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!

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Castle Logix

Work on logic, executive functions, visual discrimination, visual closure, spatial relations/position in space, eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, coordinated use of both hands, play and leisure exploration and participation
In the box: 7 wooden castle pieces, 1 puzzle book with 48 challenges

Another logic game from SmartGames that I use a lot in therapy. The object is to look at a 2D model in the book and use the blocks to build a 3D model. There are seven blocks total - four castle blocks and three flag blocks - and they are solid wood, smooth, and easy to manipulate. The gold, green, and blue blocks have different designs on two sides. The red block has the same design on two sides. The flags are three different lengths - long, medium, and short - that correspond to the heights of the blocks. The solution for each puzzle is on the back of the puzzle. Looking at the book above, the left shows a solution for the puzzle on the page before it, and the right shows the next puzzle.  Maybe it is the wood and the chunkiness of the blocks, or maybe the fact that the puzzles don't take long to create and you move on, but the kids have liked this one. There are four levels of puzzles, from junior to master, that increase in difficulty as you go. This game has held up well.
Try this:
  • Start by playing with the blocks and comparing the heights and lengths of blocks to flags, orienting the blocks differently, stacking, checking out the designs, etc.
  • Hand each block to the individual, one at a time, as he builds the castle if he does not know where to start or how to proceed.
  • Build a model yourself as the individual looks on.  Talk out loud as you problem solve and build. Then take the model apart and let the individual build the same model.
  • Place a piece as the player watches if he gets stuck. Then take it out and hand it to them so they can place it.
  • Show the player a puzzle. Give them a little time to memorize it and turn over the puzzle. Can they recreate it without the flags? With the flags?
  • Stand the flag(s) next to the castle if they are having trouble seeing which part of the castle is three blocks high (tall flag), which is two blocks tall and etc.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below.

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