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.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Work on spatial relations, visualization, visual closure, visual discrimination, figure ground, eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, finger dexterity, finger isolation, critical and analytical thinking, social interaction, play and leisure exploration and participation
Ages 7+, 2-4 players
In the box: One plastic grid with 64 holes (8 X 8), 64 balls
A fun game for teens that can shift dramatically from turn to turn. The object is to have the most balls with your color showing on top at the end of the game. Can you see your patterns in the busy background? To play, place one ball onto the grid with your color on the top (balls have all four colors on them). It plays like Othello - once you have your color balls at each end of a line (horizontal, vertical, diagonal) you can turn all the balls along that line to your color. Balls easily roll within the holes, but not easily enough to shift positions unintentionally. The game is over when the grid is full. Each player counts their balls and a winner is declared. A fun game that takes thinking and strategy. I see there is a junior version available too. It has 36 holes instead of 64. There are 64 balls and 64 holes, don't lose any.
Try this:
  • Turn the balls on the table so that most do not have the individual's color on top. Ask him to pick up each ball on his turn and rotate it in the fingertips of one hand to orient to his color before placing in the grid. Don't use the table top, two hands, or the body for support.
  • Make an 8 X 8 pattern card and color in the circles for a pattern activity, instead of a game.
  • Make a pattern card as above. Leave the balls in the grid after the first pattern is created and give a second pattern card. Roll each ball in its place to match the second pattern card.
  • Hold three or four balls in the hand and on each turn, bring them one at a time to the fingertips to orient and place.
If you are interested in purchasing this game or just want more information, click on the image below to go to Amazon.com


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