container.  Once opened, you will find all the pieces stored inside.  Give each person playing an animal scene card.  Push down on the popper and check the die. You will either see one of the five animal heads or a -1. The popper on mine is not stiff or difficult to push. As each animal head comes up, pick the matching head piece and place it on your farm scene card.  If you pop a -1 you must take one of the heads off your card and return it to the pile.  The first one to fill his card with the 5 different animal heads, wins.

Try this:
  • Place a farm scene in front of the person. Stack 2 or 3 animal heads at a time and put them into his hand. Using that hand only, have him push each piece to his finger tips, one at a time, and place them on the picture without dropping any. Once that card is filled, fill another card.
  • Turn over all the animal heads so that the white backs are showing. Ask the individual to make sets by picking up the cow heads, looking at shape only. Then all pig heads, etc. Once completed, turn them over and see if they are correct.
  • Look at the five animal heads needed for one card from the front and talk about the shape. Turn them over so the white side is showing. Ask the individual to match each head to the animal on the card. After they are all placed, turn them over and see if they are correct.
  • Put the game away by popping the die and putting the matching pieces into the container until they are all put away.
  • Pick each piece up where it lies, don't pull it to the edge of the table to grasp.
  • Put the game away by picking up one piece at a time and squirreling it into the palm. How many can be held?
  • Ask the player to cup their hand and hold it in that position while you drop the pieces in one at a time. Put the pieces away by the handfuls. How many can be held. Alternate hands for cupping.
  • Scatter the pieces on the table and place them in different orientations, not all right-side-up. Individuals must recognize the pieces from different angles.
  • Start easy by putting out only the piece the individual needs each turn. Then place all five needed for the scene. Then add additional pieces to the grouping as they get better at figure ground skills.
  • Mix the pieces and place them on the table, face-down, so only the white side shows. Pick them up two-by-two, matching them by shape only. Turn them over and see if they match.
  • Place all the pieces randomly and in different orientations on the table. Ask the individual to scan the pieces and pick up all of one kind, such as all cows. Put them away, animal by animal.
For more information, click on the image below.


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