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, March 14, 2015

Magnetic Mosaic KIDS

In the box: 20 black and white design sheets, easel with magnetic board, over 600 magnetic foam cubes

Work on fine motor precision, in-hand manipulation, using a stabilizing hand, manual dexterity, palmar arch development, web space development, grasp, separating the two side of the hand, visual discrimination, visual closure, figure ground, play and leisure exploration and participation

Another winner from The Orb Factory, Magnetic Mosaics Kids is the next step up from the beginners Magnetic Mosaics - My First Picture Maker. The white pattern sheets are large, about 11" X 16" and the squares on the pictures use numbers only, no symbols or alphabet like My First Picture Maker. The easel is 11.5" X 16.5" and comes with a stand. The stand is cardboard and you have to be careful not to bump it. A stabilizing hand may be useful here, depending on how steady your hand is. The cubes are colored foam with a thin magnet on one side, and don't have any stickers on them to fall off.  There are exactly enough pieces of certain colors to complete some of the pictures, so don't lose any. Since the pattern sheets are only black and white, it will require you to look at the color key (see bottom left of the box above). The color key is also printed on a sheet that is included in the box. The kids and I have both liked this activity. Prepare to spend a whole session on one picture, or bring it out over several sessions to finish one picture. Once the pieces are placed on the board, you can easily re-box it and bring it out later without any pieces slipping off as they stick well. Pictures on the sheets include a person kicking a soccer ball, a giraffe, a birthday cake, a seahorse, and a truck. 

Try this:
  • Lay the magnetic pieces all upside down or in a jumbled pile.  Require the individual to pick up one piece at a time and use in-hand manipulation to get it into the correct position for placement.
  • Ask the individual to support the board with the non-dominant hand and pick up and manipulate in-hand each piece with the dominant hand.
  • Ask the individual to pick a color and find all of those color before moving to another color.
  • Practice reading the color key by just pointing to numbers on a design sheet and having the individual consult the key and tell you what color would be used for each one.
  • Cup the non-dominant hand and drop the pieces in one at a time when picking them up to put the activity away. Or pile the pieces and grab them by the handfuls when putting them away.
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click the image below.

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