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, March 6, 2015

Melissa & Doug Magnetic Puzzle

Work on visual discrimination, eye-hand coordination, spatial relations, figure ground, visual form constancy, manual dexterity, shoulder stability, counting 1-10, sequencing, play and leisure exploration and participation
Included: Puzzle board, 10 car puzzle pieces, 1 tow truck 
A quality wooden puzzle by Melissa & Doug with colorful cars on a racetrack. Each car is numbered (1-10) and has a round metal piece on it. Put the puzzle together like a regular puzzle, matching the car shapes to the holes. The puzzle board has the same pictures of the cars beneath the puzzle pieces. This will help beginners match the car to the correct space. The tow truck has a magnet attached to the bottom of the cord (see image above). To take the car pieces out of the board, hold the tow truck above a car and lower the cord with the magnet down until it meets the round metal piece on the car.  When they attach, lift the car up. As with many Melissa & Doug items, no way to store without losing pieces is supplied.
Try this:
  • Ask the child to remove the cars from the track by number to take them to the junk yard or car repair shop. Dictate random or sequential numbers.
  • Ask the child to remove all the cars that are facing left or right.
  • Attach a car to the string and try to lower it exactly into position.
  • Ask the child to remove the cars by color.
  • Place the cars randomly on the playing surface and in different orientations. Ask the individual to place the cars on the board from 1-10. Can they recognize the numbers in different orientation?
  • Line the cars up on the tabletop in two lanes of traffic: one lane driving right (east), one lane driving left (west).
If you are interested in purchasing this item or just want more information, click on the image below.

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