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

Scatterpillar Scramble

In the box: Scatterpillar, Scatterpillar base, 32 marbles (8 each of 4 colors), 4 tweezers.
Work on precise fine motor control, in-hand manipulation, tool use, visual discrimination, figure ground, manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, pincer grasp, balance, social interaction, play and leisure exploration and participation
This game is probably already known to most OTs who work with kids.  The Scatterpillar stands still until you push the green button and the music starts to play.  Once turned on, the Scatterpillar sways quickly in unpredictable ways and in positions that can make it awkward to place the marbles. This can be overwhelming to the wrong person. The top marbles are hard to place with the movement going, even for me.  The tweezers are rounded a little to help hold the marble. The tweezers are lightweight plastic, so make sure that they spring back wide enough to be able to drop the marble out.  The marbles are lightweight plastic also. The hands of the Scatterpillar are cupped and once the marble is placed, the movement of the Scatterpillar will not jar it lose. Start at the bottom and work your way up to the top as the marbles get harder to place as you go up. The music may be annoying if there are sensory issues and there is no volume control or way to activate the movement without the music.
Try this:
  • Place the marbles on the Scatterpillar with the music and movement off first. 
  • Place the marbles with the fingers instead of the tweezers with the movement off, then on.
  • Place 2 marbles in the palm and work them, one at a time, to the fingertips for placement without dropping the other.
  • Mix all the marbles together, then choose and use all of one color from the mix.
  • Sort the marbles by color into the 4 part base using tweezers or fingers.
  • Call the color and hand you want the individual to use to place each marble, such as green right, red left. Will be easier to do with the movement off.
  • Shape the palm by putting a small ball or round object in the hand and forming the hand around it. Ask him to squeeze his fingers together and keep them in this position. Drop marbles one at a time in the player's palm. How many can he hold?
If you are interested in purchasing this game or would just like more information, click on the link below.


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