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, March 31, 2015


Teach deep breathing with this simple app.

A very simple app to teach deep breathing when working on stress management, self-calming, coping, relaxation strategies. I usually start with this strategy because it is simple to learn and do, it is effective, it can be done anywhere and without attracting attention, it does not require any special tools or equipment, and once learned, it is something we can stop and do any time it is needed during a therapy session. You can set the length of time, the breathing pattern (beginner, intermediate, advanced), and breaths per minute. I simply use the beginner 1:2, which is inhale for 4 seconds, exhale for 8 seconds. I use the image of smell the flowers and blow out the candle. I hold my fist under my chin as if I am holding a bouquet of flowers and smelling as I inhale, then I switch to holding up my index finger to represent blowing out a candle as I exhale. Individuals of many levels can understand and do this. If you start your therapy session with this exercise you may also have the added benefit of everyone starting the session calm and relaxed. :)

For more information, click on the image below.


  1. This is something that would be useful in for everyone, in my opinion.


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