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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.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Super Sorting Pie



Work on visual discrimination, figure ground, eye-hand coordination, sorting,  coordinated use of both hands, palmar arch development, manual dexterity, tool use, separation of two sides of the hand, finger strength, sequencing, auditory memory, play exploration and participation

In the box: Durable plastic pie plate with removable divider, 60 solid pieces of fruit (7 fruits in 5 different colors), 3 double sided sorting cards, 2 jumbo tweezers, activity guide

Another game that most OTs are probably familiar with, this is a quality set made of durable plastic that should last forever. Brightly colored fruit pieces in a pie-shaped bowl with a removable lid makes for a game that kids will play without even knowing they are learning. 

The tweezers are big and somewhat stiff and can be hard to squeeze for those with very weak hands, but I use them for most. There is one small indent on one side of the tweezers and two small indents on the other side to direct where the three fingers go. The fruit is brightly colored and has more of a rubbery feel. Within each color there are two fruits - yellow is lemons and bananas, red is grapes and apples, orange is apricots and oranges, green is apples and plantains. The divider in the picture above is removable. Take out the divider, lay one of the sorting cards in the bottom of the pie plate, and go to work sorting by color, fruit type, or number of pieces.

Try this:
  • Turn the lid upside down and use as a bowl to hold the fruit while you are sorting.
  • Use the fruit, without the pie plate, and line up a pattern on the table, such as apple, banana, grape, orange.  Ask the individual to make a matching line up.
  • Start with fewer pieces if 60 seems overwhelming for the individual.
  • Ask the individual to cup one or both hands and hold them in that position as you drop the fruit pieces one at a time into the palms. Count as you go. How many can be held?
  • Place one piece of fruit at a time in the individual's palm and ask them to push it to the fingertips without dropping to sort.
  • Ask the individual to cup one hand and pick the fruit up one at a time and drop into their own palm. How many can they hold? Next reverse hands and repeat. See if they can hold at least one more without dropping.
  • Pick up the fruit, one piece at a time, and squirrel it into the palm while putting the fruit away. How many pieces can they hold before they have to drop them into the box? 
  • Start an AB pattern of fruit in a line on the table top and ask the individual to add to it.
  • Mix up and place all the fruit in the lid. Ask the individual to find and place pieces into the pie, one at a time sorting by color, fruit type, favorite fruit, shape, etc.
  • Ask the individual to either add or take out pieces as you give verbal directions, such as 'take out 3 apples', or 'add 2 yellow pieces'.
  • Give verbal directions of a sequence of fruit to add to the pie. Ask the individual to remember the sequence and add the fruit.
  • Mix all the fruit in the lid. Name the fruit one at a time to add to the pie, such as a green apple, a yellow lemon, etc.
  • Place the lid upside down on the table and toss the fruit into it one at a time.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below to go to Amazon.com.

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